College Counseling

La Salle Academy’s College Counseling Department seeks to promote the personal growth of students and to provide them with the strategies necessary for educational, career, and social development.
For a family, the route to college can be complicated and full of unexpected challenges. The La Salle Academy (LSA) College Counseling Office provides comprehensive advisement to our students and their families throughout the entire college selection and application process.

Our goal is for each student to take responsibility for the college selection process by providing each individual with the tools, approaches, and information needed to make smart choices. We also want to work with the parents to create a partnership that will help each student achieve his/her educational objectives. Informational programs begin sophomore year, and counselors are assigned to specific students in the fall of their junior year.

At LSA, students and parents have a number of resources available to help simplify the complex college search and application process. Beginning in spring of freshman year, students and parents are given access to Naviance, a web-based resource that contains information about colleges and scholarships. The site also contains information on schools to which La Salle students have applied in the past.

Throughout the fall months, La Salle hosts over 200 admissions counselors from colleges and universities across the country. Students are encouraged to meet with a representative from a school(s) to which he/she may be interested in applying to or attending. At La Salle Academy, our team of college counselors is committed to helping students find the higher education options that best fit their strengths, interests, and goals. Our partnership with the class deans with the support of the La Salle faculty allows this process to begin with classroom guidance in the ninth grade. We will continue to provide relevant information to each grade level throughout high school years. Our team approach will guide students and their families through the college search and application process. 

The counselors also host evening meetings for parents covering a wide range of topics in the ever-changing world of college admissions, including applications, recommendations, financial aid and scholarships. Whether our students need assistance writing an essay, preparing for an interview or deciding which college or university to ultimately attend, we are here to help.
    • 2020 College Acceptances

College Counseling Timeline

List of 5 items.

  • Junior Counseling

    While the overall counseling mission at La Salle Academy remains constant, the junior year is different from prior years because students are preparing for their future. During this time, students will mature and grow in many ways.
    Junior year is devoted to:
    • Transitioning from school counseling to our robust college counseling program
    • Taking college preparatory, upper-level Advanced Placement (AP) and honors classes
    • Reviewing high school transcripts to ensure students are on the right path to fulfill graduation requirements and meet future college goals
    • Striving for academic success in preparation for college and beyond
    • Deciding which standardized test is best suited for them (SAT or ACT)
    • Developing strategies for being successful on standardized testing
    • Exploring ways to showcase strengths and individual talents
    • Taking on leadership roles in school clubs and athletics (and how to balance that responsibility)
    • Introducing career and college exploration
    Junior year is a time of excitement, future planning and dedication. We encourage our students to work to their fullest potential, while experiencing all the wonders of their time at the Academy.
  • Junior Year - Fall

    • The PSAT/NMSQT, taken in October, is the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship competition and is practice for later SATs. La Salle automatically registers students for the PSAT.
    • Register to take the SAT or ACT in winter and spring. 
    • Meet with the junior college counselor to discuss preliminary college planning.
    • Mark your calendar for Junior College Night in January with your parents to get information about beginning the college search and application process.
    • Plan visits to local colleges and universities and/or attend a college fair. Be prepared with a list of questions to ask college representatives.
    • Keep your grades up. Academics are of vital importance to success.
    • Students with documented learning differences should be sure they are registered to use their accommodations on the SAT or ACT. Confirm with your college counselor.
    • Students with documented learning differences should consider whether or not they plan to use accommodations in college. If so, students should schedule an update to their psycho-educational testing. These assessments help the student, parents and counselors focus on the student’s need for accommodations and services at the college level.
  • Junior Year - Winter/Spring

    • Attend Junior College Night
    • Meet with your college counselor when scheduling senior year courses to select the best possible academic options. Specific college majors require specific high school courses to be taken.
    • Think about teachers who will write a positive recommendation letter for you.
    • Complete the college questionnaire so teachers use your information when writing your letters of recommendation (March)
    • Follow counselor instructions for requesting letters of recommendation (March).
    • Think about taking the SAT Subject Test and/or SAT/ACT again.
    • Start looking at applications and begin thinking about essays; Refer to for ideas.
    • Begin to visit college websites and plan campus visits for the spring/summer.
    • Athletes should register with the NCAA Initial Eligibility Center at the conclusion of junior year after report cards are issued.
    • Parents and students should meet with the college counselor to begin discussing the application process. Meetings are recommended to assure each student is prepared for the college application process.
  • Junior Year - Summer

