College Admissions

Don’t Fail Idaho: How Riverstone Stacks Up

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Bob by the Rock 2015The following is the introduction to Bob Carignan’s March 3, 2016 newsletter to the Riverstone community. To read previous Riverstone newsletters, you may link to our archives here. We invite you to subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

Dear Riverstone Community,

I would like to talk about the report completed by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, “Don’t Fail Idaho,” that has received a great deal of coverage in the media of late. I have been asked by many parents as to how Riverstone is doing in comparison to the trends in this report and national benchmarks. I apologize if this is longer than normal, but urge you to read on.

The skills identified in the report that employers are seeking mirrors the skills that Riverstone teaches our students: “performing with integrity, contributing to a team, acquiring knowledge, solving problems, and being able to communicate effectively.” You can see our students putting these skills into action every day:

  • Our very youngest students speak publicly about their work during their Primary Years Programme open houses
  • Our grade 5 students research and address real-life issues throughout their 8 week Exhibition
  • Our Middle Years and Diploma Programme students research and form opinions on topics that are relevant to the real world
  • Starting in Middle School, our students have to problem solve and cooperate to set up tents, carry group gear, and prepare meals for their outdoor trips
  • Our students work side by side with classmates from around the world and from different backgrounds; real international and socio-economic diversity

College Preparedness
According to the report, only 20% of high school seniors in Idaho are prepared for college. In the highest ranking public schools in Boise, less than 50% of seniors are prepared. Using the same measure, 100% of the Class of 2015 were prepared for college.

At Riverstone, every student is required to take four years of mathematics and all of our students are on track to have the option to study calculus in their junior year. Nationally, less than 20% of students take calculus, even less in Idaho.

One hundred percent of our students who attend Riverstone from grade eight on will study a year each of biology, chemistry and physics; nationally only 30% students earn credits in all three sciences. Our students then specialize in one science for an additional two years during the Diploma Programme, obtaining a total of five years of High School science prior to college.

Second Language
In the last major study fewer than 20% of all K-12 students nationally and under 12% of Idaho students studied a foreign language. At Riverstone, every student from Pre-Kindergarten forward study a second language, with many of our students achieving non-native fluency by graduation.

In line with current brain research, 100% of Riverstone students from preschool – grade 12 take art and music as a core class taught by dedicated specialists. Only 57% of US high schools require art credits to graduate and over two-thirds of those schools only require one credit.

Reading, Writing, and Research
Nationally, less than 25% of grade 12 students write proficiently. At Riverstone, we just mailed our seniors’  4000 word (14-16 page) Extended Essays to be read by evaluators around the world. My advisee’s research question was, “To what extent did the rise of antitrust law in the United States shape future efforts by the federal government to expand regulation over the national economy.” That’s only one. You can see the topics for the Class of 2015 in our “Meet the Seniors” brochure from last year. They are equally impressive.

The International Baccaulareate Programmes are only a part of our success. At Riverstone, we go beyond, by investing in small classes so that our inquiry-based approach to teaching and applying skills is always hands-on and integrated into our Five Pillars.

Why Riverstone?
What is it that made my family invest in a Riverstone education for our children? Quite simply, my wife and I (a former options trader) wanted to give our children the best probability of gaining the best set of skills possible – exactly those mentioned in the report.

By looking at the above numbers, coupled with our college acceptance success, I’d make that trade over and over again.

Call for anything,

Bob Carigan
Head of School

Class of 2015 Rocks the College Acceptances!

By | Academic Excellence, College Placement, High School, IB | No Comments

Class Photo DiffuseWe are very proud of our students and are pleased to share that one hundred percent of our seniors were accepted into four year universities and colleges. Many of these colleges have offered our students merit scholarships, course credits, or advanced class standings in acknowledgement of the rigor of the the IB Diploma Programme.

If you’d like to get to know the Class of 2015 better, download our Meet the Seniors brochure here.

Congratulations to the Class of 2015 for being accepted into the following colleges and universities:

Boise State University Honors College
Brown University
California Polytechnic State University (2)
Carnegie Melon University
Carroll College
Chapman University (2)
Claremont McKenna College (3)
College of Idaho (2)
Colorado College
Colorado School of Mines (2)
Cornell University
Creighton University
DePauw University
Fordham University
Hult International Business School
Illinois Institute of Technology
Ithaca College
Jacksonville University
Lehigh University
Linfield College (2)
Montana State University
Muhlenberg College (2)
New York University
New York University, Abu Dhabi
Occidental College
Pacific University (4)
Purdue University
Reed College
San Diego State University
Santa Clara University (2)
Seattle University (2)
Seattle Pacific University
St. Mary’s College of California (3)
St. Michael’s College
Stanford University
Swarthmore College
University of Arizona
University of California, Berkley
University of California, Los Angeles (2)
University of California, San Diego
University of California, Santa Cruz
University of Chicago
University of Colorado, Denver
University of Denver
University of Idaho Honors Program
University of Maine
University of Michigan
University of Montana
University of Oregon Clark Honors College
University of Puget Sound (5)
University of the Redlands (3)
University of Rochester
University of San Diego
University of Southern California (2)
University of Texas, Austin Honors Program
University of Tulsa
University of Vermont (3)
University of Washington
Ursinus College (2)
Whitworth College
Willamette University (3)
Yale University

Commencement Exercises

By | Academic Excellence, College Placement, Community & Service, High School, IB, International Understanding, Leadership by Example, Outdoor Education | No Comments

The Class of 2012 celebrated their graduation from high school with family and friends at last Thursday’s Commencement Exercises. Teachers shared memories and stories about each student, and every student spoke about their experience at Riverstone. As always, it was a magical event, reminding all of us why Riverstone is a unique school and why our students are such amazing individuals.

They will be missed next year but we wish them all the best as they head off to college.

To view a listing of the colleges and universities world-wide that they have been admitted to, please visit our website. The Class of 2012 continues our tradition of a 100% acceptance rate into colleges and universities!

Our College Counseling Expands Around the World

By | Academic Excellence, College Placement, High School, IB, International Understanding | No Comments

High school College Counseling Assistant and IB English teacher, Gretchen Arguedas, had the opportunity to visit New York University’s new campus in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  Gretchen was one of seventeen college counseling professionals from around the country invited to tour NYU Abu Dhabi’s campus, meet students and faculty, attend a dinner with NYU’s president, John Sexton, and explore Abu Dhabi.

NYU Abu Dhabi’s student body currently consists of 161 students hailing from sixty different countries.  Eventually, the school will build enrollment to around 2000 students.  Admission to NYUAD is highly selective, and around 2% of last year’s applicants were granted admission.  The school describes itself as “The World’s Honors College” and aims to “embody a new paradigm in higher education for a global world” and “be a center of innovative undergraduate and graduate education and of distinctive scholarship, research, and artistic activity.” (NYUAD website and mission statement)

Gretchen came away from the experience completely impressed with the caliber and diversity of the students attending NYUAD.  Riverstone is excited to host representatives from NYUAB on May 9th.  Representatives will present information on NYUAD, NYU New York, and NYU Shanghai, which is scheduled to open in 2013.

Enjoy Gretchen’s photos from her trip!


A Senior Tradition

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One of my favorite Riverstone traditions is that our seniors schedule several “Senior Activities” throughout the school year as a way of celebrating their friendships while giving them the chance to blow off some steam as they await college acceptance letters, take semester finals, or prepare for IB trials week.

Here are some photos from their last activity: Go-Kart races!

Grades 9 & 10 Visit College Fair

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Grade 9 and 10 students attended a college fair at the Boise Centre on the Grove earlier this week. Schools from around the Pacific Northwest were represented, as well as schools from around the country including Colby College, University of Rochester, and University of Pennsylvania to name a few. Attending the college fair is one component of our college counseling program and gives students the opportunity to meet representatives from a broad range of colleges and universities in one convenient location.

Thanks to Bob Carignan, Alex Ide, and Gretchen Arguedas, for leading the group.

The Value of the IB Diploma Programme in College Admissions

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College admissions counselors have been visiting Riverstone regularly over the past six weeks, sharing information about their schools while also meeting our students in small groups and individually. As a result, our students can have their questions answered and stand out amongst the large number of applicants that these colleges receive. Riverstone, as a school, also stands out for developing individuals who are well prepared for college and able to contribute to their college community.

Asked why the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme is highly regarded, the Admissions Counselor from University of Puget Sound told students, “The IB Diploma Programme is one of the best programs for preparing students for a liberal arts education. Additionally, having to complete projects like writing the Extended Essay enables students to immediately engage with college level curriculum on a meaningful level.”

We appreciate all the counselors who take the time to meet our students and wish them well as they enter their busy time of reviewing and selecting applicants for admissions!

Princeton University Admissions

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Students in Grades 11 and 12 met today with a college admissions representative from Princeton University to learn more about academic and campus life at Princeton, as well as their admissions process. It was a great session with lots of good questions and interactions. Thanks to Princeton University for visiting!

Over the next few months, students will be meeting with admissions representatives from a variety of other schools:

September 19: University of the Redlands
October 3: Villanova University
October 5: LaFayette College
October 14: University of Puget Sound
October 17 or 18: Wesleyan University
October 19: Lynfield College
October 20: Oregon State
October 25: Willamette University
November 1: Colby College
November 3: University of Rochester

It’s an exciting time for our seniors and we wish them all the best as they continue on the college admissions process. Thanks to Bob Carignan and Gretchen Arguedas, our College Counseling team, for their guidance!