When you’re deciding on which high school is best for you, there can be a lot of questions. We’re here to help answer them, and we’ve created this comprehensive list of the questions we hear most frequently.
And while these will cover a lot of points you might be considering, there’s nothing like talking to someone about Mount Saintl Charles. Contact us any time by filling out an inquiry form, call our Admissions Director Susan Gasbarro at 401-769-0310, ext. 177 or email her at GasbarroS@mtstcharles.org. We can’t wait to talk to you!
Is attending Mount worth the investment?
By choosing Mount, students gain an outstanding foundation for college and schools recognize that our students are well-prepared for their future studies. In fact, a typical student earns back his/her Mount tuition in merit aid, essentially repaying their parents for investment in Mount Saint Charles.
Additionally, Mount Saint Charles students graduate from college in four years at TWICE the national rate, which equates to a year earlier than the average student nationally. Between merit aid and the cost savings of a year’s college tuition, we estimate that a student will save approximately $167,000 in college-related costs. Beyond the financials, Mount Saint Charles provides a student a whole-person formation that builds character for success in life as well as their drive and grit to manage their future. Any school can teach the basics to a student, but it is a rare school that provides personal and spiritual formation to the degree offered by Mount Saint Charles. Our students graduate with hard and soft skills that give them a formidable advantage in their future pursuits.
Does Mount provide financial assistance?
Our tradition as a school dates back to France, where founder Fr. Andre Coindre ministered to orphans and prisoners, the poorest of the poor. Mount Saint Charles has always sought to make a Mount education accessible for all those who seek it and draws students from all steps of the socioeconomic ladder, including many for whom the tuition is a significant sacrifice. With almost $800,000 awarded in financial assistance annually, nearly a third of our students receive some form of aid. We accomplish this through the generosity of our benefactors and alumni, many of whom received financial assistance themselves and have decided to “pay it forward” to current students.
Every application for financial assistance is considered independently, and families are encouraged to apply for aid if finances are a concern. Many of our discounts apply to all families – for instance, students who otherwise may not qualify can expect to receive a discount if there are multiple children from a single family in Catholic schools, or if the family faces high expenses from college or other needs. There are also scholarships available to all students that can offset the cost of a Mount Saint Charles education. Don’t assume that you won’t receive aid, and if the awarded aid isn’t enough to make Mount Saint Charles affordable, please ask. We are here to help! Many schools discount their tuition through the award of false “merit” awards to boost their enrollment. These discounts pull funds from programs that enhance the education of students. Mount Saint Charles is committed to a transparent cost that reflects the actual cost to educate students. Mount reserves most financial aid for high school students and has limited availability of funds at the middle school level.
Why Mount as opposed to local and free public options where my child may be able to take different types of classes?
We offer a traditional academic sequence. We do not see value in one-dimensional preparation, where a student might be strong in the STEM fields, but lack the ability to read effectively or write convincingly. Our students are being prepared for jobs that do not exist today; an educated individual in the future will possess skills necessary to learn and master new skills as the need arises.
The college admission process recognizes “core” courses, and our students greatly exceed the national average by taking four years of math and science, including physics, three years of world language, and theology courses steeped in philosophy that also reinforces content from history and English classes, while broadening the student’s spiritual formation. Our results validate this approach.
Our courses are also taught with intentionality toward academic formation, quality, depth and breath but most importantly – integrity. All our courses are college preparatory and our advanced courses mirror a college level experience. Courses at Mount are not intended to “pad” a transcript but to fully equip the student with knowledge and understanding at their level of academic achievement, therefore we are mindful of students’ course selection and balance of classes that will enhance the student’s education.
Why Mount as opposed to other private schools?
Every school has its own culture and the culture of persistence and grit at Mount are integral to the question of “Why Mount?”.
Our school history forms the foundation of our school where personal growth is emphasized. Mount is small enough to live out our mission while being able to maintain high level programming that allows for course choice.
Will my child make new friends if they are not from a local school?