    • Attend Common Application workshop
    • Complete resume and teacher recommendation forms.
    • Begin to complete a list of colleges to which you would like to apply.
    • Visit colleges in which you are interested.
    • Begin to formulate ideas and finalize your application essay(s).
    • Attend Brown University Summer College Fair in July
  • Senior Year Counseling

    • Communicate with your counselor to go over your college list, receive recommendations for schools, and discuss essays, if necessary.
    • Finalize your college resume
    • Students who plan to participate in college athletics should see their counselor to link the Common Application, Naviance and the NCAA Eligibility Center together so they can send out transcripts.
    • Register to meet college representatives coming to LSA in Naviance Student.
    • Be aware of deadlines set by colleges and your counselor. Most applications are due between October 15th (early action/early decision/priority) and January 15th.
    • Visit college open house programs and prepare for any possible interviews.
    • Attend McCoy Stadium College Fair
    • Attend college visits at La Salle during the school day
    • Continue to work hard in the classroom. Senior grades count (you do not want to have your acceptance/scholarship revoked because of poor performance in the classroom).
    • Remain involved in your extracurricular activities, athletics, arts etc.
    • File the FAFSA (starting on October 1st) and CSS Profile, if necessary

List of 5 members.

  • Photo of Eric Simonelli

    Eric Simonelli 

    Director of College Counseling
    (401) 351-7750 ext 125
  • Photo of ConiSue King

    ConiSue King 

    Director of School Counseling/College Counselor
    (401) 351-7750 ext 124
  • Photo of Erin Casey

    Erin Casey 93

    College Counselor
    (401) 351-7750 ext 145
  • Photo of Anne Clawson

    Anne Clawson 

    College Counselor
    (401) 351-7750 ext 295
  • Photo of Lee Matteson

    Lee Matteson 

    School and College Counseling Secretary
    (401) 351-7750 ext 128

List of 2 items.

College Counseling FAQ

List of 18 frequently asked questions.

  • Q: What should I write about in my personal essay?

    Ultimately, colleges are looking to hear your unique voice and how clearly you articulate your point of view. The essay should communicate some important characteristics of your personality without coming right out and mentioning them directly, and you should stay away from writing an overly contrived and maudlin essay. Keep in mind that you are writing something personal and meaningful to you, so stay away from gimmicks. The essay should be well written and proofread by you and a few other trusted people, such as an English teacher. Most importantly, be sure to answer the question asked and share information not found in other parts of your application.
  • Q: How do I find out about and apply for financial aid and scholarships?

    The Counseling Office provides scholarship information monthly through our newsletter. In addition, a financial aid information night is held each year for senior parents. 
  • Q: What do colleges look at the most in making a decision about who to admit to their school?

    Colleges take into consideration a variety of components including the high school transcript, the difficulty of the courses taken, grade point average, grade trends, standardized tests (SAT Reasoning Test, SAT Subject Tests, ACT ), personal essay, letters of recommendation, extra-curricular activities, and in some cases a personal interview.
  • Q: Letter of recommendation:

    First, students should know how many letters of recommendation a college requires, if any, and if they want the letter(s) to be from specific subject teachers.   It is important to ask a teacher who knows you well and who will emphasize your strengths and skills. The letter of recommendation should add something to your application, not be a retelling of the grade earned in a class.  Students should cultivate positive relationships with teachers during their high school years so teachers will be able to write outstanding recommendations. 
  • Q: How many colleges should I apply to?

    There is no limit to the number of colleges to which students may apply. Sometimes the $50 average cost of a college application may help a family to decide to limit them to some degree. In general the college counselors at La Salle encourage students to apply to a couple of schools that may be what is considered “reach” or ideal schools; to a couple of schools that may be considered “target” schools or schools whose profiles is a good match with a student’s profile; and to a couple of schools that may be considered “safe” schools or schools where the student’s admission is reasonably certain.
  • Q: What is a “good” college?

    A “good” college is a college where a student can be most successful. It’s a school where he/she feels comfortable intellectually, socially and emotionally. A “good” school is one where a student fits in. Sometimes a ‘good’ school is in Rhode Island, sometimes it’s an hour or so away from home or three hours away. Sometimes it’s far from home. Sometimes a ‘good’ school is a large or a small one, a Catholic or a public one. A “good” school is NOT necessarily one of the top 10 schools in the country. Your college counselor can help you find colleges that are “good” for you.
  • Q: What courses do I need to take to get into a “good” school?

