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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.