Mount Saint Charles students come from more than 40 different communities and many students are the only student from their middle school attending Mount. With smaller class sizes, numerous clubs and activities, athletics, and service opportunities offered to students, as well as a culture of acceptance, students do get to know each other quickly and form lifelong friendships.
However, because of the distance many students live from each other, the first year can be a bit tricky at first. We understand this which is why we encourage students and families to hang in there. Many students feel the pull of their middle school friends. We encourage them (and you) to stay strong. If they are real friends, they will support your son’s or daughter’s choice to attend Mount.
My daughter or son wants to stay with their friends. How can I convince them that Mount is worth it?
The decision to go to Mount is indeed a family discussion, but more importantly, it’s a parental decision. We can give you statistics as to why it is worth it and how it plays out in the college admission process and thereafter, however, a Mount education is more than the college sticker on the back of a car.
Mount is about formation. We are about helping students be the best version of themselves they can be. We are about building and enhancing skills that will last a lifetime, not just a grade on a transcript. We know our graduates will change the world for the better. We care about and love our students. They are not just a number and don’t fall through the cracks. We truly know, value, and treasure each and every one of them as individuals with their own talents, needs, and goals.
I have heard all the students here are from wealthy backgrounds and my child will not fit in. Is this true?
With students coming from as many as 40 cities and towns, many students do not feel as if they fit in…at first.
But that feeling doesn’t last long. Mount has a wide variety of extracurricular activities and sports.Student interests become their common ground, not their economic backgrounds. We have students from a wide variety of ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds. What is most evident (and quickly becomes the most important thing here) is they are all members of the Mount community.
What is the hardest adjustment for students to make when they attend Mount?
It is not uncommon for students to underestimate the impact of the academic transition to Mount, however, students are supported by a structured freshman program that promotes common language and process among different classes. Teachers are available to assist students in their studies and we are equipped to promote the success of a variety of ability levels, from highly-accelerated and independent learners to average students who have not had the opportunity to develop their study skills. Students also receive support from their advisor teacher-counselor, and their school counselor, who monitors their success and provides necessary guidance. Both of these adults work with the student for all four years.
From a social standpoint, most students arrive at Mount Saint Charles from much smaller school settings. Managing that transition can be hard but students who successfully make the transition to Mount are better prepared for future change, e.g. college, workplace. We also hear of students who feel pressure to remain at their home schools. That is why we encourage all students to participate in extracurricular activities or athletics as a way to fully experience the Mount community. You’ll see that as students engage in activities, mature, and develop new work and social skills, new friendships blossom and any worry about being in a new school quickly fades.
What opportunities are there for my child to feel connected and to get involved? Does my child have to be an athlete?
There are many clubs and extracurricular activities for students to explore. Students may form a club with as few as three students, and Mount teachers regularly offer their time to moderate and advise these clubs.
There have been clubs as diverse as fishing club, crossword puzzle club, improv comedy club, chess club, anime club and fashion club. Additionally there are clubs tied more specifically to the curriculum such as after school band, STEM club, FIRST Robotics, drama club, and art club.
Is there a lot of homework?
Students at Mount Saint Charles make a significant commitment to homework beyond class time. Mount’s expectations are challenging but purposeful as it prepares students to be independent learners as they look toward college and the future.
Homework helps students enhance skills like organization, follow-through, integrity, grit, cooperation, balance, and time-management. The faculty view homework as a way for students to practice their skills, just as an athlete or a musician would practice to get better. At a time when many schools are abandoning homework, our expectations provide students with the opportunity to reinforce their learning, manage their time away from school, and work independently on their own.
How accessible are the faculty and staff?
Mount faculty and staff are here to support students before and after school and throughout the school day. Teachers utilize our student portal, a central hub for grades and class information, and are also available by email. If you were to walk through the school at 7:00 AM or even at 4:00 PM you would see students meeting with teachers and/or staff in classrooms, the library, the Counseling Center, and in the cafeteria. The school never sleeps as we try to keep the school open for the needs of the students. Teachers know that Mount students will ask to see them. Mount students are not afraid to approach teachers to make appointments because they know their teachers will make every reasonable effort to be available.
