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. Additionally, each of our counselors have worked in selective college admission, lending them unique insight into the process. Providing students with the opportunity to learn about colleges and understand how selective college admission works 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 5 items.

  • Freshman Year

    In the winter of freshman year, counselors host introductory workshops for families. 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 interests.
  • Sophomore Year

    The sophomore year program aims to educate families on standardized tests and the testing process. In the spring, students take a mock ACT and SAT. Follow-up workshops help families understand how to interpret these scores, follow appropriate prep and testing timelines, and understand the evolving role tests play in the college process.
  • Junior Year Workshops

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

    360° Process Overview 
    Each winter the college counseling office hosts a panel of admissions deans, Rivers seniors, and members of our counseling team to offer families a 360° view of the process. In these casual discussions, junior families bounce questions off the panel to gain honest answers from multiple perspectives. The no-agenda approach puts juniors and their parents in the driver’s seat and ensures they get their questions addressed.

    Special Interest Workshops
    Our counseling team has a great deal of experience working incorporating students' special interests and talents into the admissions process. Specific programs are offered for arts (including conservatory level music) and athletics. Program addresses both how to appropriately consider these talents in the search process and how they can impact a student’s admissibility. 

    College Essay Workshop
    As former admissions officers ourselves, Rivers college counselors have strong opinions as to how students can make an effective connection with admissions officers through their college essay. Supplementing our extensive individual instruction on this topic, this late-spring workshop offers overarching tips and guidance on how to prepare a strong essay. 
  • Junior Family Meetings

    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. These meetings are the first of many between students and counselors. Parents are invited to meet again with counselors in the spring and beginning of senior year to make final arrangements for the application process. Additionally, parents are encouraged to reach out to counselors throughout the process with questions. We believe strongly in a student-led process with parents and counselors working in tandem as support.
  • Senior Year

    Senior fall is characterized by ongoing one-on-one meetings between the student and the counselor. Students work individually with counselors in May of junior year to populate that bulk of the Common Application. Senior year begins by putting the finishing touches on the application, reviewing, editing and completing essays and supplements, and developing a plan for final school visits. By October, students—in conjunction with their parents and counselors—will have developed a sound, strategic application plan that aligns with their vision of their future. Typically 100% of seniors will have submitted at least one application by November 15. Ongoing counseling is provided as early decisions return and continue in the spring for students pursuing regular-decision options

Meet The Team

List of 3 members.

  • Photo of David Lyons

    David Lyons 99

    Director of College Counseling
    Hamilton College - AB
  • 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 2 items.

  • COLLEGE ENROLLMENT - 2020 - 2023

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

    Boston College
    Boston University
    Brown University
    Colby College
    Colgate University
    College of the Holy Cross
    Dartmouth College
    Georgetown University
    New York University
    Northeastern University
    Northwestern University
    Syracuse University
    Trinity College
    Tufts University
    Tulane University of Louisiana
    University of Miami
    University of Michigan
    Villanova University
    Wake Forest University
    Washington University in St Louis
    Williams College

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

    Amherst College
    Babson College
    Bates College
    Bowdoin College
    Bryant University
    Bucknell University
    Clark University
    Clemson University
    Colorado College
    Connecticut College
    Cornell University
    Duke University
    Elon University
    Endicott College
    Hamilton College
    Harvard University
    Hobart William Smith Colleges
    Kenyon College
    Lafayette College
    Lehigh University
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Middlebury College
    Occidental College
    Providence College
    Santa Clara University
    Skidmore College
    Stonehill College
    Swarthmore College
    The George Washington University
    Union College
    University of Chicago
    University of Colorado
    University of Massachusetts-Amherst
    University of Notre Dame
    University of Richmond
    University of Southern California
    University of Vermont
    University of Virginia
    University of Wisconsin
    Vanderbilt University
    Wesleyan University
    Yale University
    One student has enrolled at the following colleges and universities:

    Barnard College
    Berklee College of Music
    Boston College
    Carleton College
    Case Western Reserve University
    Chapman University
    Claremont McKenna College
    Colorado Mesa University
    Columbia University in the City of New York
    Davidson College
    Dickinson College
    Emory University
    Fairfield University
    Fordham University
    Franklin and Marshall College
    Furman University
    Indiana University-Bloomington
    Ithaca College
    Johns Hopkins University
    Loyola Marymount University
    Lynn University
    Macalester College
    Ohio State University
    Pace University, BFA
    Princeton University
    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    Sacred Heart University
    Smith College
    Southern Methodist University
    Stanford University
    The College of Wooster
    University of Arizona
    University of California-Berkeley
    University of Maryland-College Park
    University of Massachusetts-Lowell
    University of New Hampshire-Main Campus
    University of Pennsylvania
    University of Rochester
    University of St Andrews
    University of Utah
    Vassar College
    Virginia Union University
    Worcester Polytechnic Institute

    Please click here for the 2023-2024 Rivers School College Profile.
333 Winter Street Weston, MA 02493
P: 781.235.9300 F: 781.239.3614