About Laurel > FAQ


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Q: What is a FAQ?
A: F.A.Q. stands for Frequently Asked Questions.
Q: What opportunities are there for parent involvement in the Upper School?
A: There are opportunities to volunteer to support athletic events, performing arts, chaperoning on field trips, serving as class parents, as well as positions on the Laurel School Parents Association. Parents may contact the LSPA for further information.
Q: What kinds of colleges do Laurel graduates attend?
A: The list is wide, and varies according to the particular interests and abilities of the girls. Laurel graduates enjoy a high acceptance rate at colleges and universities across the United States, and are supported by the college guidance office in making appropriate choices that constitute a positive match of ability and interest. 100% of our graduates attend college, and a very high percentage attend their first choice. These schools range from the most selective to highly selective, from large to small, and include both private and public colleges and universities. Please contact the College Guidance office for further information and a list of colleges and universities to which Laurel graduates have gained acceptance.
Q: What are Laurel's policies regarding participation in interscholastic sports?
A: All Laurel girls are encouraged to maintain a healthy lifestyle which includes physical activity. This may be achieved through participation in Physical Education classes, or by active participation on an interscholastic team. Those wishing to play a sport can do so on a junior varsity or varsity level. Junior varsity participation emphasizes the acquisition skills and experience playing and learning the sport. Participation at either level requires commitment to attend all practices and games, and for each girl to seek to achieve her very best.
Q: How much homework is there in the Upper School?
A: Girls in the Upper School can expect an average of up to 45 minutes of homework for each class, and up to 60 minutes for each Advanced Placement class.
Q: Is there an advisory system?
A: Yes. Every Middle School and Upper School girl is in a group of from six to ten with an advisor. They meet periodically together and individually with the advisor, who teaches at her grade level. The advisor is the primary contact and liason between the school and the parents, and seeks to know and support each advisee academically and emotionally. Every girl at Laurel is known and supported by all faculty, but most especially by her advisor.
Q: Although my daughter is a strong math and science student she is not particularly enthusiastic about these areas of study. Will she be comfortable and appreciated at Laurel?
A: A rigorous academic program is central to a Laurel education. However, we also recognize and celebrate a wide breadth of excellence. At Laurel we encourage each and every girl to find and follow her own passion whether that passion lies in the arts, academics, athletics or some other field.
Q: What are the class sizes at Laurel?
A: The answer to this question varies by division. In the Upper School, classes can range from four in advanced level classes to eighteen. In the Middle School, class size ranges from twelve to sixteen depending on grade level. In the Primary, class size ranges from twelve to sixteen, but teachers have assistants in the classroom to assist them.
Q: What grades does Laurel School serve?
A: Laurel School educates both boys and girls ages 3-5 in its Pre-Primary School with Preschool and Prekindergarten. It serves all girls from Kindergarten through 12th grade.
Q: Where is Laurel School located?
A: Laurel School has two campuses. The main suburban campus, located at 1 Lyman Circle, in Shaker Heights, OH houses all grades on 11 acres. The Butler Campus, our “outdoor classroom”, located at 7420 Fairmount Road, Russell Township, OH is 140 acres of woodlands with world-class athletic fields, high and low ropes course, trails, outdoor pavilion and our Magic Tree House. In the spring of 2009, Laurel broke ground for our Fitness and Wellness Center.
Q: Do the students wear a uniform?
A: Yes, all girls in grades Kindergarten through 12th grade wear a uniform. Laurel girls have worn uniforms since 1907. It’s sends a powerful message to the girls that what she thinks is more important than what she wears. In each division, Primary, Middle, and Upper School, the students have a varied approach to the uniform. This strengthens the feeling of community.
Q: What options are available to students who are interested in more than just academics?
A: Laurel girls are not only smart, they are diverse. They are involved in athletics and the arts. Laurel offers 11 sports in the Upper School and 9 sports in the Middle School. Over 70% of students participate in athletics. There are at least 2 theater productions each year in the Upper School and 2 in the Middle and Primary Schools. Last year’s spring performance involved girls grades 3-12. There are also over 30 clubs and organizations available. Each Laurel girl has a community service requirement she must complete before her senior year.
Q: How does Laurel School tailor curriculum specifically for girls?
A: At Laurel, we know girls: how they learn, what they think and feel, what they need, and what helps them thrive. The faculty are experts in girls’ education and are trained to use the teaching methods that work best for girls—our faculty are experts in teaching girls.
Q: Where do Laurel School graduates attend college?
