The sky’s the limit. Not only do we prepare our students academically for top colleges and universities, but we also guide them spiritually towards fulfilling God’s plan for their lives. SFC is proud to offer two full-time academic counselors, Steve Strimple and Nancy Olah. With a combined 40 years of experience in education and counseling, Steve and Nancy partner alongside parents and work diligently with each student, especially during their senior year, to walk them through the entire college planning, application, and selection process. Our philosophy is to find the “best fit” for each student. “It’s like Baskin-Robbins,” Nancy adds. “With so many flavors to choose from, students are sure to find a flavor they like.”
Laying the Groundwork
Rather than solely focusing on seniors, students are introduced to college counselors in the spring of their 8th grade year, thus beginning a personal relationship that will build through their high school years and culminate with graduation. “We strive to position students with the broadest possible range of choices when it comes time to apply for colleges,” says Steve. “With a low student-to-counselor ratio, we work closely with you and your family to help choose an appropriate course of study to build a quality transcript.” AP (Advanced Placement) and honors classes are offered in all core subjects, allowing students to earn college-credit for coursework.
Big Opportunities, Small Class Sizes
Each year, it’s becoming more and more competitive to get into college. Yet, SFC is coming off its best year ever with students and their acceptances. Our small class sizes (20 students on average), combined with a rigorous curriculum and plenty of extracurricular activities, help shape the type of well-rounded student that premiere colleges are seeking. This year, our 2011 graduating class received acceptance to 6 out of the 8 Ivy League schools, as well as multiple acceptances to Berkeley, Stanford, USC Film School, Fordham Playwriting School, Chapman Film School and Parsons School for Design. “But it’s not all about the Ivies,” Steve adds. “Our students find their fit at Christian colleges, the California State University system, the University of California schools, and out-of-state schools.” Steve emphasizes, “College is a match to be made, rather than a prize to be won. We trust that God will have a place for every student at SFC.”
Technology plays a vital role in the college navigation process. SFC offers an extensive web-based tool called Family Connection. Counselors, students and parents can use this tool to manage their college choices and application information. Students also can complete surveys that identify their learning style, major and career interests as well as research summer enrichment programs and scholarship opportunities. As effective college counselors, Steve and Nancy stay up-to-date on the latest trends in college admission by attending professional national and regional conferences and participating on college tours. Students and parents benefit through quarterly newsletters, evening workshops for every grade-level, and daily personal interaction.
Santa Fe’s reputation attracts representatives from the nation’s top colleges and universities. The counselors welcome over 50 colleges to the campus in the fall, and host a college fair in March and an application Case Studies event with over 90 colleges in May. “The number of college representatives visiting SFC has doubled in the last 3 years,” Nancy says, “indicating that colleges want our students. We have worked hard to develop and maintain a program that earns SFC students respect within the college community.” The college representatives share their college’s offerings in an effort to recruit our students. Visiting colleges include: Stanford University, Westmont College, Boston University, Northwestern University, University of Southern California, Point Loma Nazarene University and many more. “[The Spring college fair] was very informative,” said senior Matt Kirwan. “I looked at ASU, Oregon State, and a few other schools. It was really nice having them all on campus.”
Steve and Nancy keep an updated extensive database on private scholarships and match opportunities to deserving students. The 2011 graduating class received many 4-year scholarships, both academic and athletic. In fact, our 2011 class received $10 million in awarded scholarships, with 83% of graduates receiving merit-based scholarships. Go Eagles!
Students Speak Up
Class of 2011 Harvard-bound senior, Juliet Snyder comments, “I like how our college counselors will take the time to write personal recommendations. They actually care about us a lot.” Steve and Nancy feel it’s a privilege and blessing to convey the uniqueness of each student they serve. 2011 senior classman Andy Kramer adds, “They give us a binder with everything you need to complete a college application. They bring in speakers on how to write college essays and put on financial aid nights. They obviously want us to succeed.”
Onward and Upward
College counseling involves more than providing information, it’s about building a personal relationship with each student and their parents to ensure that each individual has the confidence and independence necessary to make the best college choice. Steve comments, “It’s an exciting process. We’re just glad to be along for the ride. Most importantly, our students learn to include God in this exciting process and listen to His direction.” SFC’s strong community of parents, faculty and staff is dedicated to preparing our students to become the Christian leaders of tomorrow. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For, I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
B.A.- UCSD. Major: Political Science. Minors: U.S. History and Philosophy
M.A.- Westminster Theological Seminary California
Teaching Credentials: Multiple Subject and English Single Subject
College Counseling Certificate from UCSD
NACAC, WACAC, and College Board memberships.
B.A. - UCLA. Major: History
M.A.- Pepperdine University. Education
M.A. - Grand Canyon University. Education Administration
College Counseling Certificate from UCSD
Administrator Certification (K-12): Association of Christian Schools International.
NACAC, WACAC and College Board memberships.
B.S. – Biola University, Major: Christian Education, Minor: Bible
M.S.- San Diego State University, Major: Counseling, Pupil Personnel Services Credential
Point Loma Nazarene University - California Single Subject Teaching Credential: Social Science
UCSD - College Counseling Certificate in Progress
Member of NACAC and WACAC
College Acceptances for the Class of 2012
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Our college counselors work closely with each family to help choose an appropriate course of study combining college prep, Honors and AP coursework to build a quality transcript. Then, they provide tools to help navigate the college application process so each family finds the right fit for each child.