College Counseling

At Elgin Academy taking learning personally defines our commitment to every student’s college search. Our college counselors help students identify and apply to colleges and universities that best match their needs and aspirations.

Elgin Academy graduates make discerning college choices based not only on prestige but also on personal fit. They enroll at a diverse array of colleges and universities nationwide and worldwide, equipped with the know-how and self-confidence that stems from coming of age in this individually attuned community. They go forth as productive, conscientious, and mindful young people who continue to hone their understanding of world and self—a lifelong process that stands as the abiding gift of an Elgin Academy education.  2020 College Profile

“Elgin Academy college counseling challenges our students to look beyond the obvious and find a college that is really right for them. Our graduates go off to many different types of colleges, nationally and internationally--big universities, small colleges, liberal arts schools, engineering schools, conservatories, and so on. I know of high schools where it seems all students go to the same two or three in-state schools.Rhonda Dwyer, parent

Program Overview

The foundation of our program is always the healthy relationships in our learning community that unites all students, teachers, parents, staff, and administrators. Students and their families get to know the college counseling team well as they go about their other roles in the Upper School. Our intentionally small-scaled class size means that teachers personally know their students, so they are in a position to write strong letters of recommendation for colleges and scholarships. Trust and rapport are at the heart of all these relationships.

Mr. Raffety and Mr. Sept took the stress out of applying to college. They took what could have been a complicated process and made it simple.Diego Medina ‘17

College counselors work with students and their families in an informal way during freshman and sophomore years to help students make class choices and to discuss potential colleges and careers. However, the college search truly takes off in February of junior year with an event called College Night for Juniors. Following this informative overview of the application process, counseling becomes very individualized. The counselors, working as a team, schedule an hour long meeting with each student and family to develop key criteria for the search, discuss college visits, and develop plans for testing, summer experiences and senior curriculum.

College counselor working with private high school student

It was so helpful to have Mr. Raffety and Mr. Sept be honest with me and help me determine if the colleges I was applying to were reach schools or safety schools or somewhere in between. That helped me know what was realistic for me in terms of acceptances.Leila Li ‘17, international Student

A weekly college counseling workshop for students begins in February of junior year and continues into the senior year. During this time, students are supported as they complete applications, write essay responses, determine testing timelines, and finalize other application related tasks. The college counselors serve as advocates, empowering students to drive their own college search as well as develop vital decision making and communication skills.

Most of my success during the college application process can be attributed to the dedication and precision of my college counsellors, Mr. Sept and Mr. Raffety. They knew my career goals and my college aspirations, and they helped determine the right college-preparatory curriculum for me so I might achieve those goals. Mustafa Alimumal ‘15, Northwestern University '19

Elgin Academy’s College Counseling Team


Doug Sept

Doug Sept

Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs

Professional groups:

  • National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC)
  • Illinois Association for College Admission Counseling (IACAC)

Noteworthy conferences:

  • The Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS)
  • National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)



Dan Raffety

Dan Raffety

Director of College Counseling, Upper School Faculty

Professional groups:

  • National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC)
  • Illinois Association for College Admission Counseling (IACAC)

Noteworthy Conferences:

  • NACAC National Conference
  • IACAC State Conference
  • Decemberfest 2016 (CalTech, Occidental College, Pomona College, Claremont McKenna College, Pitzer College, Scripps College, Whittier College, University of Redlands)
  • Coast to Coast Counselor’s Breakfast (Harvard, Stanford, Georgetown, Duke, University of Pennsylvania)
  • Great Lakes College Association, Associated Colleges of the Midwest.



Kelley Flugal

Kelley Fluegel

Registrar, Upper School Administrative Assistant



Four-Year College Counseling Timeline