The growth and independence of each Rivers student culminates in the college search, under the guidance of our experienced college counseling staff. Rivers’ long-standing philosophy of matching the right student with the right college is based upon a deep, detailed understanding of each student.

Because the counselors interact with students on many levels throughout their Upper School career, they enter the process with a unique respect for students’ strengths. This knowledge, coupled with feedback from our Family Meetings, becomes the foundation for highly individualized, student-centered advising.

Rivers’ counselors maintain close ties with college admissions officers around the country by frequently visiting campuses and welcoming a lengthy roster of college visitors for students to meet. Providing students with the opportunity to learn about colleges and begin to form connections is an important part of the search process.

Workshops and Meetings

The individualized advising of our private family meetings is supplemented by various workshops that address the broader issues concerning the college process. Workshops and meetings include:

List of 4 items.

  • Freshman Year

    Introductory Meetings
    In the winter of freshman year, counselors host brief, introductory workshops for students and parents. These meetings are designed to help families look ahead in order to get the most out of their Rivers education and encourage students to cultivate and pursue passions.
  • Junior Year

    Primary Student and Parent Workshop
    The college process begins in earnest junior year with our primary student and parent workshops. These winter programs introduce our office’s philosophy of matching the right student with the right college while disarming myths about selective college admission. The workshops also outline the process timeline, preview our organizational software, and highlight our individualized Family Meetings. 

    Fireside Chats
    Each spring the college counseling office hosts its “Fireside Chats.” In these casual, small group discussions junior families bounce questions off a panel of current Rivers seniors and an invited college admissions dean or director. The no-agenda approach puts juniors and their parents in the driver’s seat and ensures they get their questions addressed.

    Athletics in the College Process Workshop
    Athletics talent in the college process can be a blessing and a burden. Hosted by college and high school coaches, this workshop addresses the ins and outs of NCAA recruiting regulations, how to maximize exposure to colleges, and athletic admission guidelines at athletic conferences across the country. 

    Interviewing and College Visit Workshop
    Visiting colleges and interviewing at appropriate institutions is essential to a successful college search. This workshop gets students ready for the busy summer visit season with tips and pointers from an invited admission dean. 
  • Junior Year Family Meeting

    Specific, individualized advising is paramount to a successful college search. At Rivers, the college process is personalized for every student through our private family conferences. After reviewing a plethora of information specific to each student including responses to self-evaluations and comments from teachers, counselors meet with families to discuss educational, professional and personal goals. In these meetings student choose classes for senior year, map out college visits and plan for standardized tests. Families are invited to meet again with counselors in the beginning of senior year to make final arrangements for the application process.
  • Senior Year

    Senior College Retreat
    Seniors join the college office in the days before the school year to kick the college process into high gear. The meeting is designed to sort out the many details of the application process and prepare students for the important decisions they will make in the months ahead. 

    Essay Workshop
    Hosted by a former Rivers parent and one of the country’s foremost authors on the topic of admission essays, this program walks parents and students through the process of producing an effective college essay. Brainstorming topics and efficient use of language are among the many ideas discussed. 


List of 7 frequently asked questions.

  • When does the college process at Rivers begin?

    Informally, it begins in ninth grade, since that's when colleges start looking at grades on transcripts and at activities in which students might have been involved. But freshmen and sophomores really do — and should do — nothing in terms of the college search. Junior year is soon enough for that, when searching will come hard and often. The main job for students in ninth and tenth grade is to build the best academic and extracurricular record they can, pursuing passions.
  • What standardized tests do Rivers students take, and when?

    Our sophomores and juniors take the PSATs in the fall. Juniors are then encouraged to take the SAT Reasoning Test once or twice, as well as one to three SAT Subject Tests by the end of the academic year. Most seniors will take one more SAT Reasoning Test in the fall, and perhaps one or two more SAT Subject Tests tests, as well. A number of students also take the ACT test in junior spring or senior fall. Advice on all testing is given individually.
  • What/whom do you recommend for test prep?

    Certainly one should prepare for standardized tests. The real question is the form of that preparation — on one's own, one-on-one tutoring, small class settings, some of which are competitive and some not. Whom? The standard — and honest — response is this: We have heard everything from praise to damnation about every test prep person and company. It really is an individual decision, based upon who you are as a student — not unlike choosing a college!
  • How do you feel about Early Decision, Early Action, etc.?

