College Prep Events & Resources for Mercer Island Students & Families

September 25, 2017 | by Julia Hess

Explore +

School’s back in full session, and this fall, many Mercer Island seniors and their families are preparing for their next steps after high school. For juniors, it’s also time to start preparing and gearing up for the ACT or SAT. Freshman and sophomores may also be starting to explore career interests more deeply along with future college possibilities.

As a community with a strong focus on education, Mercer Island has a great line-up of upcoming events geared toward helping high school students and parents gather information and prepare for college. There are also numerous local and region-wide organizations that offer college planning services and one-on-one consulting for college-bound students, as well as for students considering a gap year and other options.

If you are starting to think about life beyond high school for your child, your school counselor and PTA are your best resources to start. We’ve also provided this round-up of 2017-2018 events and additional college preparatory resources below:

Mercer Island Parent Edge Events at the Library

Co-sponsored by Mercer Island Parent Edge and the Mercer Island Library, the following events are part of the King County Library System’s “Life After High School” series. These events are meant to help students and their parents understand the college application process, answer questions they may have about college, and feel more confident about understanding financial aid. All events are held at the Mercer Island Library, free to attend, and open to parents and students of all ages.

Ivory Tower Film Screening and Panel Discussion
Wednesday, September 27, 6:30 pm 
Watch portions of Ivory Tower, a documentary that looks at the cost and value of a college education, and stay for a discussion on topics from the film. A panel including college counselors, parents, and a student activist will answer questions about choosing a college and financing a college education.

“Finding the Right Colleges for You” with Tom Barry, CollegeWise
Tuesday, October 3, 7 pm

How can you identify schools where you will be happiest and most successful? This workshop teaches you how to be a savvy college shopper. CollegeWise and Tom Barry will share ways to recognize a good college fit, discuss factors to consider, and offer insights from students flourishing at their chosen colleges.

“Pros and Cons of Community Colleges: The Last College Bargain” with Dr. Jonathan Brown
Tuesday, October 17, 7 pm

Dr. Brown has worked for both four-year universities and community colleges. He uses history and current data to challenge the societal myths about community college. Come to this workshop to learn all about the pros and cons to community college!

“The Scoop of Financial Aid – Don’t Pay Full Price” with Peg Keough, Way to the Quad
Tuesday, October 24, 7 pm

Colleges and universities offer significant discounts and scholarships. Did you know that an in-state public university could cost more than a private institution? Come to this workshop to learn the about the nuts and bolts of financing college, the financial aid application process, sources of aid, and how to find out if you are eligible for aid.

Mercer Island High School College Night Series

The Mercer Island High School (MIHS) will be hosting several College Night events open to MIHS students and parents. Each College Night is divided into two parts – at 6 pm, MIHS Counselors will present a 30-minute optional Naviance Tutorial, MIHS’ web-based service for career exploration and the college admission process, and at 6:30 pm, the evening’s topic will begin. All events are held at the MIHS Auditorium.

Senior Application Process
Monday, September 18, 6:30 pm
(If you were unable to attend this presentation, you can still watch the video presentation here.)
Seniors and parents of seniors are strongly encouraged to attend the first of our PTSA’s College Night Series. MIHS Counselors will present a PowerPoint with handouts regarding the in-house process of gathering all pertinent information for college applications. In-school deadlines will also be noted. This is an important night for families of students who are planning to attend a four-year college in the fall of 2018. Seniors will receive this information/presentation in their English classes in September, but it is always beneficial for students and parents to hear the same information. Question and answer time will allow for discussions about this sometimes confusing process.

Financing the College Education
Tuesday, October 10, 6:30 pm

Learn about several helpful methods to finance your student’s college education in addition to financial aid. Also, learn about the financial aid application process and about methodologies used in determining financial need. Information about how to maximize your opportunity for college financial aid as well as tips for financial planning will be presented. Guest speakers will be in attendance.

