Spring College Planning Events

Walker’s renowned college counseling process tries to guide each family to find the “Best Fit” for a great college experience after Walker.  To assist in this process Walker’s College Counseling team – Robyn Johnson, Neil Clark, and Peter Sullivan – hosted many programs during this Winter/Spring for our families.

College Alumni Program – January 6

A program where past Walker graduates came back and reflected on the college search process. Upper School students gained valuable insights from our past graduates.

Pictured here with members of the College Counseling and Alumni Association teams are Sarah Syrop (Brown University), Lauren Bobo (University of South Carolina), Austin Walker (Mississippi State University), Brielle Bowerman (Davidson College) and Melissa Pouncey (Wake Forest University).

Pictured here with members of the College Counseling and Alumni Association teams are Sarah Syrop (Brown University), Lauren Bobo (University of South Carolina), Austin Walker (Mississippi State University), Brielle Bowerman (Davidson College) and Melissa Pouncey (Wake Forest University).

Pre-College Planning Program – January 15

A program for freshman and sophomores to start preparing for the process to find their “Best Fit” for college via Walker search and assistance process.  Jenny Liang, Class of 2016, said “It was a great opportunity to hear from greatly experienced counselors and my mind was opened to many options available after Walker.”

Financial Aid Program – January 22

Mr. Ron Day, one of the nation’s top professionals in this field and is a past National Chair of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, gave a presentation on the entire financial process.  Mr. Day’s program was titled “Financial Aid 101” and covered the entire spectrum of the financial aid process.

Sophomore Trip – February 6

All Walker sophomores are taken a trip to visit both the University of Georgia and Mercer University – to help learn the importance of campus visits.  Campus visits are extremely important to each family and this trip teaches both process and significance.  Peter Sullivan stresses that, “Visiting a variety of colleges is one of the most successful ways for college bound students to determine “best fit.”


Students pose in front of the Mercer bear on the 2014 Sophomore Shuffle.

These critical visits to a variety of colleges and universities will help Walker students (and their families) to articulate what they are searching for, in terms of academic and social opportunities. Walker’s Office of College Counseling wants to lead by example and personally show our sophomores how to conduct a successful college visit while maximizing their time on a campus.”

Junior College Individual Planning Meetings – Winter/Spring 2014

During this meeting – Juniors receive their College Planning notebook and with their parents review the process and their choices – to ultimately find their “Best Fit”.

Atlanta Case Studies – April 27

Walker partners with a number of other Atlanta privates school to offer a mock admissions committee chaired by current admissions professionals and then followed by college fair of about 50 colleges.


On Halloween, Peter Sullivan, Robyn Johnson, and Neil Clark emphasized the importance of the college visit.

Through these varied programs, Walker’s College Counseling team provides a wide array of counseling programs to assist our families in developing meaningful educational and personal plans that are compatible with the goal of “Best Fit.”

Valuing the Experience over the Applause

As I watched the many different events in the 2014 Winter Olympics, I thought of the words appearing in Walker’s mission and promise statement – the importance of valuing the experience over the applause. Many of the skaters, skiers, hockey players, and curlers went to the competitions hoping to medal, but realistically knew their chances were slim-to-none. No one expected the Jamaican bobsled to be on the medal stand (the applause), but many of us enjoyed the story of how hard they worked just to be able compete in the Olympics (the experience) and how the last minute generosity of many allowed them to be there. I feel somewhere over time we shifted from encouraging participation and recognizing there were winners and losers to encouraging participation and everyone receiving a trophy.

I frequently hear students make comments about not wanting to take a challenging class because a higher grade could be earned in one less demanding, not wanting to audition for a play because of not being able to have a major role, or not wanting to play a sport unless being guaranteed a starting spot or major playing time. I hope we have not reached a point where many of our young people miss the joy of competing; learning how to do your best is healthy and not walking away with a medal is not losing. During the Games, we witnessed athletes achieve a PR or a PB. These athletes were not in medal contention, but instead, they were competing against the clock, a previous score, or themselves…and in that competition they won!

While channel surfing in the evenings, my wife and I sometimes tune in to HGTV’s “House Hunters.” I often think about the number of young couples looking for their dream first home with cavernous bathrooms, granite counter tops in a chef-styled kitchen, and a “man cave.” I do want each couple to have that dream home some day, but I wonder if they are missing out on the experience of having cinder blocks with 1×6 boards as shelves or gathering with friends one night and pooling leftovers because the next paycheck is several days away.

Many of the memories we tend to value in later years are of times when we did not have everything we wanted or had to put off getting what we wanted. Some of the greatest gifts are not when we receive the medal, award, or trophy, but when we choose to show up and value the experience over the applause.