College Guidance

College Guidance

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.

College Guidance

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 2021 was accepted into college and received over $9 million dollars in scholarships.  This year, Grace has 1 National Merit Scholar. 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


2021 Class Accepted into College

College Guidance Philosophy

Our 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.

Our Goals
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.
Our Plan

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.

Ninth Grade

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.

Tenth Grade

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.

Eleventh Grade

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.

Twelfth Grade

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 completing 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 understands the weight of this decision, and we are here to help in any way possible.

College Guidance Resources

Money for College
  • (Department of Education home page for federal student aid)
  • (College tuition costs & affordability)
  • (Instructions for filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
  • National Scholarship Search in Family Connection or (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)
  • (East Texas Communities Foundation is a local organization that manages over 35 different scholarship programs.)
  • (Independent listing of unique scholarship programs around the country. No personal information is taken.)
  • (Online resource book created by the American Legion that lists scholarship programs and offers financial aid assistance)
  • or (Nationwide scholarship search engines)
Testing & Prep

College Guidance News

Jay Blogs – A Generation of Hope

Jay Blogs – A Generation of Hope

This week, I had the opportunity to attend an extraordinary conference of Christian educators from all over the world.  Leaders involved in Christian schooling from Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America gathered in San Diego to encourage each other and discuss...

Jay Blogs – Come to the Table

Jay Blogs – Come to the Table

There is a sacred space in your home, potentially as important to the spiritual, emotional, and physical health of your family as your local church.  It is your table. “The table is the place of intimacy,” Henri Nouwen says, “the place where we discover each other,”...

GCS Students Chosen for Texas All-State Choir

GCS Students Chosen for Texas All-State Choir

Congratulations to Grace Seniors Henry Bauman and Mikey Poisson for being selected for the Texas All-State Choir. After three rounds of auditions that began in September with over 14,000 students across the state, Henry and Mikey were among the 600 students chosen...

Our Team

Kelley Bell

Kelley Bell

Director of College Guidance

Kelley has been blessed to work in education since 1991 as both a high school math teacher and guidance counselor. More than twenty years of her career have been spent in Christian schools. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from The University of Texas at Tyler and her Master of Education in Guidance and Counseling from Angelo State University. Kelley has been actively involved in women’s prayer ministries and is passionate about sharing God’s word with others. She is excited to be part of the Grace family and loves helping students seek the Lord’s direction for their future. Kelley and her husband, Jim, attend Grace Community Church and have two children, Katie and Clayton. Katie and her husband, Jameson, live in Ft. Worth and Clayton is a student at East Texas Baptist University. Kelley will also be happy to tell you about her grandson, Henry.
November Roberts

November Roberts

College Guidance Counselor

November has worked in education since 2001. She has been with Grace Community School since 2008. Over the years, she has taught math, served as a college guidance counselor, and currently works as the Student Activities Director and Chapel Coordinator. November received her bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University, her Master’s in Educational Leadership from the University of Texas at Tyler, 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, two of which have graduated from Grace Community School and two that currently attend. They are active members at Green Acres Baptist Church.

Karen Cannon

Karen Cannon

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