Looking Toward Life Beyond HLS

An American flag sits in the main entrance of Highlands Latin Upper School lobby with granite tile floors and an arched hallway ceiling

A Letter from your College Counselor

Dear HLS Students,

I would like to start this letter by asking, “Why college?”

College, or any continuing education after your high school career, is meant to build upon the foundation that your journey at Highlands Latin School has laid. That foundation is made possible by the blueprint of the HLS Mission Statement which reads, “In partnership with parents, and guided by the Gospel, we strive to educate students to the highest standards of the classical tradition, so that they may grow in knowledge, wisdom, and the love of Our Lord, and more ably use their gifts in the service of others, and for the glory of Christ and his Church.”

Here at HLS, it is our hope that your post-secondary education will be a place to continue to grow in knowledge, wisdom, and the love of our Lord, and a place to continue your discovery, growth, and utilization of your unique and individual gifts for the service of others, and for the glory of Christ and his Church.

Now that I have shared the goal of finding this next place or next chapter of your life after your graduation, let us turn back to your current chapter. Here you are, all of a sudden, in the midst of your “high school career,” heading toward that chapter called “College” (see etymology below). It is important to know your college-readiness involves more than just getting good grades. Rather it is taking on a challenging academic course load and a fulfilling extracurricular schedule that really helps add to the potency of those good grades. Doing so, also and more importantly, pushes yourself to work hard, overcome challenges, and have opportunities to serve others in order to grow in mind and character. It is all a careful balancing act, there will be times where it is good to push yourself and other times you need to set yourself limits and adhere to them. It is in these high school years you are creating what I like to refer to as your high school story!

Your high school story is the story that College Admission Counselors will be reading one day through your transcript, letters of recommendation, resume, and college application essay.

While it is your story, that you are building, it is important to remember you are not in it alone. There are many characters that help to move this story along. It is essential to seek help from teachers and administration when you need it; this is part of why they are here. Seeking help when needed is a true strength that develops your initiative and your ability to be responsible and not too proud to ask for help. You may also be the person to help others in this story, encouraging a peer, a teacher, or administrator your own self.

Finally, remember that engaging actively in your classes (joining the Great Conversation exp. min. 31-35) will not only form you as a leader and form your willingness to contribute to your community, but will encourage your peers to do likewise. Your teachers, who write your Letters of Recommendation for colleges, will remember the impact you made and the effort you gave in their class and in the community of HLS and will be able to write about this in your letters.

All of this is a part of growing in college readiness; it is a journey to find that place, that next chapter beyond HLS.


Mrs. Breland (Your College Counselor)

college (n.)

late 14c., “organized association of persons invested with certain powers and rights or engaged in some common duty or pursuit,” especially “body of scholars and students within an endowed institution of learning,” also “resident body of ecclesiastics supported by an endowment,” from Old French college “collegiate body” (14c.) and directly from Latin collegium “community, society, guild,” literally “association of collegae,” plural of collega “partner in office,” from assimilated form of com “with, together” (see com-) + leg-, stem of legare “to choose,” from PIE root *leg- (1) “to collect, gather.”

Harper, Douglas. “College (n.).” Etymology, Online Etymology Dictionary © 2001-2024 Douglas Harper , www.etymonline.com/word/college. Accessed 27 June 2024.

Here are some practical pointers for your 9th-12th grade journey:

  • Academics:
    • study hard and participate in class
    • challenge yourself by electing to take AP courses when possible in 11th and 12th grades
  • Extracurriculars:
    • maintain any extracurriculars you already have and love, and continue to grow in them
    • explore and strive to commit to at least 1-2 extracurriculars total (and more if desired & possible) through your remaining “high school career”
    • continue to try new things, as you do, consider how this may inform a future career interest
  • Continue to develop your college awareness and understanding:
    • attend Admission Counselor visits and College Fairs
    • read emails from the HLS Office of College Counseling
    • explore the HLS College Counseling menu on this site
    • strike up a conversation with your College Counselor; helping her get to know you will better equip her to help you as you prepare for college
  • Reference your detailed grade level timeline on the “College Counseling Menu” located on the main college counseling page of hls.org for more pointers and to help you stay on track!