College & Beyond Sage

This page is intended to be a guide for current families as to what to expect as their student progresses through the high school years at Sage, and what steps we are taking to prepare your student for the college application process in their senior year.

What is the Sage School philosophy on college?
A Sage School education has consistently led to a college education for our alumni over the past decade, and will continue to do so into the future. In a time when the news about college is not always positive—admissions bribery scandals, ever rising tuition costs, and even some colleges struggling to fill their first-year classes—The Sage School continues to believe firmly in the value of a college education for our graduates.

This is not to say that a four-year degree at a liberal arts college or state university is right for everyone. While that has been the norm for Sage graduates, other have pursued vocational training, associates’ degrees, or other forms of post-secondary education. Above all, we hope that students’ time at The Sage School has given them insight into themselves, their skills, and their interests, and is a springboard into lifetime of learning.

What kind of preparation for applying to college can my student expect at The Sage School?
In short, a lot. Much of the information contained below is also available in a booklet called The Sage School College Playbook, which can be acquired from our college counselor or at our yearly College Information Night.

9th Grade

9th grade should be a time in which students’ main focus on honing their academic habits and skills and growing their senses of themselves. It’s a great time to pursue an Independent Study if one hasn’t before (or continue engaging in Independent Studies). 9th graders do have the opportunity to take the (P)SAT in order to gain exposure and practice with standardized tests.

If 9th grade students want to begin casually looking into college, that’s great. This can take the form of stopping by a college campus while traveling, going on college visits with older siblings, talking to trusted adults about their own college experiences, and/or identifying academic and extracurricular interests that one might pursue in college.

10th Grade

It is imperative that students in 10th grade continue to do their best in their academic classes and maximize the opportunities available to them both in and out of school. Participating in extracurriculars and perhaps getting a job are good ways to learn time management, explore interests, meet people, and develop skills.

The Sage School formally structures the following activities available to 10th graders:

  • Visits to campus from college and universities admissions officers
  • (P)SAT
  • Spring “College Tour” Field Study, which may happen in 10th grade or in 11th.

11th Grade

11th grade is often when the college application process gains some urgency for students and families. Everything that was true for 10th graders (above) remains so in 11th grade. Being an active and engaged member of one’s school and community is a central theme that college admissions offices are looking for in applicants. The 11th-grade “to-do” list includes the following:

  • Generate a tentative application list based on visits from college representatives, the Spring “College Tour” Field Study, online research, and talking to friends and family members. —Once this list exists, finding out more about a school’s admission requirements is an important next step.
  • Consider a family/personal college tour over a school break. Getting on campus is a great way to get a feel for an institution.
  • Prepare for college entrance exam (ACT and/or SAT). A great way to do this is by taking Nathan’s ACT/SAT prep class during Friday afternoons during the spring trimester.
  • Attend the winter College Information Night talk by Sage college counselor Nathan, along with your parents.

12th Grade

It is finally time to submit real applications to real colleges and universities. The additional opportunities available to Sage seniors are:

  • Friday afternoon, two-hour college counseling course with Nathan.
  • Individual meetings with Nathan, ongoing and as needed.
  • Dedicated trip to the Boise College Fair in late October.
  • Local Scholarship Fair sponsored by the Blaine County Educational Foundation (this was new in 2019 and is open to younger students as well).
  • Support in Writing class in writing college essays and personal statements.


In our relatively short history, Sage School students have been accepted to 70 four-year colleges and universities in all geographic regions of the country as well as Canada. They have been accepted to small liberal arts schools, to medium and large universities, both private and public, and to schools that specialize in art and another that specializes in engineering. We have students who have studied teaching, art, philosophy, music, engineering, mathematics, business…the list is long and growing. For more information, please see the “College and Beyond Sage” page in “The Long Story.”