To Be, Rather Than to Seem

College Counseling & Guidance

College Counseling

One-hundred percent of Academy graduates matriculate into college. In addition, in the past several years, the senior classes have each earned an average of $13 million in scholarships. As a college preparatory school, the Academy of the Holy Names encourages each student to seek a college or university where she can be challenged to reach her potential and be successful both academically and personally. The search for the right college or university involves the need to look at the values, strengths and goals of each young woman. While the college counselors suggest schools which are appropriate to the student’s needs and abilities, the decision on where to apply and where the student ultimately enrolls rests with the student and her parents. The College Counseling Department will provide the student with the necessary support and assistance to be successful throughout the college planning process. Elements of the college planning process begin as early as the 9th-grade year.

The college counselors welcome all phone calls and they are available for individual meetings by appointment. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the college counseling department's resources.

The Academy of the Holy Names views higher education as further preparation for life. Though still not the "real world," college gives students a broader arena in which to continue maturing. The search for the right college or university involves the need to look at the values, strengths and goals of each young woman.

  • Mrs. Darcy Dwyer works with students in grades 11 and 12 with last names beginning with A-L. Mrs. Dwyer may be reached at extension 244, or by email at
  • Ms. Kerry Keegan works with students in grades 11 and 12 with last names beginning with M-Z. Ms. Keegan may be reached at extension 247, or by email at
  • Mrs. Athena Dicus works with students in grades 9 and 10. Mrs. Dicus may be reached at extension 351, or by email at

College Process by Year

Freshman Year

  • Practice ACT administered
  • ACT results returned
  • Small group meetings re: time management, GPA, importance of academics early in high school career
  • Students are encouraged to explore and pursue interests outside of academics for a richer high school experience.
  • Curriculum meeting for freshmen (includes course selection for sophomore year)
  • Introduction to Naviance – Begin building activity resume for college applications
  • Read for enjoyment … avid readers perform best on standardized testing.
  • Partake in activities such as community service, sports or hobbies for enrichment.

Sophomore Year

  • PSAT administered
  • Small group meetings to address
  • PSAT results returned
  • Guest speakers address college-related topics such as best “fit” and setting yourself apart in the admission process (open to sophomores and their parents).
  • Curriculum meeting with sophomores (includes course selection for junior year)
  • Coffees with sophomore parents to address curriculum and preparation for college
  • Mandatory one-on-one meeting with student and college counselor to begin college planning process
  • Update activity resume in Naviance, introduction to Naviance college search tools, scholarship search and graphs to gage admission potential
  • Begin preparing for taking the PSAT in October (read, take practice tests, study vocabulary, brush up on math skills. The PSAT is good practice and a good predictor for the SAT.).
  • Begin visiting colleges with an open mind to start finding the right fit. Avoid only visiting schools with name recognition or where your friends are looking.
  • Participate in an activity for enrichment where you are honing an interest or skill.

Junior Year

  • Visits to AHN by over 100 college representatives
  • Presentation by college counselor on the PSAT
  • PSAT administered
  • Bay Area Association of Independent Schools College Fair - This fair is hosted by AHN and all of the other private high schools in the Tampa Bay area
  • Small group meetings on choosing a college, best fit, finding one’s passion, campus visits
  • November College Planning Night - College Directors of Admission present information for juniors and parents regarding college planning, parents receive their Naviance accounts
  • PSAT results returned
  • Visit colleges
  • Annual Case Studies Program - Mock admission panel and college fair with 60 Deans of Admission from around the country. Students and parents participate.
  • Submit Parent Questionnaire
  • Submit Junior Questionnaire
  • College Counselor meets individually with juniors and parents (These appointments may be scheduled through the end of April.)
  • Register for SAT and ACT
  • College Planning Retreat for Juniors - Panel of experts conduct workshops with students on essay writing, choosing a college, the college interview, etc.
  • Curriculum meeting with students regarding course selection for senior year
  • Coffees with Parents – Course curriculum, college counseling calendar, etc…
  • March - Activity Resume due
  • College Essay Writing Workshops
  • Register for SAT and ACT
  • First college essays due
  • Visit colleges
  • Register with NCAA Eligibility Center
  • Advanced Placement exams
  • Request letters of recommendation from teachers, coaches, moderators, employers
  • Take SAT, SAT subject tests, and/or ACT
  • Create Common Application and/or Coalition Application account

  • Visit colleges
  • Firm up final list of colleges
  • Update Activity Resume
  • Work on college essays
  • Engage in an activity that takes your interest or hobby to the next level, shows growth

Senior Year

  • Senior College Night - Review of the college application and admission process, Deans of Admission present
  • Common Application workshops
  • College representatives visit AHN throughout the fall semester
  • September 15 - application deadline for all Florida public university applications
  • Register for SAT, SAT subject tests, ACT
  • October - Early Decision/Early Action applications due
  • Bay Area Association of Independent Schools College Fair
  • December 1- application deadline for ALL applications
  • Register for the Florida Bright Futures Program
  • Financial Aid Workshop for parents
  • File FAFSA and all other financial-aid paper work

  • Hand in all documentation for Honors Convocation (award letters, college acceptance letters, and scholarship award letters)
  • May 1 - Commit to school of choice
  • Advanced Placement Exams
  • Honors Convocation
  • Graduation
  • Final AHN transcript sent to your college of choice
  • Florida Department of Education sends you notification of Florida Bright Futures Scholarship status

From the Counselors


The High School Guidance Department at the Academy of the Holy Names strives to address the whole person—spiritually, socially, emotionally and academically. The guidance program is designed to meet the need of the students in a developmental approach over four years of high school. Through small-group and individual guidance sessions, students are assisted in building a system of values and decision-making processes which provide the foundation for personal choices, career search and college selection.

There are two personal counselors for the high school division, Guidance Department Chair Sister Mary Glavin, SNJM, and Emily Pantelis (A'07). The counselors meet with students individually as well as in groups. Sister Mary and Ms. Pantelis have both had a myriad of experiences in their field and consider it a blessing to serve in the high school division at the Academy. Their open-door policy allows them to assist students in dealing with personal, social and academic needs and also to be available to parents and teachers.

Sister Mary councils all freshmen and sophomore students, and Ms. Pantelis councils all junior and senior students. Sister Mary may be reached at extension 290, or by email at; and Ms. Pantelis may be reached at extension 254, or by email at

Learning Resource Specialists

Ms. Olivia Martinez A’10 and Dr. Julie Omodio-Griess, Ph.D. are the learning resource specialists for students in grades 9-12. Our specialists act as advocates to ensure students with disabilities are able to access the academic content in the classroom and demonstrate learning. They provide academic support to students at the Academy through classroom, small group and individual instruction. They also provide families with referrals to resources in the community to identify specific learning needs and further support student achievement.

Ms. Martinez services students whose last names begin with A-I, and Dr. Griess serves students whose last names begin with J-Z. Ms. Martinez and Dr. Griess are available to meet with parents regarding their child’s academic success. Ms. Martinez may be reached at extension 415, or by email at; and Dr. Griess may be reached at extension 245, or by email at





The Academy of the Holy names is accredited by AdvancED, the Florida Council of Independent Schools, the Florida Catholic Conference and the Florida Kindergarten Council.