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When College is Just Around the Corner

The class of 2023 pose on the staircase wearing their future college logos.

At the Lycée Français de Chicago, LFC graduates apply to and attend universities all over the world, and our college counseling team is there to help support students explore the full range of options.

“There are so many wonderful post-secondary opportunities out there waiting to be discovered,” said the Director of College Counseling Lance Paulsen, who leads a dynamic team of three dedicated to helping LFC students attend their best-fit colleges. “Our goal is to give students the guidance and space they need to explore their interests and skills. It is such a pleasure to watch them discover their colleges of choice through this process.”

Thanks to a comprehensive curriculum developed by the college counseling team and the low student-to-counselor ratio, all high school students receive a robust, highly individualized four-year university preparation, focused on finding the right school for each student.

Starting in Grade 9, students begin to identify their strengths and abilities. In Grade 10, the counseling team helps students consider impactful extracurricular engagements, including week-long internships related to their areas of interest. In Grades 11 and 12, students begin to attend targeted college counseling classes, workshops and individual biweekly meetings to help students navigate the college application process, beginning to end. 

"I worked closely with my college counselor through bi-weekly meetings," said Tricia D., Class of 2023, now attending the University of Michigan. "These meetings consisted of discussing my college thoughts, reviewing my college essays and setting reasonable due dates for me to complete my college-related work in order to stay organized."

With an international community like LFC’s, it is not unusual for students to apply to colleges in three or four countries. For example, about half of the Class of 2023 headed to universities outside the United States, including the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada and France.

"The college counseling office at the LFC did a great job explaining all the nuances of applying to university abroad, so that by the time I was ready to send everything in, I felt confident about the process," said Annabel B., Class of 2023, now attending the London School of Economics.

The college counseling team prides itself on knowing every student’s story and helping them to achieve their best-fit school. 

“I love that at LFC, our students think more globally about the university options,” said Joëlle Parisot, College Counselor for France and Quebec. “It is a really healthy approach: they make a list of their must-haves–size, research opportunities, student life activities, location–research their options, and create a list of schools that offer those options.”

“Students know much more about themselves after the process,” agreed Anne Economakos, Assistant Director of College Counseling. “We want this to be a self-esteem building process, not a self-esteem depleting process.”

While students are at the center of the university prep process, the college counseling office complements its student-focused curriculum with opportunities for parents to engage in the process along the way through cafés, insights, meetings and newsletters.

"We want to make sure to give parents the opportunity to check in face-to-face with the counseling team and ask their burning questions," said Paulsen.