College Counseling

We'll Help with the BIG Decision

College counseling at Country Day is student-centered and mindful of adolescent development throughout the college search and application process. The journey is introspective for students and provides opportunities for growth while gaining an independent sense of self.  Students who are happiest throughout the process understand their abilities and needs, dedicate time to research and visiting colleges, and are thorough, thoughtful, organized, and balanced in their approach. In partnership with families, we support students in selecting institutions that align with their interests, values, and goals to provide them opportunities for success both academically and socially. College counselors advise, educate, support, and advocate on behalf of the student. 

Choosing a college to attend is probably the most important decision that a student will make in the first thirteen years of schooling. At Country Day, the college counseling program strives to achieve a harmonious match between student and college, taking into account geography, academics, interests, ability, personality, attitudes, finances, and goals. The college counseling staff, assisted by parents and teachers, helps make this decision less confusing, less frustrating, and more rewarding for the student.

Country Day's college counseling program is designed to work with students from their freshman through their senior years. The program's goal in the freshman and sophomore years is to familiarize students with the process that will lead to the most suitable choice of institution. During the junior and senior years, the program focuses on the actual process of college selection and application.

As a college preparatory school, our experience in guiding students through the selection and admissions process can greatly increase the chances of successful college matriculation, just as our educational program greatly increases their chances of a successful college career.

Frequently Asked Questions

List of 3 frequently asked questions.

  • Q: When does college counseling start at MPCDS?

    The college search and application process formally begins in 11th grade. During the spring, juniors attend College 101, a seven-week college planning course; each student also meets with their college counselor for an individual and family meeting. 9th and 10th graders meet for group college counseling twice per year. There is an evening college night for parents yearly and an annual College Forum for students in grades 8-12.
  • Q: How are MPCDS students exposed to colleges? 

    Between 80 - 100 colleges visit MPCDS annually. Students are encouraged to visit college campuses informally beginning in the 10th grade while making more formal visits in grades 11 - 12. Students are afforded five excused absences in the 11th and 12th grades for college visits. 

    The College Forum and Fair is an annual evening program hosting college representatives for a moderated panel discussion of college admission topics. Students meet with representatives for more specific information on the individual colleges during the college fair.
  • Q: Do 8th-grade classes count for college? 

    A few 8th-grade courses taken for high school credit are listed on the transcript with a letter grade but not equated in the GPA. Typically, those courses are Algebra I, Foreign Language, Physical Science, and World Geography. GPA is based only on courses taken in 9th through 12th grades at MPCDS and excludes PE. 

College Timeline

List of 6 items.

  • 8th

    ASPIRE (pre-ACT)
  • 9th

    Upper School – the principal focus is to adjust to Upper School
    College Calendar: challenge oneself academically and in extracurricular activities
    9th Grade Retreat: understanding the GPA and planning for a strong co-curricular foundation
    PSAT 8/9
  • 10th

    College calendar 
    PSAT (Fall)
    Pre-ACT (Spring)
    SCOIR-students are introduced to the college research and application database. 
    Group and individual meetings 
  • 11th

    College Calendar – Detailed; Individual college meetings with students and parents (mandatory); Start visiting colleges and taking ACT and SAT several times
    PSAT and ACT and SAT
    College 101 – 7 sessions; comprehensive college reference binder
    Naviance – SAT and ACT practice
  • 12th

    Senior Advance in the Fall (Filling out applications, practicing Interviews, etc.)
    Prospective College list in Naviance becomes ACTIVE list
    Applications, Essays, portfolios, interview practice, and transcript review
    Visiting colleges and making final decisions
  • Programs

    College Forum; College Night for Sophomores and Their Parents; College Night for Juniors and Their Parents; ISAS Financial Aid Night


List of 3 members.

  • Photo of Danielle Staggers

    Danielle Staggers 

    504-837-5204 ext 3997
  • Photo of Shannon Barrilleaux

    Shannon Barrilleaux 

    Director of College Counseling
    (504) 849-3185
  • Photo of Nicole Turner

    Nicole Turner 

    Assistant to College Counseling & Learning Specialists
    (504) 849-3769
300 Park Road, Metairie, LA 70005 (504) 837-5204
Established in 1929, Metairie Park Country Day School is a coed private school for New Orleans area students in early childhood through Grade 12. From the elementary grades through upper school, the care and cultivation of each child comes to life in our exciting academic program, creative arts, and competitive athletic offerings.

Country Day accepts qualified students without regard to race, color, disability, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national or ethnic origin.