College Counseling

The college process is an opportunity for personal growth, self-reflection, and self-discovery.
The Sixth Form year is a time of profound change: students begin to think about leaving the Groton School community, entering adulthood, and choosing a college. We are aware of the excitement and challenges, and we provide tools to help our students navigate the many paths toward college admission.

While outcomes are important, so is the process. The College Counseling Office focuses on discovering good matches between students and colleges. We believe this is each student’s personal journey. The role of Groton’s college counselors is to support, guide, and educate students and their families; students come to understand themselves as they explore the ever-changing world of college admission.

Beginning in winter of Fifth Form, college counselors hold group information sessions, individual meetings with students and their parents, and parent presentations. During Sixth Form, students continue with individual meetings and have the opportunity to talk with more than one hundred college representatives who visit Groton. In addition, families and students have access to the school’s computer-based college counseling program, which provides statistics, college searches, links to scholarships, and other information.

How to Plan

Our College Planning Calendar provides step-by-step guidelines, from Third through Sixth Forms.


Colleges where five or more Groton students have matriculated, 2019–2023:
University of Chicago
Georgetown University
Yale University
Harvard University
Boston College
Stanford University
University of Pennsylvania
Princeton University
Brown University
Columbia University
Tufts University
Colby College
Bowdoin College
Dartmouth College
Northwestern University
University of St. Andrews
Colgate University
Cornell University
Middlebury College
New York University
Babson College
Carnegie Mellon University
Duke University
Hamilton College
Washington University in St. Louis

Standardized Testing

Standardized test scores are just one of the many pieces that colleges consider during the application process, and many colleges no longer require test scores. Several standardized test options are available, depending upon a student's strengths and interests.
Groton School registers all students for the PSAT. Students must register themselves for their AP exams in their AP courses. Students must register themselves for the SAT (, the ACT (, and the TOEFL ( or the Duolingo English Test
( Most register online, but students may pick up registration booklets and paper forms in the College Counseling Office. The Groton School code is 220930.
Students must be logged into their College Board account for Groton School to appear as a test site. For the SATs, Groton School will always be listed. For the ACT, if Groton School is not available, students should select Lawrence Academy or Nashua High School South.
Most Fifth Formers (eleventh graders) will take the SAT in December or May. College counselors will help develop a complete testing plan for each student.

List of 6 items.

  • PSAT

    The new digital PSAT
    In the fall of 2023, the PSATs will be administered on a digital device instead of a paper booklet. Students in the Fourth and 11th grade will be able to take the exam on their school issued computer.

    The College Counseling Office will help students download College Board’s customized digital application, called Bluebook, to their device. They will be able to download the Bluebook app ahead of test day so they have time to get familiar with it before taking the exam.

    On exam day, students will access, complete, and submit the PSAT completely online through the Bluebook app.

    The digital PSAT will be 2 hours and 14 minutes long, making it a half hour shorter than the paper PSAT.

    Since the digital PSAT will be shorter, it will also have fewer questions than the paper PSAT. The digital PSAT will consist of 98 questions total, whereas the paper PSAT consisted of 139 questions.

    The digital PSAT will also use a new system called adaptive testing to assess students’ skills more efficiently. With adaptive testing, the difficulty level of exam questions changes based on each question that a test taker gets right or wrong.

    How adaptive testing will work on the PSAT
    The first module will consist of a variety of easy, medium, and hard questions. The difficulty of the second module will be determined by your performance on the first module. This means that the second module on both sections will be either easier or harder than the first module.

    PURPOSE of the PSATs
    The PSAT is meant to give students “practice” and an early indication of how they might perform on the SATs. Students will receive their PSAT scores and have a conversation with the College Counseling Office in order to identify weak areas and prepare so that they do better when it does count.

