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College Counseling

The best skill I learned from Siena has been self-advocacy. I’ve never been afraid to approach my professors and I’ve had a great relationship with all of them. —Alex Sklar, Class of 2020

Our Goal

Siena prepares its students for successful college matriculation in three key ways:
  • Siena's high school program is designed to develop the skills, abilities, and self-confidence that will successfully position them for college;
  • Siena individually supports each student and family with college counseling services; and
  • Siena administers the pre-ACT and ACT with individualized accommodations.


College Advising

Siena provides in-depth and individualized college advising. Our students explore a variety of colleges and universities that offer support for students with learning differences. Our goal is to assist each student in finding a good match with the proper support upon enrollment.

Highlights include:

  • A full-time counselor with in-depth knowledge of each student's learning style
  • A reflective and individualized approach that helps students drive their own process
  • Students and parents complete questionnaires to share their interests and goals
  • Each junior meets with the college counselor for an in-depth interview about their interests and goals
  • Each junior and their family meet with the college counselor to review the steps in the college application process and to discuss a list of recommended colleges
  • Monthly reminders sent to students about steps to complete
  • One-on-one sessions on applications
  • Juniors write their college essay in English 11
  • One-on-one meetings with students to discuss their impressions of colleges as they visit and consider their options
  • Small group meetings with representatives from a variety of colleges at Siena
  • Assistance from the College Counselor in arranging accommodations once the student has committed to their college of choice

To achieve the goal of removing stress from the process, the College Counselor:

  • coordinates the submission of letters of recommendation and transcripts for each student
  • works with each student to help them meet deadlines
  • works with each student to help them finalize any writing for their applications
  • arranges accommodations and advocates for all students as they register for the ACT

Programs for students and families include:

  • Financial aid information session
  • Mock admissions committee session
  • Overview of the college process session for 9th and 10th grade families
  • Session on updating neuropsychoeducational testing for 10th grade families
  • Session on how to prepare for the ACT for junior families

Click on the map to see the wide variety of colleges our students consider.


As part of the college application process, Siena recommends that its students take the ACT, which is accepted by all colleges and universities in the United States.

Siena familiarizes 11th graders with the format of the test; 11th grade students take a Mock ACT at Siena with accommodations

At the end of 11th grade, students may take the ACT at Siena. In order to receive accommodations on the ACT (extended time, large print type, etc.), students must have current psycho-educational testing with specific recommendations for standardized test accommodations.

More information is available at


To experience what it is like to set one’s own timeline for studying, the seniors complete a two-week pre-college experience in May immediately followed by a two-week exam period. During this independent study time, students complete projects set by their teachers, meet deadlines by submitting work online or in person and come to school for required individual meetings with their teachers. 

Parents are not expected to supervise the students. It is the students’ responsibility to complete the work, make contact with their teachers, etc. This independent study period was first implemented in May 2010 with the first graduating class and was extremely successful. Students are fully prepped before leaving and continue to have access to their teachers throughout the independent study period, using the scheduled class time as ‘office hours’. Only three months before going to college, this is an important opportunity for students to identify areas of strength and areas they need to work on to achieve at college. And each student meets with the College Counselor to reflect on their pre-college experience before graduation.

Students also have the option of completing dual enrollment courses at Montgomery College during their senior year. Students receive support from the College Counselor to enroll in classes and arrange their accommodations.

Alumni Success Story


Here are some resources that families may find useful as they apply for financial aid and scholarships.
  • Scholarships for Students with Learning Disabilities - This site collects opportunities specifically for students with learning disabilities. Several of these scholarships have deadlines of November 15. Let us know if you need help applying for scholarships.
  • Maryland Higher Education Commission - This site contains information on how to apply for scholarships specifically for students in Maryland.
  • WISER College Scholarship for Students with Learning Disabilities - Every year, WISER (Washington Independent Services for Educational Resources) supports students with learning disabilities by providing a scholarship to those who demonstrate their originality and leadership skills through community service. The deadline is in mid-March.
  • Best Scholarship Search Platforms- Guide created to review the best scholarship search platforms and instruct students on how to use them effectively to find as many opportunities as possible. These platforms compile large databases of available scholarships and provide filters to allow students to maximize their searches.

Micro Scholarships

  • Scholly - With Scholly students pay $2.99 for access to a mobile app that collects and delivers a list of scholarships targeted specifically for them. In total, this app has helped students win over $50 million in scholarships. While individuals can always sign up for the app, Scholly offers a discount for a bulk purchase. Please contact Mrs. Carpenter if you would be interested in signing up. If at least 10 people are interested, we will sign up for you.
  • Raise.Me - With Raise.Me students can now start earning scholarships for college as early as 9th grade. Log your personal achievements in high school for financial aid in college.
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