BART is committed to preparing every student for college.
To date, 100% of BART graduates have been accepted into college. Click here for a list of colleges that have accepted our students.
College-Focused School Culture
BART students learn about college in their Collegiate Skills (CS) and academic classes, weekly community meetings, and field trips to colleges. Banners and bulletin boards in the school remind students that college is their next step after graduation. College Spirit Days and an in-house college fair, at which faculty and staff create displays and talk about the colleges they attended, are included in the school’s calendar of events.
Collegiate Skills Curriculum
In the middle school, the focus of our CS curriculum is placed on social and emotional skills in order to build a student’s academic and personal success. Middle school CS classes discuss the “idea” of college and identify possible career interests. High school CS classes explore a wide range of career clusters and how to identify a career that is consistent with one’s interests and personality. These CS classes shift towards understanding types of colleges, how to find the “right fit,” how to become a competitive applicant, and how to negotiate the financial aid process. Support and tutoring for the SAT and ACT college entrance exams is also included in the high school CS classes.
College Field Trips
BART students visit a wide range of college campuses. This helps to develop an understanding of the variety of colleges to consider. Most of these trips are day trips, but in upper grades there are also overnight trips to New York City-area colleges and Boston-area colleges. A student graduating from BART will have visited 12-15 college campuses, with the colleges ranging from a few hundred to 25,000 students, small liberal arts campuses to larger science-focused schools, art-focused colleges to pre-med schools, and rural to urban campuses.
College admissions representatives visit BART to meet with interested students and to hold information sessions that are open to all students in grades 11 and 12. For families, the College Office holds information sessions covering the college application process, financial aid, and BART senior year requirements. These sessions are held in the fall of both the junior and senior years. We also keep families informed about the variety of community-based college information sessions and programs offered in our area.
The Senior Year Experience
BART has 4 unique senior year graduation requirements: 1) take and pass a college course; 2) take and pass BART’s Senior Seminar; 3) complete an 80-hour internship; and 4) be accepted to college. The school provides bus passes for the duration of the senior year in order to help students travel to their college courses and internships. Additionally, seniors are dismissed 2 hours earlier than other BART students in order to allow them to make it to these commitments and in recognition of the fact that they are completing many hours of off-site learning during the year.
- College Course: In the fall, seniors are required to take a college course on a college campus in order to help get a feel for the differences between high school and college courses. The school guarantees at least one intro-level, credit-bearing college course while enrolled at BART and will cover the costs associated with this class. Some seniors choose to take multiple courses, earning free credits towards a college diploma. Advanced juniors may also take college courses on a college campus. BART students have completed courses at Williams College, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and Berkshire Community College.
- Internship: In the spring of their senior year, students complete an 80-hour, unpaid internship in a field matching their professional ambitions. At the conclusion of this internship, students will have learned about a profession, as well as how to dress for a professional workplace, succeed in a professional job interview, and write a resume and cover letter. BART students have interned at General Dynamics, MASS MoCA, Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, The Berkshire Museum, Barrington Stage Company, iBerkshires.com, Berkshire Health Systems, North County Veterinary Clinic, and many other area businesses.
- Senior Seminar: This seminar-style course is a structured and emotionally supportive space for students to work together on the business of finishing high school and preparing for what comes next. It provides instruction and support to the student when applying to a college, seeking financial aid, and preparing for the transition to college and adulthood.
College Office/Individual Counseling
Nationally, the average counselor-to-student ratio in high schools is 1:470. At BART, we have two full-time college counselors working with seniors daily on choosing a college, preparing a competitive application, seeking the best financial aid available (including scholarships), and overcoming any barriers to matriculation. We also offer one-on-one financial aid counseling for families. Our support extends beyond the student’s graduation from BART; we track alumni performance and remain in touch with students to offer support, particularly during the often-difficult first year of college.
College-Focused School Culture
Throughout the school, students in grades 6 through 12 know that their purpose is to study hard to prepare for college. Students learn about college in their collegiate skills and academic classes, weekly community meetings and field trips to colleges. Banners, bulletin boards and “college spirit” days remind students that college is their next step after graduation.
College Information Sessions
BART’s college and internship counselors arrange for college representatives to speak with all BART high school students about their programs. They also arrange field trips for BART students to college campuses, with each middle school grade visiting at least one college campus per year, and each high school grade visiting at least 4. BART hosts various college information events in the evenings for families, including tutorials in completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and signing up for a 529 college savings plan.
Nothing will prepare students better for college than experiencing a college course. All seniors are required to pass a college course on a college campus before graduating. Some seniors choose to take multiple courses, earning free credits towards a college diploma. Juniors, if ready, also take courses on college campuses. BART students have completed courses at Williams College, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and Berkshire Community College.
BART seniors meet daily with the college and internship placement counselor. They receive guidance and support for the college application process and, in fact, are required to be accepted into college before graduating from BART.
College Entrance Exams
All sophomores and juniors are required to take the PSAT and all juniors and seniors are required to take the SAT or ACT. BART provides tutoring support for the SAT and helps low-income families apply for fee waivers.