College Counseling

Finding the "perfect fit" school for each student is the mission of the college counseling program. Durham Academy's three full-time college counselors, Kathy Cleaver, Jazmin Garcia Smith and Scott Orvis, are at the heart of its success.

Durham Academy is a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), an organization of secondary school counselors and college admission officers. DA is also a member of the Southern Association for College Admission Counseling (SACAC). 

DA affirms the NACAC Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP), a code of ethical conduct that articulates the responsibilities of college members and secondary school members. In addition, DA affirms NACAC's Statement of Students' Rights and Responsibilities in the College Admission Process.

"Mrs. Cleaver helped me realize that I wanted to go to Northeastern University as a part of a program that includes a full-tuition scholarship along with opportunities for mentorship, research and travel. Mrs. Cleaver did not push me to enroll at one of my Ivy League acceptances that would have probably looked better for DA in a list of colleges at the end of the school year. She genuinely cared about where I would be most happy and successful."

Caroline Ghio '16

College Counseling Timeline

Grade 9

In the fall of the ninth-grade year, students are introduced to Naviance, a search engine containing information about colleges, careers, summer enrichments and scholarships. Later in the year, parents of ninth-graders are introduced to the college counseling program at a spring college night with the three deans of college counseling.

Grade 10

The focus of college counseling in the 10th grade is continuing to set the groundwork for college by making smart choices for course selections and activities. The college counselors offer presentations to students and parents in the fall, and each sophomore is assigned a college counselor in January. Other hallmarks of the 10th-grade year include practice SATs and ACTs.

Grade 11

Junior year kicks off with presentations for students and parents by the deans of college counseling. In October, students take the PSAT (qualification test for the National Merit Scholarship Program). In the fall semester, students have their first counseling conference with their assigned college counselor; prior to this conference, students complete a personal questionnaire and a college needs/interest assessment, and parents provide input. After a second one-on-one conference with the student and counselor, parents join in for a third conference in the spring.

Each spring, juniors are introduced to the Common Application, with a Common App Bootcamp offered in June. Junior class English classes include a Common App essay writing unit. Juniors finish the year with an essay draft and a college list that includes likelihood of admission.

Grade 12

Students and parents have their fourth conference with their assigned college counselor early in the school year. Students and counselors spend a great deal of time together during the fall as students dive into the application process — from filing the FAFSA financial aid form, to getting feedback on essays. early action/early decision admissions decisions arrive in December, and regular decision notifications arrive in March — and it's time to celebrate!

Class of 2018 College Choices

William & Mary
Washington University in St. Louis
Wake Forest University
Vanderbilt University
University of Virginia
University of Texas at Austin
University of Southern California
University of South Carolina
University of Redlands
University of Pittsburgh
University of Pennsylvania
University of North Carolina at Wilmington
University of Miami
University of Mary Washington
The University of Chicago
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Colorado Boulder
Tulane University
Tufts University
The George Washington University
Syracuse University
Southern Methodist University
Roanoke College
Rhode Island School of Design
Purdue University
Princeton University
New York University
NC State University
Middlebury College
Spelman College
Hollins University
High Point University
Georgetown University
Emory University
Elon University
East Carolina University
Duke University
Cornell University
Carleton University
Brandeis University
Boston College
Northwestern University

For College Reps

Welcome! We value your presence on our campus and hope you are able to include us on your rounds of the Triangle area.

We are located at 3601 Ridge Road, Durham, NC 27705. Our office is located in our Learning Commons, the building that sits adjacent to the parking lot at the main entrance to the Upper School campus. If the visitor parking spots are occupied, just park in the first available.

Visit Schedule

The school day begins at 8:15 a.m. and ends at 3:15 p.m., with six 50-minute periods.

We cannot schedule college visits during the following times: 10:05 to 10:20 a.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday (homeroom); or 10:05 to 10:55 a.m. Thursday (assembly).

To schedule a visit, please contact Nancy Swain in the Office of College Counseling via email or at 919-287-1724.

View School Profile

College Counseling Staff

Kathy Cleaver
Dean of College Counseling 
919-489-6569 (x6107)

Jazmin Garcia Smith
Dean of College Counseling
919-489-6569 (x6110)

Scott Orvis
Dean of College Counseling
919-489-6569 (x6109) 

Nancy Swain
Administrative Assistant   
919-489-6569 (x6105)

CEEB: 341-049

Mailing Address 

College Counseling Center 
Durham Academy 
3601 Ridge Road 
Durham, NC 27705-5599