We hear from Admissions across the country that our Grace graduates stand out in their community service, their extracurricular activities, their high test scores as well as in their rigorous academic courses. We have colleges seeking our students because of their preparedness and success rate in college.
Preparing for Education after Grace
The purpose of the College Guidance program at Grace Community School is to aid students in planning and preparing for their education beyond high school. The guidance curriculum is rooted in a biblical worldview and is consistent with the school’s mission of assisting Christian families in educating, equipping, and encouraging their children to influence the world for Christ.
100% of the class of 2016 was accepted into college and received over $3.5 million dollars in scholarships, averaging $60,000 per student. This year, Grace has 2 National Merit Semifinalists. These numbers continue to be the norm at Grace where our excellence in academics, athletics, and fine arts stands out in the college application process.
The guidance counselors at Grace Community School are excited to help our students discover their strengths, find the college that matches those strengths and then walk with them through the process of applying and being accepted into that college. We hear from admissions offices across the country that our Grace graduates stand out in their community service, their extracurricular activities, their high test scores, as well as in their rigorous academic courses; we have colleges seeking our students because of their preparedness and success rate in college.
Million $ in Scholarship Offers
National Merit Finalists
2016 Class Accepted into College
College Guidance Philosophy
We believe every student is carefully and lovingly created by God with a unique set of gifts, abilities, passions, and interests (Psalm 139:13-16, 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12:4-8), which can have a significant effect on his or her choice of education and career path, and it is possible, and even probable, for students to begin identifying this uniqueness while in high school. We believe all productive work is good and pleasing to the Lord in that it builds the Kingdom of God on earth and promotes human flourishing (Colossians 1:9-10, 1 Corinthians 15:58, Jeremiah 29:7). In that sense, no distinction exists between sacred and secular careers because all can bring glory to God (Colossians 3:17, 23-24). When students are able to find vocations that match their God-given skills and interests, it usually results in careers that are successful, effective, and rewarding. We also believe education is a gift from God, which He uses to develop our personal sanctification, expand our sphere of influence, and refine our effectiveness for His Kingdom (Proverbs 3:13-18, 4:1-10, 15:14, Philippians 4:8, Colossians 2:3,8). We reject the idea that education is a passport to privilege, and instead, we encourage students to become lifelong learners for the glory of God.
With this foundation in place, our guidance program aspires to accomplish three primary goals in the lives of our students. First, it is our desire that every GCS graduate will continue his or her education after high school. Regardless of whether a student chooses a traditional baccalaureate degree, vocational or job training, junior college/community college, an advanced professional degree, or a discipleship/apprenticeship program, we encourage each student to find the best fit for his or her particular goals, and we celebrate the success of each graduate. Second, we desire that our students pursue their education and practice their respective vocations as intentional acts of worship toward God, recognizing that their identity is not found in their work or career, but only in Christ himself. Third, we prayerfully strive for our graduates to find a sense of calling in their lives so they can successfully impact the world for Christ. Frederick Buechner famously said, “The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet,” and we long to see that reality fulfilled in the lives of our graduates.
We have developed a comprehensive four-year curriculum to guide our work with students and their families and to help achieve these goals. We will assist families in identifying each student’s individual gifts and abilities, developing ideas for potential career paths, and establishing appropriate educational goals through a variety of activities and resources, including recommended reading with guided reflection; personality, career, and aptitude assessments; career exploration tools and programs; and individual college tours. We will educate students on the college application procedures and timeline, directing them through the process and assisting them upon request. Throughout the four-year journey, we expect parents to actively engage in their child’s future planning and to take the initiative in learning about educational options, and we require students to serve as the sole authors of all applications, essays, and supporting documentation. We will also take every opportunity to encourage students in their individual journeys and celebrate with them as they embrace their uniqueness, pursue their dreams, find their calling, and commit all their work to the Lord.
As your guidance counselors, we are honored to walk this journey with each family and count it a privilege to serve our Lord by serving you. Please contact us anytime you need assistance.
This is the year to dream big! As a freshman, high school is new and exciting; it holds endless possibilities. In the college guidance office, we encourage ninth grade students to discover their God-given gifts and talents, to try new extra-curricular activities, and adapt to learning at the high school level. This is the student’s opportunity to learn how to learn. There will be a time of transition and growth, but students should not be afraid of failure because great lessons can be acquired through making mistakes and improving oneself.
During the freshman year, the guidance office will introduce Naviance Family Connection, a web-based college and career readiness program available to every Grace student. Using Family Connection, we will administer assessments to discover each student’s learning style and multiple intelligences. We will also research colleges and careers while dreaming of the future.
Sophomore year is the time for each and every student to develop the gifts and talents given by God. This is a year to know yourself and know your strengths. With drive and determination, students can improve on the academic and extra-curricular foundations they began freshman year.
