Six questions about Upper School

Posted by Kelly Emerson - 06 February, 2017

By Kelly Emerson, Associate Director of Admissions

Here are the questions we are most often asked about Randolph's high school (Upper School) program.  We'd like to provide some answers and invite you to visit, tour, and ask any questions of your own!  Please check the Admissions Events page or contact us via email or call 256-799-6103.

Where do Randolph students go to college and how do we help them? How many receive scholarship offers?

Starting in 9th grade, students are thinking about and planning for college, and by the time they make their applications they have the skills and attitudes to flourish in higher education. Two full-time college counselors work with all juniors and seniors to plan for the college application and selection process. Every senior meets individually with his or her college counselor. For some, this could add up to 50 hours of consultation.

We celebrate the college successes of the Class of 2016. Our 101 seniors made more than 500 applications to colleges and universities across this country, and in Canada. Fifty-four students will remain in-state at 10 different institutions, 43 will attend 37 different colleges located in 19 states, three plan to take a gap year, and one student is pursuing a musical career.

Our students received hundreds of scholarship and financial aid offers from colleges all over the country. Every student who sought merit-based aid received it.

To see a list of college acceptances and matriculations, and learn more about our college counseling office, please visit this page and download the School Profile.

You can also follow the College Counseling Office on Twitter, @RandolphCCO.

How many students in a class or in a grade?

In the 2016-17 school year there are 354 students in the Upper School. Our average section size for grades 9-12 is 14, with the largest class being 20.

Our Head of Upper School recently shared these scenes of Upper School life in a parent newsletter. You can connect with him on Twiiter @rmliese.

Do you have a strings program?

We do not have a strings program. We have a fantastic band and choral program. String players are encouraged to participate in the Huntsville Youth Symphony program. There may be opportunities for some string players to perform with the Upper School Concert Band, depending on instrument and skill level. On occasion, there our additional opportunities for string players to perform in the pit orchestra of our musical productions as well as small chamber ensembles.

What does the Upper School curriculum look like? What are the graduation requirements?

One aspect of being an independent school is that our faculty write and develop our own curriculum. We are not bound by state standards or the Common Core. We deliver a program that exceeds these standards. Student performance on national exams shows that our students consistently outperform local and national averages. Our AP results when benchmarked against peer independent schools also show this.

Our students do a lot of hands-on work, writing, and independent research in all disciplines.

Here is our course catalog and if you want to really dig into the curriculum, you may browse our K-12 curriculum map, still and always a work in progress.

Beyond our graduation requirements, which assume that all students are college bound, college counselors, advisors and deans work with students to make course selections that are appropriate to their individual strengths and interests, while demonstrating an optimal level of challenge.

Here are three perspectives on the Randolph Upper School experience, one from a student, two from parents, one local, one moving to Huntsville from another state.

What sports do you offer? What are the rules about eligibility?

Randolph offers 16 sports, including bowling, dance, and competitive cheer, plus a club lacrosse team. We have 26 varsity teams and 75% of our Upper School students participate in at least one sport. You can find more information here. In the senior class, 38% of the class participate in at least one sport. As a member of AHSAA, Randolph follows their rules regarding eligibility, which impact students from 7th grade and above. Please contact our Athletics Office with any specific questions about the program or your child's eligibility.

Advisory? What is that?

Our advisory program starts in 5th grade and is one of the ways we endeavor to know each student well. In the Upper School, students are in advisory groups of about 10 and stay with the same advisor throughout their Upper School career. Students check in with their advisors daily for attendance, news, and announcements, and have a longer weekly meeting for discussions about self, society, and community. You can read more about how this program is being developed here.

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Topics: admissions, Admissions, advisory, bands, college, curriculum, graduation, music, new students, Upper School


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