A: College placement is 100%. Our Class of 2008 (54) had 7 National Merit Semifinalists, 7 National Merit Commended and 1 National Hispanic Scholar. When a young woman graduates from Laurel she has a solid academic background, support from the Laurel community and confidence to go to college and beyond. Our girls attend a wide variety of colleges throughout the country and internationally. Our experienced college counselor has a relationship with the college admissions officers and looks to provide our students with the best fit for college taking into consideration many factors.
Q: What makes Laurel School unique?
A: When most people visit Laurel for the first time they remark on the sense of community. And that’s something we pride ourselves on. We know that girls learn better when they relate to their teachers and feel comfortable in their environment. It’s the personal connections that our teachers make to then challenge and support girls to excel.
Q: Why “Dream. Dare. Do.”?
A: At Laurel we have the right environment to encourage girls to Dream and feed their creative spirit. The environment also encourages girls to be independent thinkers and to discover who they are and who they want to be. We Dare Laurel girls to learn from their mistakes, it’s the process of getting to the right answer, not necessarily the right answer that teaches the most valuable lesson. It is about being resilient. Laurel girls Do it all; try out for the play, join the speech and debate club, and participate in a sport they’ve never played before. Because our girls are supported they are able to do things they might never have done otherwise.
Q: Is there diversity at Laurel?
A: Yes! Laurel is committed to a diverse student body representative of the city of Cleveland. It is also committed to a socio-economically diverse student body, over 35% of the student body receives financial aid.
Q: What are the class sizes at Laurel?
A: The answer to this question varies by division. In the Upper School, classes can range from four in advanced level classes to eighteen. In the Middle School, class size ranges from twelve to sixteen depending on grade level. In the Primary, class size ranges from twelve to sixteen, but teachers have assistants in the classroom to assist them.
Admission - Student to Student
Q: What makes Laurel unique? (Alex)
A: Alex: At Laurel, you feel that you become friends with everyone; it’s my home away from home. If you need extra help, your teachers WANT you to come into their offices and talk to them. You’ll see students during free periods in teacher offices talking like old friends. You could go up to anyone in the school and have a conversation with them, and no one would be fazed by it! We also have this system set up in both Middle and Upper school where sophomores are paired up with seniors, freshmen with juniors, 5th with 7th, and 6th with 8th for ‘Big and Little sisters.’ It’s so much fun! It gives you someone to look up to or look out for. I’m a senior, and I still talk to my big sis from when I was a freshman and sophomore! We also have a lot of school spirit at sporting events, theater performances and even speech and debate competitions. We recently just had a Big Sis/Lil Sis Halloween competition.
Q: What makes Laurel unique? (Brianne)
A: Brianne: There are many traditions at Laurel. When you enter Middle School, each girl is assigned a team, green or white, which she keeps for all of her years at Laurel. Throughout the year, there are various green and white competitions like toilet paper design and Jeopardy and at the end of the year there is a final Green and White Field Day. In a few weeks we have our Junior Chapel where all of the girls in the Junior class are presented with their class rings. And my favorite tradition is coming up-Song Contest! The community at Laurel is very welcoming. Being a smaller school, the connections between each girl are stronger. The teachers are also very welcoming and open to offering extra help. In addition, each girl has an advisory consisting of about 10 other girls and a teacher. These groups meet about once a week.
Q: What is the Laurel uniform in the Upper School? Is it different in the Middle School or Primary School?
A: Brianne: In the Primary School, girls wear jumpers with white polos or turtlenecks. They can also wear pants in the plaid pattern of the jumper. In Middle School, there are three skirts. There is a dark green plaid, a light green kulatz and dark green solid skirt. Girls can also wear khakis or navy pants. In the Upper School, there are also three skirt options. There are still the light green kulatz and the dark green solid skirt, however, there is a different plaid skirt. Girls can also wear khakis or navy pants. In all three schools, girls may wear brown or black shoes with a low heel. Miriam: We also have three different Laurel polos in the Middle and Upper School- navy, white, or green, and we can wear sweatshirts or sweaters that are either plain or say Laurel. Once you become a senior, you can wear college sweatshirts which is one of our senior privileges.
Q: How do you meet boys?
A: Alex: Everywhere…. Between friends, youth groups, dances, neighborhoods… you meet them everywhere. Katie: Laurel is connected with other schools. There are dances held at other schools that Laurel is invited to. Laurel also connects specifically with University School (all boys’ school nearby), such as the Glee Club concert in the spring and participating together with guest speakers.
Q: I like sports, what sports do you offer?