College Preparation and Selection Process
Wednesday, January 10, 6:30 pm

This seminar will provide basic information and is particularly geared to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors and their parents. It will cover the overall college preparation and selection process. Get a roadmap for what your student needs to be doing now!
Learn more >>

Mock SAT/ACT Events on Mercer Island

Hosted by the MIHS PTSA, these mock tests are offered as an option to the student body to try out and practice these assessments in an environment where the scores don’t matter for college entry. They are administered by Princeton Review in a test-taking setting that exactly mimics the reality of an ACT or SAT test. A follow-up review session is offered after each test to go over your student’s results.

Each Mock SAT/ACT test is $30 for pre-registration and $40 for the day-of registration. All proceeds go towards the MIHS PTSA Post-Graduation Senior Party.

Test and Review Location: All tests take place in the MIHS Upper Commons. Student and parent review sessions are held from 6:30 – 8:30 pm in the MIHS Library.

2017-2018 Mock ACT/SAT Dates: 

  • Mock ACT – Saturday, October 14 – 8 am to 1 pm
  • Mock SAT – Saturday, November 18 – 8 am to 1 pm
  • Mock ACT – Saturday, January 27 – 8 am to 1 pm
  • Mock SAT – Saturday, February 24, 8 am to 1 pm
  • Mock ACT – Saturday, March 24 – 8 am to 1 pm

Learn more information about how to sign up on the MIHS PTSA website>>

Local & Greater Seattle Independent College Consultants & Organizations

For a more individualized approach to college counseling, college advisement centers and one-on-one consultants can support your student throughout the entire application process. These independent counselors have years of experience in the field of academic advisement and can be an excellent resource or a unique perspective on the process. Here are several organizations on Mercer Island and in the Greater Seattle area:


Started by Bob Dannenhold, Collegeology is a college advising team that tailors their advisement to each student’s interests and goals as related to higher education. Collegeology offers college advising packages that help students who are just beginning the college search process, and they also provide a step-by-step handbook along with regular meetings with the student. They also offer gap year consulting and hourly consultations on college transfers, high school placements, graduate school advising, and other individualized services.
Learn more >>


With a location in Bellevue, Collegewise has a variety of services available for students and their parents at any point in the application process. Collegewise offers hourly consultation appointments, comprehensive college admissions counseling, essay reviewing and proofreading services, and even a Jumpstart program for students in grades 8th – 10th who want to get a head start on the college admissions process.
Learn more >>

College Insight Pros

College Insight specializes in personal and powerful college admissions support. They support students from grades 8-12 in academic advising, resume building, and applying to colleges. Their services include academic advising, group sessions and classes, college essay workshops, and much more. They also offer advice on college admissions, paying for college, and student loans.
Learn more >>

College Planning Help

Claire Nold-Glaser has been a college counselor since 1994, helping students identify a successful post-high school plan. Through College Planning Help, Claire offers two packages for students: a comprehensive package that helps students and their parents from college planning to college decision, or a 10-hour package of customized consultation.
Learn more >>

Crystal Clear College Planning

Crystal Clear College Planning provides coaching with a unique angle of providing advice on financial positioning for college. Their services also include student positioning, advice on processing FAFSA and other forms, essay coaching, and SAT/ACT advisement. Added bonus: They have free college planning webinars for students and parents, as well as classes at local libraries in the Greater Seattle area.
Learn more >>

MI College Support

Joan Franklin has had a long career in a variety of educational, healthcare and mental health fields relevant to the process of counseling students about college, and MI College Support is her independent counseling service. Her services are designed to help each student discover his or her unique strengths and interests to find the best fit college, stay focused in a timely manner throughout each step of the planning, application, and interview process, and to take the stress out of this sometimes overwhelming process.
Learn more >>

PGL College Planning

Paige Linton has spent the last twenty years following her passion for K-12 education, advocating for students in the public school system throughout King County. Through PGL College Planning, Paige provides the following services: advice on college selection, application guidance, essay review, test preparation, financial aid advising, resume assistance, interviewing skills, campus tours, and scheduled visits. She also offers hourly consultation or service packages.
Learn more >>

Additional Helpful Links

Here are some additional resources and pages you may want to bookmark, including the MIHS college rep visits schedule, the MIHS PTSA online college prep guide, and the King County Library Systems’ upcoming “Life After High School” events and resources:

Have we missed a resource that you’ve found helpful? Please share with us in the comments!