Academics / College Counseling

A Kirby education means better choices and more opportunities for college.

Preparation for success

Whatever your student’s college ambition, a Kirby education means better choices and more opportunities. Help with college admissions starts early, sparked by our college counselor:

  • An individually architected four-year plan will be the first step in preparing your freshman for college
  • As an upperclassman, they will be mentored one-on-one through the college admissions process
  • You’ll have access to parent seminars designed to demystify and smooth the selection and admission process

Professional college counseling supports each Kirby student and family in the college selection and application process. And we won’t just help your student get into the best colleges, we’ll make sure they have the skills to flourish there:

Without the preparation I got at Kirby, my first quarter at college would’ve been really overwhelming. But the study skills I learned in high school meant that I was ready from the first lecture to get the most out of my classes and keep up academically. Now study sessions are always at my place. – Willa Brock, Kirby (class of 2010), Stanford (class of 2014)

Lis Bensley, College Counselor

Ms. Bensley’s career spans multiple arenas. Her professional writing experience includes reporting for the New York Times, and as a Senior Writer/Editor for Oncology Times and MEDICA: Women Practicing Medicine. She taught writing for 10 years, and has been working with college-bound students since 2005 tutoring, providing resume and essay guidance and teaching ACT, SAT andPSAT preparation workshops. Ms. Bensley has also completed the UCLA College Counseling Certificate Program. She is a parent of a 2003 Kirby graduate.

Sophomore Year

A workshop called “The College Going Process — an Overview” is followed by personal meetings with each family to lay the foundation for the college preparation and application process. The college counselor provides assistance to students who have learning disabilities to ensure that necessary paperwork is completed to ensure that they receive accommodations on National tests (SAT I, SAT II, ACT, and AP exams.)

Junior Year

PSAT’s are administered at Kirby. Fee waivers and testing accommodations are provided to those who are eligible. A workshop entitled “The College-Going Process, in Excruciating Detail,” is again followed by meetings with parents and the student and then the student alone. Based on exercises he or she completes, the student and counselor develop a College List, and then, based on the research that the student then does, that College List is refined with the counselor.

Senior Year

Throughout the fall, the college counselor works individually with seniors to keep them on track with their applications, making sure they meet all deadlines. The counselor also assists all seniors who are semi-finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Competition (historically about 20% of the class) in completing the final paperwork and writes their Letter of Recommendation. The senior fall workshop, “Where you should be at this time in the Application Process” ensures that students and families are aware of, and on track to, meet deadlines. The college counselor writes the Counselor Letters of Recommendation for those applying to private institutions and assembles and sends all paperwork involved, following up with the second semester transcript and appropriate forms as necessary. After high school graduation, the final transcript is sent to the college the student has chosen.

Financing College

Each fall a workshop called “Financing and Financial Aid” is provided to parents (only) of Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors. If parents need assistance with financial aid applications, names of bonded consultants are provided to assist them in that process.