A: Brianne: Laurel offers many sports. The fall sports are soccer, cross country, golf, tennis, field hockey and volleyball. The winter sports are basketball and swimming & diving. The spring sports are track and field, lacrosse and softball. Alex: I love that there are not only a variety of sports but we do not cut athletes, so you can always try a new sport. This fall I was one of the captains on the field hockey team and I will play lacrosse in the spring. Miriam: And in the past few years, our soccer, field hockey, basketball, and track teams have been very successful! There are always spots available and we love new team members! If you play a sport you can get a semester worth of gym credit, and you only need six to graduate. If you play any outdoor sports, you get to compete on our amazing fields at the Fairmount campus. You’re spoiled after playing on our fields and will never want to play anywhere else!
Q: I am an artist, what sort of arts program does Laurel offer?
A: Brianne: Laurel offers both Visual and Performance Arts. The visual art classes available are 2-D Art, 3-D Art, Computer Art and Design, Advanced 2-D Art, Advanced Studio Art, Photography, Advanced Photography and Publications. The performance art classes available at Laurel are Glee Club, Choir, Dance Exploration, Theatre Dance, Acting and Scene Study. There is also Chapel Theatre Club. Alex: We also have a school play in the fall and a musical in the spring. A lot of the girls are in choir and go on to be in glee club or our acapella groups “Bad In Plaid” and "Mean in Green". Some dance or perform in Orchestra. A lot of girls love photography, we even have our own dark room!
Q: What do you like about going to an all-girls’ school?
A: Alex: I don’t think that there is as much pressure as if the school was co-ed. I also think that there is less drama and it keeps social aspects more separate from academics. Brianne: I can roll out of bed, throw on a skirt, brush my teeth, and go to school. You really don’t have to worry about what you’re wearing because everyone is wearing the same stuff and you don’t have to ‘look good’ for anyone.
Q: How can I get involved in the community outside of Laurel?
A: Alex: Because of the strong connection with alumnae, internships are accessible. Our Protégé program with Dr. Larry Goodman connects students with internships, mentorships, or reasearch assistantships. There are also plenty of options for community service and service learning opportunities throughout the city. Brianne: Laurel has so many connections outside our walls that it’s almost impossible not to get involved. You can travel to Honduras to help build homes with a Laurel family who started a foundation for Honduran children, work on an orphanage in Africa or distribute food at the Cleveland Food Bank. Laurel provides you with an entire folder filled with community service options around the Cleveland area.
Q: What sort of classes do Laurel girls take? Can I get college credit or take AP classes?
A: Alex: Depending on your individual interests, you can accelerate and challenge yourself by taking AP classes that, can lead to college hours or class credit in college. We offer the KAP (Kenyon Academic Partnership) classes where you get Kenyon college credit! I take KAP French 5, KAP English, AP Calc BC, Honors Physics, US History, Classical Studies and Choir. Brianne: Last year as a junior I took a heavy load of classes, this year my load is a little lighter so I can do more things outside the classroom. I take Physics, FST (math), Spanish Conversation, English 12, and Creative Writing.
Q: How challenging are the classes at Laurel? How much homework do you receive?
A: Alex: The classes are challenging but manageable. For an average AP or Honors class, I have about one hour of homework a night. In a non-AP or Honors class, there is about 30-60 minutes of homework a night. Brianne: Your course selection dictates how challenging your work is. You can expect to work hard in all of our classes, but the honors, AP, and KAP courses challenge you beyond a normal college prep class. I am not saying that they are too challenging…they require a big commitment; if you have the opportunity, take that hard class because it’s definitely worth the extra work. I usually get between 2-4 hours of homework a night. It really depends on the time of year and how fast you work. During midterms and finals, I definitely spend more time on homework. If I use my free periods wisely, i.e. not socializing, I can get home with only having about an hour of homework. Weekends are not that bad if you keep up with the work during the week. If you have a huge assignment due on Monday, you’ll probably be working a few extra hours over the weekend.
Q: What are the class sizes at Laurel?
A: The answer to this question varies by division. In the Upper School, classes can range from four in advanced level classes to eighteen. In the Middle School, class size ranges from twelve to sixteen depending on grade level. In the Primary, class size ranges from twelve to sixteen, but teachers have assistants in the classroom to assist them.
Q: How do I join the Alumnae Association?
A: If you attended Laurel for at least one year then you are a member of the Alumnae Association (no application required!). The Association is governed by the Alumnae Board, which plans social receptions, service events and professional networking opportunities for all alumnae. The Association also orchestrates two of Laurel's most loved traditions - the Annual Holiday Luncheon and Class Song Contest in December as well as Alumnae Weekend in May.
Q: I received an email/postcard/phone call from a company asking for my personal information. They said they were working on a directory for Laurel School. Is this a legitimate project, or is it a scam?
A: We have partnered with PCI (also known as Publishing Concepts) to produce our new alumnae directory. PCI is a company located in Dallas, TX, that publishes directories for educational institutions, fraternities, sororities and military organizations across the nation. This project allows Laurel School to receive important updates to our database so we know more about our alumnae and how we can better serve you.
Q: How do I know my information will only be used for Laurel Alumnae Directory purposes?
A: Laurel School has a contractual agreement with PCI that states: a. The names, addresses and information provided to PCI by Laurel School for the publication of the Directory will be held confidential by PCI, except to the extent that they are utilized in, or in the preparation of, the Directory and except as required by court order or law. b. The Directory will be made available only to alumnae of Laurel School. Upon completion of the project, PCI will return to Laurel School any and all electronic files that have been supplied by Laurel School or produced by PCI in connection with the production of the Directory.
Q: I would like to verify and update my information for the Laurel Alumnae Directory. How may I do this?
A: If you have received a postcard or an email with a telephone number, you may call the number to speak with a dedicated representative for the Laurel School project. The representative will verify all the information we have on file for you and make any updates where needed. If you have received an email with an embedded link, you may go to the online site to review your information. If you have questions, you may call PCI’s customer service desk at 1.800.395.4724.
Q: Can anyone purchase the Laurel Alumnae Directory?
A: The Laurel School Alumnae Directory is available for purchase only by Laurel School alumnae.
Q: When will I receive my Laurel Alumnae Directory?
A: The length of the directory project is about 12 months. We anticipate that the directories will be distributed in June of 2014.
Q: Can I choose some or all of my information not to be printed in the Laurel Alumnae Directory?
A: When you call to update your information, you can tell the representative what information you would prefer to have excluded. You also may communicate this information to the PCI customer service desk (1.800.395.4724).
Q: I ordered a directory/package over the phone and would like to cancel my order. How do I do this?
A: Call the PCI customer service help desk at 1.800.395.4724, and they will take care of this for you.
Q: I lost my class ring! Is it possible to get another one?
A: Yes! Our rings are still made by Jostens. Please email Rick Kraft for pricing and ordering instructions. rick.kraft@jostens.com. Jostens also offers polishing and resizing services.
Q: My question for the Laurel School Alumnae Office has not been answered here. Who can I contact about it?
A: Email Maegan Ruhlman, Alumnae Coordinator mRuhlman@LaurelSchool.org or call her in the Development Office at 216.464.8997 or 866.277.3182.
College Guidance - Applications
Q: How many applications should I submit?
A: There is no single answer to this question. The traditional wisdom is that every student should make application to schools which are probable to admit her, likely to admit her and a “reach” for her credentials. This formula is not exact and doesn’t account for uncertainties in preferences, ambiguities in a record, financial aid requirements or tolerance for risk. Your best strategy is to identify a range of schools at which you could be happy. The best advice is to work closely with the College Guidance Office and your advisor.
Q: Should I use the Common Application?
A: Absolutely. Over 250 colleges and universities have agreed to accept the Common Application, which is available and may be submitted on line at www.commonapp.org. Individual colleges retain the right, however, to require material in addition to that provided in the Common Application and care must be taken with each and every application to ensure the requirements of the particular college are met.
Q: If I apply Early Action or Early Decision do I have to submit any other applications?
A: Whether or not you will have to submit other applications, you should certainly prepare other applications. An analysis of the response and due dates makes it plain that if you wait to prepare your other applications until after receipt of an Early Action/Decision response, you will need to write 5,6,7 or more short and long essay responses in less than a week, which is not enough time to do a careful and thoughtful job. In addition, certain schools have shortened their application deadlines, now requiring application prior to the notification by the early responses. So, even if you are applying early, you will need to complete your other applications and watch the dates carefully.
Q: Do I need to attend a special camp or program during my summers to enhance my record?
A: You shouldn’t do anything, ever, just to enhance your record. That kind of “packaging” is inauthentic and often apparent to admissions officers. On the other hand, you should certainly do something worthwhile and stimulating during your summers. Follow your passions; explore your interests; hone your skills. There are many programs which encourage and develop intellectual or artistic skills; there are also many programs in leadership and cross-cultural experiences. A listing of many of these programs is available in the College Guidance Office. But you don’t need to attend an expensive program: volunteer in a veterinary office, work in a band camp, tutor at summer school. What matters is that you do something to expand and discover yourself.
