Elgin Academy

Preschool through grade 12 on the hill in downtown Elgin.

taking learning personally

The intent of this blog is to provide a format for various members of the Elgin Academy community to showcase our unique learning environment. We hope you enjoy these stories.


The 2016 - 2017 College Report

by Doug Sept, Director of the Upper School and Director of College Counseling

As we approach the end of another school year, it is a perfect time to pay tribute to the Class of 2017 and the fruitful work that they have done in preparing for the next stages of their education. These thirty-eight students submitted a combined total of 326 applications to a variety of colleges and universities across the nation. Each of those applications included a transcript, standardized test results, thoughtful personal essays, and genuine faculty recommendation letters.

As a result, these students were accepted to 219 of those schools, or 67%. When I look back over the past five years, this acceptance rate is slightly above average, although we usually fall close to the ⅔ mark each year. Some may wonder why the acceptance rate is not higher, and our philosophy is that we want our students to take risks and apply to schools with high admission standards and low acceptance rates, and we do so with the knowledge that there will likely be some rejection letters as a result. These "reach" and "far reach" schools often have single-digit or under twenty percent acceptance rate. In schools of this caliber, our seniors had an acceptance rate of well over 33%.

We also encouraged each student to explore schools that are "target" and even "safety" schools. This increases the number and diversity of options for each student. When it came time for all seniors to declare their final school of choice, they had taken into account such factors as majors and programs, distance from home, setting, campus community, school size, and cost. While many of these items can be quantified, most seniors and graduates will still say that their final selection also includes an unquantifiable "feel" that they experienced while visiting campus.

Our senior class was also very successful in being awarded merit-aid, which are scholarships given on the basis of academic performance. As of now, this class has received over five million dollars in merit-based offers, and many of our graduates will be attending their colleges for a fraction of the advertised tuition. We collect this data each year with a goal of tracking financial aid patterns at different schools so that we can continue to support future seniors in determining where they wish to apply.

There are many people who take part in helping support our seniors each year achieve their goals. The faculty in all divisions have guided this class through numerous years at EA, helping them grow academically and discover passions through class and co-curricular activities, providing leadership opportunities along the way. These experiences have allowed the Upper School faculty to write personal letters of recommendation in support of our students. Dan Raffety, in his role as college counselor, has personally guided each senior through the process, offering sage advice while allowing the students to take the reigns of their own futures. Kelley Fluegel has provided a key point of communication with the colleges. In her role as registrar, she is the person through which all of the supporting materials for each of these 326 applications has passed. The parents have had perhaps the most difficult role, one that involves helping their children explore passions and dreams knowing that the end result is that they are leaving home. And finally, I wish to recognize the Class of 2017, who so admirably blazed the thirty-eight trails that are now leading away from Elgin Academy with the understanding that they have a home-base on our campus for a lifetime.

Here are the list of the luckiest colleges and universities - the ones that are welcoming one or more members of the Class of 2017 to their campuses!

American University

California Polytechnic State

Carroll University

Columbia College - Chicago

Dickinson College

Eckerd College (2 students)

Elgin Community College

Elmhurst College

Illinois Wesleyan University

Iowa State University

Ithaca College

Kansas State University

Lehigh University

Marquette University

Miami University (OH)

New York University

Oglethorpe University

Purdue University

Rochester Institute of Technology

St. Olaf College

University of Alabama

University of California, Santa Barbara

University of Denver

University of Florida

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (3 students)

University of Kentucky

University of Louisville

University of Miami (FL)

University of Notre Dame

University of Richmond

University of San Diego

University of Tampa

University of Washington

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Wake Forest University




Past Blog Posts

I Was On My Own

This week's post features an original story by 7th grader Sophie Shanae Gould Dulabaum. Her narrative was inspired by artwork she studied in a social studies unit on Westward Expansion.

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A Letter to the President

by Tommy Guyett, Jr.

Last fall, prior to the Presidential election, our seventh graders participated in the "Letter to the Next President" program sponsored by the National Writing Project. The letters were penned before November 8th as a way to encourage students to participate in the national dialogue. Our students did a great a great job of articulating their positions on issues of concern to them. We will share these letters in this blog from time to time. Today, we feature Tommy Guyett Jr.'s letter.

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Northwestern University Model United Nations Review

by Nadine Kademoglou

Senior Nadine Kademoglou recently attended the Northwestern University Model United Nations (NUMUN) simulation. Nadine volunteered to be part of the Press Corps, rather than play the role of a UN delegate. The Press Corps functions as a global journalistic body reporting on the discussions that take place during the mock conference. Although the stories they write are completely fictional, they play an important role in the transfer of information between delegates in the simulation. We thought you would enjoy seeing the articles written by Nadine for the mock newspaper, The NUMUN Review.

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The 1990 Iditarod

by Elle Kihnke

Recently, fifth grade English students explored, read, and wrote a personal narrative essay about the Iditarod Sled Dog Race that takes place every year in March. The race, known as "The Last Great Race," begins in Anchorage, Alaska the first Saturday of March and lasts up to 2 weeks. The students created a fictional account of their own Iditarod experience where they became the "musher." They used facts about the race to make their narratives more believable, accurate, and also creative. To help readers "see" and better understand their incredible Iditarod experience, students were encouraged to use vivid adjectives and exciting verbs along with helpful/informative details. We thought you'd like to see a sample essay. The one below is by Elle Kihnke.

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Walk for Water

By Maisy Feeley '17

The Elgin Academy Environmental Club is hosting a Walk for Water on Friday, May 12th! This will consist of a 3.5 mile walk while carrying approximately 20 pounds (using backpacks, books, etc) to mimic the walks taken by nearly a billion people each day just to have access to clean water. Anyone in the EA community can join, and our group will meet in the Edward's Hall Learning Center and proceed from Elgin Academy to walk along the Fox River at around 3-3:15 after school.

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