    This topic is hot nationally. In short, we support and encourage use of these programs if it makes sense for that particular student. For years, Rivers students have made prudent use of these plans, to their advantage.
  • How do Rivers students determine which college is the best match for them? How do they know where to apply?

    Juniors begin the search process in the winter in small-group workshops. The key component of these workshops revolves around self-assessment. Aided and encouraged by Rivers' college counselors, students look inward and outward. Students develop their own lists, and the college counselors do the same for the student based upon a review of students’ self-assessments and their credentials.
  • How is Rivers viewed by colleges?

    Unlike many of our sister schools across the country, Rivers sends its students to a variety of colleges, reflecting the varied talents, interests and backgrounds of our students. As a result, our name is "out there" more than that of many schools; so our reputation precedes us. That only helps our students when they apply. Our students do well once they get to college, so that helps, too.
  • How does Rivers support families with the financial aid process?

    Rivers families seeking financial support for college are encouraged to attend the Boston Independent School College Counseling Association financial aid workshop. Featuring instruction and advice from college financial aid directors, this event is the perfect supplement to the detailed, individual financial discussion in our family meetings.

Meet The Team

List of 4 members.

  • Photo of David Lyons

    David Lyons 99

    Director of College Counseling
    Hamilton College - AB
  • Photo of Diane Bossange

    Diane Bossange 

    College Counseling Office Coordinator
    Ohio Wesleyan University - BFA
  • Photo of Dana Warshauer

    Dana Warshauer 

    Associate Director of College Counseling
    University of Miami - BA
  • Photo of Ian Watson

    Ian Watson  

    Associate Director of College Counseling
    University of Colorado - BA
    University of Boulder - MA

List of 1 items.

  • COLLEGE ENROLLMENT - 2019 - 2022

    Five or more students have enrolled at the following colleges and universities:

    Amherst College
    Babson College
    Bates College
    Boston College
    Boston University
    Bowdoin College
    Brown University
    Bucknell University
    Colby College
    Colgate University
    College of the Holy Cross
    Colorado College
    Dartmouth College
    Hamilton College
    Middlebury College
    New York University
    Northeastern University
    Northwestern University
    Providence College
    Syracuse University
    Trinity College
    Tufts University
    Tulane University 
    University of Miami
    University of Michigan
    Villanova University
    Wake Forest University
    Washington University in St Louis
    Wesleyan University
    Williams College

    Two - four students have enrolled at the following colleges and universities:

    Bryant University
    Columbia University Connecticut College
    Cornell University
    Duke University
    Elon University
    Endicott College
    George Washington University
    Georgetown University
    Harvard University
    Hobart William Smith Colleges
    Kenyon College
    Lafayette College
    Lehigh University
    Lewis & Clark College
    Mass. Inst. of Technology
    Oberlin College
    Occidental College
    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    Sacred Heart University
    Santa Clara University
    Skidmore College
    Stanford University
    Stonehill College
    Swarthmore College
    University of Denver
    University of Massachusetts-Amherst
    University of Notre Dame
    University of Rochester
    University of Southern California
    University of St Andrews
    University of Vermont
    University of Virginia
    University of Wisconsin
    Vassar College
    Worcester Polytechnic Institute

    One student has enrolled at the following colleges and universities:

    American University
    Barnard College
    Berklee College of Music
    Carleton College
    Case Western Reserve Claremont McKenna College
    Clark University
    Clemson University
    Colorado Mesa University
    Davidson College
    Emory University
    Fairfield University
    Furman University
    Howard University
    Indiana University-Bloomington
    Ithaca College
    Lynn University
    Macalester College
    Miami University, Oxford
    Princeton University
    Queen's University
    Rhode Island School of Design
    Smith College
    The College of Wooster
    Union College
    University of Arizona
    University of California-Los Angeles
    University of Chicago
    University of Colorado Boulder
    University of Delaware
    University of Maryland
    University of New Hampshire
    University of Pennsylvania
    University of Toronto
    University of Utah
    Vanderbilt University
    Virginia Union University
    Wellesley College