We also offer an After School Study Hour for students who want a more directed approach to organizing their homework, a quiet place to start homework, and some academic support from the staff member who supervises the hour.
Do students have the same counselor all four years of high school?
Yes – students have the same counselor for all four years of high school.
The idea behind this approach is to build a solid and trusting relationship between the School Counselor and the student. The Counselors work with each class a bit differently as they progress through high school.
Freshman students are transitioning so there is a lot of work done with helping freshmen understand the expectations, how to manage the curriculum and homework, new friends, and balancing in and out of school activities.
Ultimately, Counselors are there for students whenever they need help with academics, social, emotional or personal concerns or questions all throughout their four years. Given the Counselors know the students well having worked with them over the years, the college and career search is more effective. Knowing the student well helps with finding colleges that match the student’s interests and needs as well as writing an effective college recommendation.
Why do students wear uniforms?
Our students will enter a world which will have some standards of appropriate or professional dress. The ability to present oneself in a positive manner is critical, and is a skill taught through our uniform. Additionally, the school uniform places every student on a level playing field regarding fashion, and many students report that it reduces stress by relieving them of the concern over what to wear on a given day – including stress which arises from superficial judgment.
Members of the community continually recognize that Mount Saint Charles students can present themselves effectively. In fact, we regularly field requests from business owners who only want to hire Mounties. Why? They see that Mount students have learned to present themselves in a manner that is consistent with the situation.
How well do students do in college placement?
We are proud of our 100% graduation and college acceptance rate. Students apply to a variety of colleges and universities that meet their academic, geographic, social, and financial criteria. Our students do so well in the admission process and receive close to 20 million dollars in merit scholarship money that we celebrate every acceptance to every college with gusto, no matter where they choose to go.
We always have a few students each year who attend Ivy League institutions and we are thrilled for them if that’s really the right college for them. Our goal is to help each student find a college where they will challenge themselves, try something new, meet new people, extend their education by studying abroad, engage in an internship or co-op, or a mission trip. Our students have so much to offer – finding the right college for them to flourish is the goal.
How does Mount manage technology and the constant changes?
Our goal as a school community is to prepare our students for what awaits them, and the 21st Century has brought rapid technological advances that have changed our world, and education, forever. A person in today’s digital environment must be thoughtful, a critical thinker, a moral person and nimble, moving between various devices, platforms, software and forms of communication to truly prepare for the world ahead.
For those times when 1:1 computing (one device per student) is educationally useful, Mount Saint Charles Academy employs a “bring your own device,” or BYOD, model.
Why BYOD? The challenge of technology in a school setting is that it is a constantly changing landscape. New devices, new options, new forms of interconnection are created on almost a daily basis. We can be pulled in all directions by the latest fads. Numerous states and school districts have tried many forms of technology options. Whole state 1:1 programs for laptops or netbooks, iPad programs, and e-book adoptions have been touted by many, but these programs often fail to demonstrate results because they place the technology ahead of the educational process.
At Mount Saint Charles, our approach is always focused on our students, not the technology. Technology is simply a tool that lies at the service of their educational growth. It is important, then, that we provide students with the option of choosing the best learning devices for their needs. In situations where a single platform (e.g. Windows or PC) is needed, the school will provide resources for this instruction to occur.
How adaptable is Mount to changing educational environments?
The world of education is much different than it was only a few months ago. The coronavirus pandemic has completely altered how schools are teaching and how students are learning.
At Mount Saint Charles, we have led the way in this regard. We have received local and national attention for our response and have been called “a model for schools across the country.” Since becoming a completely online school in less than 72 hours, our students have only missed one day of class instruction and have maintained a level of participation in virtual school-wide activities on par with what we experience when events could be held in person.
We have done our best to recreate as much of the community experience as possible online through what we have branded as virtual formation. From hosting our traditional events such as sports awards night and end of year ceremonies to weekly webinar sessions covering a whole range of topics, students and faculty are engaged and thankful the sense of normalcy Mount has provided during these times.