Academic Counseling

Academic Counseling

The Academic Counseling Team empowers students with the information, tools, and support needed to meet their academic, career, and college goals.

About Academic Counseling

The Academic Counseling Team empowers students with the information, tools, and support needed to meet their academic, career, and college goals. We can help you with:

Academic Counseling Career Planning

Career Planning

Developing a career plan helps you focus on what you want to do and how to get there.

Academic Counseling College Preparation

College Prep

Academic performance as well as adequate scores on entrance exams is necessary for college acceptance.

Academic Counseling Work Experience

Work Experience

Work experience can help you build useful skills outside of the classroom.

Academic Counseling Services by Grade

  • College Guidance counselors visit grade-level time in December, to make introductions and provide general suggestions for optimizing the upper school experience.
  • Counselors visit student advisories in the second half of the 9th-grade year to hear from students and support the work adviser’s guide throughout the year.
  • Counselors attend grade-level programming for students and parents hosted by the academic leadership team, where we provide a framework for thinking about college and how it relates to the upper school experience each student is creating. We also use this time to direct Pacific Ridge families to the grades 9-12 timeline and other college information offered in the school’s family portal.
  • Parents and students are encouraged to attend all-school programming.
  • Dedicated grade-level time throughout the year includes an introduction to Naviance, a comprehensive web-based college software tool; Naviance’s learning style survey; a preview of the sophomore survey; and resume writing support.
  • Students take the practice college admissions exams, the PSAT in fall and a full-length practice ACT in winter.
  • 10th Graders and parents attend Sophomore College Night in January.
  • Each 10th grader completes a Sophomore Survey on Naviance to prepare for a first individual/family meeting with College Guidance, which the student schedules during the February-March time frame.
  • At the family meeting we discuss each student’s upper school experience so far – academic challenges and triumphs, extracurricular interests and involvements, the 10th-grade Seed Grant experience – and walk families through indicators on the PSAT/ACT score reports to preview an individualized testing timeline (including SAT Subject testing as a transcript may suggest).
  • Parents and students are encouraged to attend all-school programming.
  • College Guidance works with students during monthly grade-level time from October through May.
  • Students take the PSAT/NMSQT and have another opportunity to take the practice ACT in November.
  • 11th graders and parents attend Junior College Night in November.
  • Students complete a Junior Survey in Naviance; parents complete their own questionnaire, and each junior schedules an individual/family meeting to take stock of upper school interests and involvements, Service Learning, Junior Project in-progress, and look ahead to senior course selection, the timing of standardized testing, and colleges particular to the student’s preferences and goals.
  • Juniors schedule ongoing meetings throughout the second-half of the school year to support personal college research and discuss emerging student/family priorities.
  • Essay Workshops are presented by College Guidance in Junior English classes, in collaboration with faculty.
  • Counselors provide input on subsequent essay drafts and continue to advise students/families planning visits to college campuses.
  • Coastline Case Studies brings 100+ college admission officers to San Diego every May to meet in small groups with juniors and parents. These representatives run a mock admissions committee, reading three or four applications to decide who is admitted, waitlisted, or denied. We dedicate grade-level time in April to preparing for this event, conducting a close overview of how students/parents should read and notate applications in preparation for the animated discussions in mock admissions committees.
  • Camp College Days in May, just before the Global Travel period, brings a dozen or so admission officers to campus to help students begin work on college applications. This workshop includes real-time creation of a Common Application account and a page-by-page review, so that rising seniors are organized heading into summer application work. Students draft short-answer essays, engage in a research exercise, conduct mock interviews and review essays with college reps.
  • Parents and students are encouraged to attend all-school programming.
  • Seniors return to campus before classes begin for Camp College Days in August to refine the Common Application, prepare the UC application, review work to date and better understand interview policies, priority deadlines, application options, and next steps.
  • College Night for Parents of Seniors provides parents with an overview of key dates.
  • Senior Parent Coffee Series supports parents throughout the college process, providing a forum where we collaborate with Student Support Services to anticipate conversations at home and reinforce our partnership with each student and family. Each segment of this series is followed by an FAQ communication to senior parents.
  • Dedicated grade-level time throughout the fall supports the progress of seniors in the application process, reminding them of next steps, and providing workshops in scholarship search and application. Support is also provided to applicants with specific application needs, such as performing artists, visual artists and athletes.
  • Step-by-step UC/CSU Workshop offered in mid-October.
  • Transition to College Tailgate and Improv event gathers the Senior Class and parents prior to Commencement to celebrate and provide important resources for students/families looking ahead to college.

Our High School Academic Counselor

Lisa Simmons
High School Academic Counselor

(619) 772-7743

Lisa holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. She earned her degree and credential from San Diego Christian College. After working with Julian Charter School for four years she continued her education at National University earning her Master’s degree in School Counseling with a Pupil Personnel credential. Lisa also holds a certificate in college and career counseling from UCLA. She has worked with Julian Charter School since 2002, first as an education facilitator before moving into the academic counselor position.

One of Lisa’s favorite things to do is help students with college and career planning. She is a strong advocate of career and technical education CTE. She believes that not all students have the desire to go to a 4-year college and may instead prefer a technical education. Her objective as an academic counselor is to help students plan the college or career path that allows them to reach their post high school goals.