The goal of Newark Academy’s College Counseling program is to provide comprehensive and informed assistance throughout the entire college search, selection and application process. Although college counseling officially begins during a student’s junior year, it is, in large part a process of self-discovery, growth and exploration that begins as soon as a student enrolls at NA. Working closely with teachers, grade counselors, advisors, coaches, and parents, the college counselors help students identify and apply for admission to colleges and universities that are well-suited to their interests, abilities and aspirations.
With a focus on finding “good matches” between students and colleges/universities, college counselors appreciate that each student brings unique experiences and talents to the college process. The College Office looks forward to building thoughtful, honest and productive relationships with students while empowering and encouraging them to take charge of their futures.
The college counseling staff brings many years of experience from both sides of the admission process and serves to inform the community about trends in college admission alongside the nuts and bolts of the application process. As educators, the college counselors work to lessen the anxiety and demystify the process for students and parents while teaching students to become effective self-advocates.
While students are assigned a college counselor in the fall of their junior year, the process kicks off in January when juniors and parents attend Junior College Night
Individual conferences with juniors begin after Junior College Night and continue through the spring semester. Parents are welcomed and encouraged to meet with the college counselor at any point in the process.
Through individual meetings and use of Naviance Family Connection, students and their college counselors shape a college list.
Counselors help students consider finances and other factors that could impact their choice - empowering each student to make the best decision.
College Counseling Programs Offered
Beyond individual meetings with students, the College Office runs a full range of programs and services:
Junior College Night, a kickoff to the college search process for students and their parents.
A series of roundtable discussions and information sessions for students and parents covering topics ranging from making the most of a college visit, navigating the college financial aid process, the athletic recruitment process, and our Case Studies Night which provides an inside look at how admissions officers read applications and make admission decisions.
College Counseling Workshop (CCW), a series of hour-long group meetings that students attend six times during junior year and five times during senior year and are designed to assist them in each stage of the college search.
Summer workshops focus on completing the Common Application and writing college application essays.
On-campus visits by about 100 colleges/universities annually allow students to meet with college representatives, introduce themselves and ask questions.
Kerry Winiarski, Director of College Counseling
“The extent of each student’s growth, through the process of self-discovery enabled by our program, speaks to the quality of our work.”
Kerry Winiarski has worked in the college admission field for 22 years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Women’s Studies from Duke University and a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration/Student Affairs from Ohio State University. She worked in the offices of student and judicial affairs at Ohio State and undergraduate admissions at Duke. She has also served as a guest faculty member at Lafayette College and Duke University.
Jessica Cohen has worked in the college admissions field for seven years. After earning her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Lafayette College, she returned to her alma mater to work in their admissions office. As Senior Assistant Director of Admissions at Lafayette, she read applications from Newark Academy and other northern New Jersey public and independent schools. She served on the merit scholarship selection committee and coordinated Lafayette’s open houses and special events.
Kerri Speck joined the Newark Academy College Counseling Office in 2014. Before coming to NA, Kerri served as assistant director of Admissions at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, where she was responsible for the recruitment and application review of Central and Northern New Jersey students. As senior associate director of Admissions at Muhlenberg College, Kerri was responsible for application review and merit scholarship selection. Over the years, Kerri has often served as a guest speaker at independent and public high schools, providing students and families with information about the college admissions process. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Bucknell University.
Mary Ellen Weinel left the corporate world in 2002 to become the Office Manager in Newark Academy’s College Counseling Office. With years of office management experience to her credit, Mrs. Weinel handles the day-to-day operation of the College Office. Her responsibilities include serving as the administrative assistant to the director and associate directors, and providing support to the students and their families during the college process. Each year Mrs. Weinel processes more than 1,200 college applications, coordinates College Night for Juniors and various other college information events for students and parents, and schedules and hosts over 90 college representatives who visit Newark Academy each fall. Certified by the College Board in Financial Aid processing, Mrs. Weinel assists students and their families with the completion of financial aid forms and the analysis of college financial aid award packages.