Ranney School’s Class of 2016 has garnered an exceptional list of college acceptances, including to six of the eight Ivy League institutions, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins and the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. In fact, the 78-member class* was admitted into 14 of the top 25 nationally ranked universities by U.S. News & World Report’s Carnegie classification and had three female Division 1 athletic recruitments. Beyond these impressive stats, Ranney’s pending graduates are thrilled to be attending colleges they know are the best fit for them (see full list below).
The school’s nationally acclaimed College Guidance Office takes pride in its individualized, family-based, “right fit” approach to college counseling—an approach that aligns with the independent school’s overall mission to value, nurture and engage each and every child and his/her unique self. When students enter the Upper School in ninth grade, faculty and college counselors get to know the students, as well as their families, deeply. They gain a solid sense of the types of colleges and universities in which students will thrive going forward, and they provide the advantage of helping students to begin college planning during their freshmen year.
“We advise ninth-grade families on courses, extracurricular activity options, summer plans and standardized test preparation,” explains Dr. Nick Accrocco, Co-Director of the College Guidance Office. “Once our students become upperclassmen, we guide them and their parents through individualized college searches, and we offer programs that help them understand what to expect at each stage of the process.” For example, as part of its advising program, Ranney’s College Guidance Office provides chaperoned trips to half a dozen college campuses each year, a series of parent workshops on paying for college, a semester-long college seminar for juniors and seniors, an annual Mock Admissions Evening, an alumni panel on collegiate student life, and an annual on-campus college fair with representation from more than 80 admissions representatives.
As a result of this approach, 100% of Ranney graduates attend four-year colleges and universities year after year (see the Class of 2016 matriculation list below), and between 70 and 80% are historically admitted to their first or second choice school.
“College entrance has become increasingly competitive across the board, with the most selective schools only admitting between 6% and 9% of their applicants on average. Ranney’s distinctive college guidance program, paired with our curriculum, student life and cutting-edge STEAM programs, allows students to pursue multiple interests while achieving academic excellence, thus making them ideal candidates,” says Head of School Dr. John W. Griffith.
Take Sophia Jackman, for example, who began attending Ranney in Pre-Kindergarten. She has been accepted into Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia and MIT. The Freehold, New Jersey, native is a first violinist in the Ranney orchestra, a varsity debater and a stage actress—she has appeared in lead roles on the Ranney stage as well as in local productions at Red Bank’s Two River Theater. Sophia is also a member of the school’s Math, Science and National Honor Societies.
"The quality of support we received from the guidance office at Ranney was outstanding," said Sophia's parents Dr. Neil Jackman and Dr. Meskerem Tesfaye. "Very early in the application process, we were told about early action and early decision and the financial and admissions implications of each approach. The importance of finding a perfect fit was emphasized. Additionally, the help our daughter received from the Ranney counselors and faculty in reviewing her college essays was priceless. I cannot say enough about the value of their feedback. As Ranney parents, we would recommend Ranney to anyone who wants to receive the best guidance possible."
Another example is senior Dean Parker of Toms River, who plans to attend Columbia’s Fu School of Engineering. A top Advanced Placement Computer Science student, Dean has applied his love of coding and programming to Ranney’s award-winning Robotics teams. ““Ranney helped me to gain a unique perspective on engineering, which enabled me to talk about specific examples at my college interview.”
Mr. Adam Materasso, Upper School Assistant Head, points out that Ranney’s College Guidance program also centers on finding the “right-fit” for each student. “We lead students through various reflection exercises in an effort to help them find the right match. This match does not necessarily mean finding the ‘best’ school in the country. Each student has a different ideal, whether they prefer region-specific schools, specialized programs—such as in the arts, engineering or business, or another unique aspect. Our goal is for them to thrive when they go to college, to be happy and to stay. By getting to know our students at a very personal level, we are able to assist them with their applications and advocate for them to the admissions reps who are reviewing their applications. ”
Says senior Jerome Cohen of West Long Branch, “Mr. Materasso was there every step of the way, from helping me sort through my thoughts on potential colleges to helping me pick a dormitory for next year. He made the college process about me – he was always happy to help guide me to the answer that I already knew, but needed help getting to.” Jerome is one of two Ranney students who received early admission to the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. Joining him will be senior and nationally ranked fencer Nicole Vaiani
of Wall, who was also recruited to UPenn’s Division I Fencing Team. (See also Burlington
at Fairfield and Smires
Senior Sarah Klein of Locust, who will be attending Sarah Lawrence College next fall, agrees that Ranney’s individualized, right-fit approach makes a huge difference in the college application journey. “From the moment we had our first guidance conversation, I knew I could let out a sigh of relief. My counselor knew so many details about me and my experience at Ranney. It felt as though he had not only memorized what I was looking for, but truly understood what I wanted out of a school and future college experience.”
Ranney counselors meet with students—as well as their parents—often to help them stay organized, on track—and perhaps most important, to ensure that they them remain realistic and calm throughout what can be a very stressful process. Senior Tessa Payer of Wall worked with Co-Director of College Guidance Ms. Myra Simpson throughout her college application process and plans to attend The College of William & Mary – a perfect fit considering Tessa’s interest in and experience as a living history volunteer. “Thanks to Ranney, I realized that the college process isn’t so scary – it can actually be a fun, enjoyable experience,” she said.
Adds senior Mollie Tobin of Wayside, who plans to attend Cornell University, “The college guidance experience over these past four years was the best I could have ever asked for. With the help of Ranney’s college advisors and teachers, I was able to narrow down my college search well before senior year began.”
Ranney students have the added advantage of working with counselors who have previously served as college admissions officers. Dr. Accrocco, for example, spent nine years in the Undergraduate Admissions Office at Vanderbilt University, and previously served as an Application Reader for the University of Pennsylvania and American University’s Kogod School of Business.
We are pleased to announce that members of Ranney School’s Class of 2016 plan to attend the following colleges in Fall 2016: