College & Career Advising
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
We aim to infuse every year of the student experience at BART with messaging about the value and possibility of their going to college/ BART students learn about college in their Health + Wellness/Collegiate Skills and academic classes and community meetings. At every grade level, students go on field trips to college campuses. We have regular “College Spirit Days” on which everyone in the building is encouraged to wear gear representing a college of their choice.
In recent years, we have been working to increase the number of AP courses available at BART and are exploring other ways students and earn college credits while enrolled with us.
We take this work so seriously that we have a College Office at BART with 3 staff members available to support student success in preparing for and completing college, as well as an additional 3 staff members who teach our college and career advising curriculum.
College and Career Advising Curriculum
All students have college and career advising in their curriculum.
In middle school, this takes place in Health + Wellness classes where we emphasize social and emotional skills in order to build a student’s academic and personal success. Middle school classes discuss the idea of college and identify possible career interests.
In our 9th and 10th grade, students take Collegiate Skills classes that explore a wide range of career clusters and how to identify a career that is consistent with one’s interests and personality. They continue to learn about key social and emotional skills that will help them succeed in college while developing a deeper understanding of what it takes to apply for and be accepted to college. Students also prepare for the PSAT, which they take in the 10th and 11th grade at BART.
In our Junior and Senior Seminars, the capstone college and career advising courses, students learn how to determine fit in a college and career, focus on strategies for becoming competitive college applicants, learn about how to succeed in the tricky first year of college, go in-depth on the financial aid process, and complete the entire college application process with teacher support.
College Field Trips
Our College Office plans a range of college field trips experiences for students to many different types of 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. We aim to take middle school students to 1 college campus per year and then increase the number of visits each year of high school, with a peak of 11th graders typically visiting 4-6 campuses.
In recent years, students have toured the following campuses on BART field trips--to name just a few!
- Mount Holyoke
- UMass Amherst
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
- Hunter College
- Columbia University
- Brooklyn College
- Fitchburg State University
- Emerson College
- Massachusetts College of Art and Design (Mass Art)
For Students: 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, designed for families of 11th and 12th graders.
For all: for students and families at any grade level, we are always happy to set up individual college advising meetings with a member of our College Office staff. Please let us know if you would like to meet!
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.
All of these requirements are heavily supported by our staff. 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--as closely as possible--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 MASS MoCA, Adams Police Department, North Adams Public Library, The Brien Center, The Berkshire Museum, Barrington Stage Company, iBerkshires.com, Berkshire Health Systems, North County Veterinary Clinic, and many other area businesses.
- Senior Seminar: This daily 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
We offer a level of individual college counseling commensurate with what families might choose to pay a consultant thousands of dollars for. Nationally, the average counselor-to-student ratio in high schools is 1:470. At BART, we have three full-time college staff in our College Office supporting student success. Much of the time, this involves 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.