College Counseling

Starting sophomore year, you will begin work on finding a college that is the right fit for YOU. Our college counselors have a proven track record of success and will help you gain a strong understanding of your strengths, interests and values so that you will find a school that is the right fit for YOU and where YOU will thrive.
It’s natural to start with college matriculation when considering a college preparatory school. And while we’re confident that you’ll like what you find on our list (see below), we challenge you to reflect on what you’re looking for. Are you looking for the names of a couple of top ranked schools and the college that you or someone close to you attended? Then ask what you actually know about any given school and the students who are most successful in that environment. If you come up blank, never fear—most people do.

Enter the FVS college counseling team...

Guided Discovery

With decades of combined experience—both as college counselors AND as college admissions officers, our counselors are experts at helping students and colleges make a match that fits and that lasts so that you can focus on learning and won’t be left asking whether or not you made the right choice. Our counselors know our kids, but just as importantly, they know the colleges and spend countless hours researching and visiting schools, meeting with college reps, and getting to know the culture of schools around the world. Guidance is highly personal and attentive. And as a boarding school where teachers are also coaches and residence hall staff, the connections they make run deep and thus their understanding does too. Their process is student-centered, focused on finding fit, and spans three years. Here’s an overview:

Sophomore Year

Sophomores kick off their college search by taking self-inventory and encouraging you to question your assumptions. Our counselors help you understand yourself better so that you may chart a course and choose classes that will empower you to develop your passions, and support you as you explore new interests. You will be prompted to answer questions like:

“What is the best academic experience you’ve ever had?” This will help you define what kinds of learning environments you might thrive in. 

“Which are the colleges that you feel you know a lot about and what do you actually know about them?” There are more than 3000 schools in the U.S. alone, and this question sets the stage to keep an open mind. For many students, the school they choose is one that they may never have heard of. 

“If you could build it, describe your ideal college.” Indulging a bit of design thinking, you’ll define the characteristics and create a profile. Where is it and what does it look like? Is it like FVS or different and how? 2000 students or 20,000? Is it coed? What programs are strongest and how do the facilities support them? These questions will lead to more, but a clear picture will soon begin to emerge that will serve as a guide when you begin research the following year.

Junior Year

Each year at FVS is defined by a signature experience. Freshmen have Chapter One; sophomores enjoy a Western Immersion, and seniors have their capstone experience. For juniors, it’s the college search. The year is a deep dive into this process and counselors guide students and their parents in navigating the complex landscape of college admissions. They provide valuable insight and moral support, but also facilitate the process and keep things on track and on time. Here’s how the year looks:

  • Juniors attend a college fair in the fall. Nearly 200 colleges and universities are represented and this is a great time to speak with college reps and see if you can find that ideal college that you designed sophomore year. 
  • Workshops take place every other week throughout the spring. You’ll look at the college process timeline and dissect the SAT and ACT to develop a standardized testing plan. Discussions will include how colleges make admission decisions as well as how to research colleges and plan visits. You’ll also start working on the Common Application and begin to brainstorm ideas to answer the question that most vexes students: “What will I write about in my essay…”
  • Then it’s on to building lists. The goal is for each junior to identify a collection of schools for their initial list that fit their needs and represent a calculated range of likelihood and reach.
  • Throughout the school year, representatives from 75-100 colleges and universities visit the Fountain Valley campus. Students are encouraged to meet with representatives, learn about colleges and establish contact with an admission officer who may, one day, be reviewing that student’s application for admission.
  • In April, juniors enjoy an enlightening evening where they review and make admission decisions on mock college applications. Students are divided into small group “admission committees,” which are led by visiting admission officers from colleges and universities from around the country. There is spirited debate about which hypothetical candidate is admitted, giving juniors an idea of the nuanced factors that go into acceptance decisions.
  • During spring break and over the summer, juniors and their parents typically hit the road to see the schools on their list.

Senior Year

Throughout the fall semester of senior year, students meet with college counselors both individually and in small groups to finalize their college list, and to complete and submit their applications. Discussion topics include objective analysis and decision-making, as well as ways to maintain a healthy emotional balance. Counselors are also well-versed in the complexities of financial aid and help families explore different sources and options.

Technology and Test Prep

FVS students and their parents use the SCOIR College Network, which is an online, deep knowledge base that connects students, parents, counselors and colleges for a smooth admissions process. Twice each year, Fountain Valley offers optional six-week SAT and ACT test prep classes to assist students in maximizing their scores.

