College Preparation

Our TAC cares about us and looks out for us.

- Cadet Hoy Kelley, Class off 2021

Hargrave is first and foremost a college preparatory boarding school. Our objective is to develop our cadets into leaders of character prepared for lifelong success. A route to personal success oftentimes starts with attending a college or university. Our daily schedule and course offerings mirror closely that which Cadets will experience at most colleges and universities.

Our college counselor will chart an individual course for each Cadet to ensure opportunities are available upon graduation. This course is charted based on the Cadet's ability, desire and goals. Whether it be an NCAA Division I university or a small college that provides a specific curriculum, our program will facilitate achieving the Cadet's post graduate objectives.

With rigorous SAT/ACT preparation, Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment curriculum, Hargrave's academics will open doors not otherwise available. If the Cadet is willing to work hard and rise to the challenge, Hargrave faculty will work closely with them every step of the way.

2019 College Acceptances

Our College Placement Counselor works with our students throughout their
Hargrave career to assist them in finding their perfect fit college.

From the College Counselor

The college application and college selection process is a daunting task on the surface level for most families. However, at Hargrave, we do our part to make the process easier to understand which hopefully eliminates most of the stress involved. Freshman year we encourage our young men to utilize the internet to formulate a list of 25-30 potential colleges to begin the foundation of their college search. Naturally, like most young men entering high school, your Cadet probably doesn't have any idea what he wants to study in college and that is perfectly fine! By utilizing the internet to do some basic research on colleges and universities, your Cadet can get an idea of GPA requirements, SAT/ACT requirements, student body size, location, athletic offerings, etc. The main purpose of this is simply to remind our young men that everything matters once you start high school from academics, to athletics, to community service and beyond.

As our young men transition into their sophomore and junior years, if their interests change so will their college list. The biggest step in the process during this time is to improve their PSAT score as they take the PSAT/NMSQT as both sophomores and juniors. Scoring well on these standardized test can put your young man in the running for great scholarship opportunities. At the beginning of junior year, we encourage our Cadets to whittle down their college list from 25-30 schools to approximately 15 schools. This is not a requirement but more so a suggestion to help hone in on which school is truly the best fit.

Additionally, during junior year, it is vital to the college process that our young men understand the importance of doing well academically, since the only grades reflected on the application will be grades from junior year. During the spring of junior year, Cadets have the opportunity to take our SAT Prep course, which focuses on taking simulated practice tests and writing college application essays using prompts from the Common Application. In addition to learning about the college application process more in depth, students will learn how to communicate with admissions counselors at their dream school. Ideally, our juniors will visit at least one college campus during Spring Break and will schedule several college visits during the summer leading into their senior year. The May SAT is administered on campus at Hargrave and is mandatory for all juniors. This is extremely important because it creates a baseline in standardized testing for our young men. Our Cadets are encouraged to take the SAT multiple times.

As our young men enter their senior year, having taken the SAT and hopefully having visited 4-5 college campuse, now is the time to start submitting applications. The general suggestion is to apply to 4-7 schools with the following breakdown: Two dream/reach schools; Four realistic schools; One safety school. Based on the research our young men have done since their freshman year, they can categorize the schools they plan to apply to into these three categories. Essentially, over the course of their high school career, they will start with a list of 25-30 schools and ultimately apply to no more than seven. During the fall of their senior year, our young men will be required to take the October SAT and the December ACT.

During the fall, our senior class spends a great deal of time with the College Counselor to help determine which schools to apply to and which schools will be the best fit. Although there are many different personality tests that can take a student's answers, plug them into an algorithm and tell them which school to go to, our approach at Hargrave is to learn this information through one on one conversation. Since Hargrave is a small, all boys, military boarding school, the transition from here to a massive state school may not make sense for everyone; for others a bigger school may be the best fit. Ultimately, there are several factors that go into finding the right college, and the best way to figure out which fit is right is simply to engage in conversations.

Once admitted to a college or university, we work with our young men on finding scholarship opportunities through the individual schools as well as national scholarships like ROTC (Air Force, Army, Navy & Marines) to help defray some of the costs of college. Additionally, we can offer assistance with filling out FAFSA information once the FAFSA application opens in October.

It is important to remember that everything matters, and that colleges will request mid-year grades and final transcripts, which can influence their acceptance decision. It is important to finish strong and walk across the stage at graduation knowing that you've done the best you can and you've found the right fit for the next four years, which ultimately impacts the next 40 years!

College Acceptances

Over the past three years, our Cadets have earned 395 acceptances (and counting!) to over 200 different colleges and universities. Below is a list of the most popular colleges and universities of our recent graduates:

  • Hampden-Sydney College
  • Norwich University
  • The Citadel
  • Virginia Military Institute
  • Old Dominion University
  • Radford University
  • Virginia Tech
  • Hult International Business School
  • Bridgewater College
  • Ferrum College
  • Longwood University
  • Wingate University
  • University of North Carolina-Wilmington
  • University of Arizona
  • Randolph College
  • Liberty University
  • Campbell University
  • Arizona State University

Additionally, in the last three years, we have had multiple young men earn appointments to the United States Military Academy and the United States Naval Academy.

At the end of the day, the best thing we can do from a College Counseling standpoint at Hargrave is to give our students options. With our 100% college acceptance for graduating Seniors over the last decade, we are doing exactly that!

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