    At La Salle all students take a college preparatory program and graduate with 25.5 credits. All students are encouraged to take the most challenging courses that they are capable of taking and in which they can do well. In addition to four years of Religion, the most challenging courses consist of four years of Math, English, Science, Social Studies and Foreign Language. This is ideal. There are many exceptions. A student may be talented in Art or Music and wants to take courses in those areas. Another student may have an interest in business and may choose courses in that area. Also, some students don’t do well in one of the subjects mentioned and it would be better not to take it than to get a “D”. And finally, the college to which the student wants to apply requires 2 years of a Foreign Language or three years of Science.
  • Q: When are college applications due?

    Every college has its own application deadline. Frequently, many colleges have the same deadline. Students must be sure they research the college deadlines for all the colleges to which they apply. College counselors are always on hand to assist students in finding the information they need.
  • Q: What is “legacy”?

    Legacy is the situation where an immediate family member is a graduate from the institution to which the student is applying. Sometimes it also involves being an active alumnus/a.
  • Q: What is Early Decision?

    Early Decision (ED) is a binding plan; the applicant, parent/guardian, and college counselor must all sign an agreement that the student understands he/she is making a commitment to attend the university if accepted.  ED requires a student to submit an application to a University by a set date, (usually by November 1st or November 15th) in order to find out well before April 1st if the student is accepted. By applying ED a student has made a commitment to attend that college if admitted and to withdraw all other applications upon acceptance. Because of the binding nature of ED a student may apply to only one college under the ED plan. ED is not recommended unless the applicant is absolutely sure that he/she will attend the university if accepted.
  • Q: What is Early Action?

    Many colleges and universities have an Early Action (EA) Plan. EA is a non-binding plan that requires an academically qualified student to submit an application by an early deadline so that the student may know at an early date whether or not she/he is accepted. A student may apply EA to more than one institution, unless their policy is Early Action Single Choice. A student may even apply Early Decision and Early Action but the Early Decision is binding and all other applications must be withdrawn upon an Early Decision acceptance. (Individual institution’s regulations and interpretations may differ from and take precedence over this general explanation).
  • Q: When should I take the SAT Reasoning Test?

    The SAT Reasoning Test is administered many times throughout the year.  Juniors are encouraged to take their first SAT before the end of junior year, in either March, May or June, then again in the fall of their senior year, if needed. They may register on-line at
  • Q: How many times should I take the SAT’s?

    Students may take the SAT as many times as they like and try for their optimal score. Colleges generally look at the best scores, even the best scores on different tests. (Individual college preferences always apply).
  • Q: What are the SAT Subject Tests?

    The SAT Subject Tests are tests in specific subjects like Biology, Chemistry, Spanish and many more. They are one hour tests and three may be taken in one day.  SAT Subject Tests are required by some colleges in addition to the SAT Reasoning Test. Students can register online at
  • Q: What are the ACT’s?

    The ACT’s are an alternative college entrance examination accepted by almost all colleges. They assess a student’s general educational development and his/her ability to complete college level work. The multiple choice tests cover four skills areas: English, Math, Reading and Science. The writing test, which is optional, measures skill in planning and writing a short essay. (see
  • Q: How do I pick a college?

    A student should develop a profile of all he/she is looking for in a college and of what a college has to offer. The student should consider the kind of school he/she is looking for in terms of distance from home, size, public or private, relative cost, etc. Secondly, the student should make sure the school offers a major and alternatives that he/she would like to study. Extracurricular interests may be a factor in choosing a college. The student should then consider his/her academic profile in terms of PSAT or SAT scores, subjects taken, and cumulative average against each college’s profile to determine what his/her chances are of being accepted. Resources to help in this task can be found on a college’s website, through a student’s Naviance account, and at A student’s college counselor can help in this process.
  • Q: What is the NCAA?

    The NCAA or the National Collegiate Athletic Association is the organization through which many of the nation’s colleges and universities speak and act on athletic matters at the national level. Its mission is to protect the best interests of student-athletes. (see
  • Q: What is the NCAA Eligibility Center?

    The NCAA requires all prospective student-athletes to register with its central clearinghouse. The clearinghouse determines an incoming freshman’s eligibility to participate in Division I and Division II college sports. Requirements for eligibility and registration can be found at here.