College Acceptances and Enrollment 2016-20

American University
Arizona State University
Auburn University
Austin Community College District
Babson College
Bard College Berlin
Barnard College
Bates College
Bethany College
Biola University
Boise State University
Boston College
Boston University
Bowdoin College
Bradley University
Brandeis University
California State University (San Bernardino)
Calvin University
Carleton College
Carnegie Mellon University
Carroll College
Case Western Reserve University
Chadron State College
Chapman University
Chatham University
Citadel Military College of South Carolina
Colby College
Colgate University
College for Creative Studies
Colorado College
Colorado Mountain College
Colorado School of Mines
Colorado State University (Fort Collins)
Columbia College (Hollywood)
Connecticut College
Creighton University
Culinary Institute of America
Dartmouth College
Davidson College
DePaul University
Drexel University
Earlham College
Elon University
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona Beach)
Emmanuel College
Emory University
Fort Lewis College
Frank Phillips College
Franklin University Switzerland
George Washington University
Georgia Institute of Technology
Gonzaga University
Hamilton College
Humboldt State University
Lafayette College
Lake Forest College
Laval University
Lehigh University
Lewis & Clark College
Linfield College
Macalester College
Marquette University
Maryland Institute College of Art
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Miami University (Ohio+A277)
Montana State University
Morrisville State College
Muhlenberg College
Naropa University
New York University
North Park University
Northeastern University
Northwestern University
Occidental College
Oglethorpe University
Parsons School of Design at The New School
Pennsylvania State University
Pitzer College
Pratt Community College
Princeton University
Purdue University
Quest University Canada
Quinnipiac University
Reed College
Regis University
Rochester Institute of Technology
Saint Edward's University
Saint John's University
Saint Mary's College of California
San Diego State University
Santa Clara University
Santa Monica College
Sarah Lawrence College
Savannah College of Art and Design
School of Visual Arts
Seattle University
Seton Hall University
Seton Hill University
Skidmore College
Smith College
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
Southern Methodist University
Stanford University
Syracuse University
Texas Christian University
Texas Tech University
The New School
The University of Alabama
The University of Edinburgh
The University of Tampa
Tufts University
Tulane University of Louisiana
University of California (Berkeley)
University of California (Los Angeles)
University of California (San Diego)
University of California (Santa Barbara)
University of California (Santa Cruz)
University of Chicago
University of Colorado (Colorado Springs)
University of Colorado Boulder
University of Connecticut
University of Denver
University of Hawaii at Manoa
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Kansas
University of Maryland (College Park)
University of Nebraska (Lincoln)
University of Nevada (Las Vegas)
University of Oklahoma
University of Oregon
University of Pennsylvania
University of Portland
University of Providence
University of Puget Sound
University of San Francisco
University of Southern California
University of Toronto
University of Utah
University of Vermont
University of Washington
University of Wisconsin (Madison)
University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
University of Wyoming
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Wake Forest University
Waseda University
Washington State University
Washington University in St Louis
Wellesley College
West Texas A & M University
West Virginia University
Western Colorado University
Wheaton College
Whitman College
Yale University
Yale-NUS College

Meet the College Office

List of 3 items.

  • Doug Badger P ’17 - Director of College Counseling

    Before coming to Fountain Valley in 2014, Mr. Badger spent more than 20 years working on college campuses, including 12 years in the Admissions Office at Middlebury College and five years as the Director of Admission at Grinnell College.
  • Lee Nuckolls — Associate Director of College Counseling

    Ms. Nuckolls arrived at FVS in 2016. She served as a college counselor at independent schools in both Atlanta and Salt Lake City for many years, and spent 11 years in the Admission Office at Washington University in St. Louis.
  • Vicki Sandoval P ’06, ’11 – College Office Assistant/Testing Coordinator

    For more than 20 years, Vicki has served the Fountain Valley College Office. In addition to sending and tracking applications, recommendations, and transcripts, Vicki coordinates all SAT, ACT, and AP testing on campus.

List of 1 items.


    We look forward to welcoming you to our stunning campus on 1,100 acres of prairie at the foot of Pikes Peak. 

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FVS is a private, college-preparatory, co-ed, day and boarding school for grades 9-12 in Colorado Springs.
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