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. 

College Counseling FAQs

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.

  • David Lyons 

    Director of College Counseling
    339-686-2270
    Bio
  • Diane Bossange 

    Administrative Assistant to the Director of College Counseling
    339-686-2274
    Bio
  • Dana Warshauer 

    Associate Director of College Counseling
    339-686-4574
    Bio
  • Ian Watson  

    339-686-2275
    Bio
THE RIVERS SCHOOL    333 Winter Street  Weston, MA 02493   P: 781.235.9300   F: 781.239.3614