Q: What can I do to increase my chances of success in admission to college?
A: Arrange for your teacher recommendations early; choose your colleges with care and after consultation with the College Guidance Office; track all deadlines; write a thoughtful, candid essay; proofread; arrange for interviews; submit your applications a month before the final deadline and turn your paperwork in to the College Guidance Office early enough that this can happen. Finally, keep up your academic work—those first semester grades count.
Q: I'm on the wait list for the school I really want to attend. What should I do?
A: Mail the postcard accepting the wait list immediately and write a letter expressing your strong commitment. Let the College Guidance Office know of your interest. Submit an additional letter of support; consider a second visit to the campus. Keep the college apprised of your grades, honors and activities. Remember that colleges generally start to look at their wait list in May and will continue to admit through August. Not all colleges rank their wait list; some will admit to fill openings in specific areas to diversify a class. The number admitted from the list depends upon the specific yield that year.
College Guidance - Financial Aid
Q: What forms do I need to fill out?
A: Almost all applications for financial aid require submission of the FAFSA. The FAFSA may not be submitted until January 1 but should be submitted as soon as possible after that date. To expedite the process, apply for the PIN required for electronic submission in the fall. The CSS/Profile has a registration fee and is only used by specified colleges. Before filling out the form, make sure it is required by the colleges your daughter is considering. Some colleges have their own institutional financial aid forms which must be completed. All due dates should be followed exactly.
Q: Can I get help filling out the FAFSA and CSS/ Profile?
A: Information about completing the FAFSA will be available at the CCIS workshop on December 5 at 7:00 p.m. This program is led by a counselor from The Cleveland Scholarship Programs, and this group is available to provide continuing advice. Support is also available on the FAFSA website or the federal hot line at (800)433-3243. Information on the CSS/Profile is available online at the College Board site.
Q: Using the same information, the colleges made different offers. Why?
A: Because of variations in cost of attendance, preferential packaging policies and calculation of demonstrated need, there can be significant differences in financial aid offered by different schools. Before accepting a financial aid package, ask if the student can expect comparable packages for all four years assuming family resources remain approximately the same.
Q: Given alternate, more generous financial aid offered at other colleges, will a school reconsider its package?
A: If the financial aid package at your daughter’s preferred school is less than at others, you can contact the financial aid office and ask why the calculation of need varies. Some schools will reconsider a financial aid package if you contact them personally. You should also make sure to advise the college financial aid office if there are unusual circumstances or changes in your family financial circumstance which might increase the student’s calculated need.
College Guidance - Testing
Q: Should I take an SAT prep course?
A: Students who familiarize themselves with the test format through practice materials are better able to attain scores that accurately reflect their school performance. Practice materials are available online, in books and in courses. The best choice among these resources is dependent upon the student’s learning style, discipline, time and finances. Certain students who have difficulty in a particular subject area may also benefit by tutoring. Students should consult with their teachers and The College Guidance Office with questions regarding their individual needs.
Q: Where can I find practice tests online?
A: Practice tests are available at many websites. Use the following links to find them at the Gocollege, ACT, and Peterson’s sites.
Q: Should I take both the SAT and the ACT?
A: Unless you are confident that your SAT scores fully reflect your achievement, you should take both tests. The ACT and SAT are not identical. The SAT focuses upon problem solving while the ACT is designed to test academic development and relies more upon the student’s knowledge of particular subject matters. Some students will perform better on one test than another and most colleges will now accept the ACT in place of SAT Reasoning.
Q: If I take the SAT or ACT more than once, which score will the colleges consider?
A: The answer varies depending upon the test. A student may not limit the SAT scores reported to colleges; the College Board will send all previous SAT and Subject Test scores for up to five test dates. Generally, admissions officers focus on an applicant’s best verbal and math SAT scores, even if they are achieved on different dates. Some colleges will average a student’s SAT scores. Students should not, however, take the test more than three times. The ACT will allow students to send scores from a particular date.
Q: When should I take the SAT Subject Tests?
A: As a general rule, Subject Tests should be taken immediately after completion of the relevant course. Three subject tests may be taken on the same date, but it is not advisable to schedule more than two. Students who anticipate applying first round Early Action or Early Decision should plan ahead, understanding that the October test administration is the last date which can be used for either the SAT I or Subject Tests to ensure timely submission of the scores.