    About the PSAT
  • SAT

    The SAT Reasoning test, which will be administered beginning in March 2016, will include:
    • Two Mathematics sections, 80 minutes (one 25-minute section without calculator and one 55-minute section with calculator)
    • A Reading section, 65 minutes 
    • A Writing and Language section, 35 minutes

    Students will receive a Mathematics score between 200 and 800 and a combined score for Reading and Writing/Language between 200 and 800. The test is offered on seven dates each school year and is offered at Groton School six times a year. Look for more info at
    While the SAT provides some indication of verbal and mathematical aptitude, it does not measure other important qualities needed for success in college, such as motivation, perseverance, curiosity, and a sincere desire to learn. SAT Subject Tests are no longer offered by the College Board.

    Register for the SAT
  • ACT

    The ACT can be used at almost all colleges as a substitute for the SAT. In the past, the ACT was used primarily by colleges in the Midwest and West of the United States. Recently, the number and geographical spread of colleges accepting the ACT has grown. For example, more than 98 percent of the 330 colleges that accept the Common Application also accept the ACT. Students should read the requirements of the colleges in which they are interested to determine whether the ACT is an acceptable or preferred option.

    The ACT consists of four 35- to 50-minute subtests in English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science Reasoning. You will receive four separate scores, plus a composite score that averages the tests. Scores range from 1 (low) to 36 (high). The College Counseling Office can provide a graph to help correlate ACT and SAT scores.

  • TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language

    This test is for non-native English speakers who either (1) have only been in the United States a few years, or (2) find the SAT I does not accurately reflect their English competency. The TOEFL is meant to assess if a student’s English is sufficient to understand college-level texts, rather than evaluating the fine points and extensive vocabulary covered by the critical reading SAT and Literature subject tests. An English Language Proficiency Test, sponsored by the College Board, is an alternative aimed toward students who have been taught in English for an additional number of years. Some colleges require the TOEFL of international students.

    Learn more about the TOEFL.
  • Duolingo English Test

  • AP: Advanced Placement Tests

    AP classes are college-level courses, taught in high schools, that follow a nationally developed curriculum. Scores range from 1 (low) to 5 (high). Colleges vary greatly in how they use the AP and how much credit students can receive for their scores. At Groton School, students enrolled in AP classes are required to take the exam. AP exams are given at Groton in May; they last three hours and are based on full-year college-level courses.
    Subjects include Art History, Studio Art, Biology, Calculus AB and BC, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics (Micro and Macro), English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, Environmental Science, European History, French, German, Government and Politics, Human Geography, International English Language, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Music Theory, Physics, Psychology, Spanish, Statistics, U.S. History, and World History.

    The AP program was not designed to be used in college admission. Instead, it was designed to allow students to obtain college credit and/or to exempt students from introductory college courses. To gain credit for college, selective colleges require a score of at least 4, and some require a 5 (while others will not award credit at all).

    While APs were not intended to be used in colleges’ evaluation of candidates, many admission offices do pay attention to the presence of AP scores in an applicant’s folder. If a student has taken APs and has done well (a score of 4 or 5), it may be in his or her best interest to report these scores to colleges on the application. The task of reporting APs on a college application lies with the student. Students do not officially send AP scores until they are ready to matriculate to a college.

Test Preparation

The best preparation for college entrance exams is a strong academic foundation. Students who strive for their best work throughout their education, and who read books with rich vocabulary outside of class, fortify that foundation.

The best short-term preparation is familiarity with the tests, and, for mathematics, a review of formulas. This can be achieved by working through a book of practice tests, through interactive computer software, by studying individually with a tutor, or by enrolling in a group prep course.

Groton School works with Summit Educational Group to provide individual tutoring and SAT Prep classes on campus during winter of Fifth Form and fall of Sixth Form. Many firms offer SAT Prep; we cannot guarantee that any will make a difference. Some students improve, and some do not. Beware of claims too good to be true and weigh carefully whether students have the time and energy to invest in SAT Prep. 

If you decide on a test preparation course, we advise you to choose one that reviews material, enhances skills that would be useful in any testing situation, and provides exercises that help to increase concentration and relaxation. Many Groton students find that the summer between Fifth and Sixth Form is when motivation is highest for SAT prep.

Meet the Office

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