The guidance office will provide parameters to direct tenth grade students as the continue to dream and plan for the future. We will administer a personality profile called, “Do What You Are” using Family Connection. This assessment links careers, majors, and colleges with each student’s personality type, identifying their strengths and weaknesses. Developing and applying these strengths throughout the sophomore year will help students build confidence and be successful in their school activities.
As upperclassmen, juniors need to create depth in their classes, extra-curricular activities, and college preparation. Since most students will apply for college before December of the senior year, this will be the last year to improve their high school grade average. Eleventh grade is the year to dedicate oneself to improving grades, to assume leadership roles in extra-curricular activities, and to serve in the school and the community. Taking on more leadership roles and responsibility is important for juniors who want to distinguish themselves from the crowd, and all juniors will focus their efforts on admissions testing and college research.
In the guidance office, we provide resources for test prep as well as college research. Whether it’s the ACT/SAT, college fairs or college visits, we are excited to help students grow in knowledge and preparedness as they go deeper this school year.
Senior year has finally arrived! This is the year to deploy the God-given gifts and talents the students have been working to discover, develop, and deepen over their high school career. The school year will be busy with completeing applications, writing essays, visiting campuses, and searching for scholarships. It’s also important for every student to follow through with school commitments and finish the year strong. After four years of dreaming of all the great possibilities the future holds, every student will have to make a decision about what to do after graduation. The guidance office understnd the weight of this decision, and we are here to help in any way possible.
College Guidance Resources
Forms & Guides
- www.bigfuture.org (Step-by-step college planning site from College Board)
- www.myblueprintstory.com (Learn about Christian colleges and universities all over North America)
- www.collegeforalltexans.com (Interactive college planning website specific to Texas)
- www.youniversitytv.com (Video campus tours from around the nation)
- www.whatwilltheylearn.com (Free guide to what college rankings don’t tell you)
- www.princetonreview.com (Excellent site for college research and rankings, career search, test prep, and scholarships)
- www.college.gov (College planning information from the Department of Education)
- www.cappex.com (College search, reviews, and scholarships)
Money for College
- www.studentaid.ed.gov (Department of Education home page for federal student aid)
- http://collegecost.ed.gov (College tuition costs & affordability)
- www.fafsa.gov (Instructions for filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
- National Scholarship Search in Family Connection or www.myscholly.com (Both of these scholarship search tools create a custom list of scholarships based on your preferences and both will protect your privacy and not generate spam)
- www.etcf.org (East Texas Communities Foundation is a local organization that manages over 35 different scholarship programs.)
- www.weirdscholarships.net (Independent listing of unique scholarship programs around the country. No personal information is taken.)
- www.legion.org/needalift/ (Online resource book created by the American Legion that lists scholarship programs and offers financial aid assistance)
- www.fastweb.com or www.scholarships.com (Nationwide scholarship search engines)
Testing & Prep
- www.actstudent.org (Register for the ACT, check or send scores, and prepare for the test)
- www.collegeboard.org (Register for the SAT, check or send scores, and prepare for the test)
- www.kaplanatschool.com/tylerschools (Customized listing of upcoming courses and programs offered in Tyler by Kaplan Test Prep)
College Guidance News
I have a crepe myrtle tree on my back patio that holds a special place in my heart. It’s not the prettiest tree in my yard, or the biggest. Yet, each year, as my three girls headed off to their first day of school, their mama would stand them in front of that crepe...
Last Saturday night, GCS graduated 79 seniors in the Class of 2017. We call this ceremony “commencement,” because it is the beginning of their new life, equipped with everything we’ve given them. Several folks asked for my commencement charge to them, which I’ve set...
If you read Part 1 and Part 2 of our series on the most important components of the college admissions formula, you likely noticed that 2 of the Big 3 are attempts at measuring a student’s academic potential. While it seems reasonable that admissions officers want to...
Director of College Guidance
Joshua has served as the director of college guidance since 2007, although he has been with Grace Community School since 2004 as a high school physics instructor. Joshua received his bachelor’s of science degree from Louisiana Tech University and holds a Professional Guidance Counselor certification for College Admission Counseling and Advising. Joshua and his wife, Rebecca, have four children attending GCS.
College Guidance Counselor
November has worked in education since 2001. She has been with Grace Community School since 2008 as a math teacher and since 2014 as a college guidance counselor. She received her bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University and certification in College Guidance from Anderson University in conjunction with the North American Coalition for Christian Admissions Professionals. November and her husband, Brandon, have four daughters that attend Grace Community School. They are members at Green Acres Baptist Church where she and Brandon teach a Sunday morning Bible study class. November also participates in the music ministry at Celebration and Resonate worship.
High School Registrar
Karen has worked in the high school office since 2009. She provides staff, parent, and student support for RenWeb, our school management system, and serves as the registrar for the guidance office. Karen received her bachelor’s degree in Computing Science from Texas A&M. She and her husband, Mike, have three children who graduated from Grace. They attend Marvin United Methodist Church.
Map your road to college readiness