Individual college counseling starts on day one. 


The goal of College Counseling at Sacred Heart is to ensure each young woman is in the strongest position to select and pursue the colleges and universities that are the best match for her skills, interests, and aspirations.

Sacred Heart’s college counseling program is unique in that it begins at the start of ninth grade. Comprehensive and structured, the program not only advises students on their college options and applications, but also, supports our young women on course selection, standardized test preparation, essay writing, financial aid, and more.

Experienced and effective counselors, Serena Castellano and Rebecca Skipper each work with an average of 30 students, which allows them to develop strong relationships and a deep understanding of each student’s abilities and strengths.


College Counseling Journey Highlights

From day one of 9th grade, students understand that the door to the College Counseling Office is always open.

9th grade

  • Students are assigned a college counselor
  • Individual check-in meetings
  • College Night for both students and parents

10th grade

  • One-on-one meetings to support Upper School course selection
  • Individual check-in meetings
  • Mock testing opportunities for the SAT and ACT
  • Standardized test preparation kickoff event with Compass Education Group
  • College Night for both students and parents

11th grade

  • Weekly college counseling class
  • 4+ one-on-one meetings
  • College Fair with over 150 colleges and universities in attendance
  • Mock Admissions Night with admissions deans and directors for students and parents
  • Mock testing opportunities for the PSAT, SAT, ACT, and SAT Subject Tests
  • Private tutoring for standardized tests through partnership with Compass Education Group
  • Parent coffee to review college application process and answer questions
  • Financial Aid workshop for parents
  • College Night for both students and parents

12th grade

  • Individual meetings focused on applications and essays
  • Financial Aid workshop for parents
  • 2 parent coffees to review college application process and answer questions
  • 2 Saturday drop-in days during the fall
  • College Night for both students and parents

Meet the Team



Serena Castellano

Director of College Counseling
212-722-4745, ext. 315

Rebecca Skipper

Director of College Counseling
212-722-4745, ext. 325

Mary Katherine Woodall

College Counseling Administrative Assistant
212-722-4745, ext. 328

Having spent her entire professional career working with high school and college students, Mrs. Castellano is committed to helping students find the best fit for college. Before coming to Convent of the Sacred Heart in 2008, Mrs. Castellano was a senior staff member of the admissions offices at both Wellesley College and Princeton University. At Wellesley, Mrs. Castellano was also a financial aid counselor and cultural advisor. Additionally, she interned in the student affairs division at Stanford University and worked as a college advisor at St. Paul’s School.

“Because we start one-on-one meetings in 9th grade, we really get to know our students and their strengths and goals. This helps us to guide them on an individual basis throughout the college application process.” - Serena Castellano

Mrs. Skipper began her career in the Davidson College Office of Admission and Financial Aid, where she recruited students and reviewed applications from all over the country. During graduate school, Mrs. Skipper began working with Henry Street Settlement as a college counselor, and helped high school juniors and seniors navigate the college and financial aid application processes. After earning her MSW, Mrs. Skipper joined the Sacred Heart community in 2013. 

“Being accessible and available to our students and their families is at the heart of what we do. We recognize that there are many moving parts to the college application process, and we work to ensure that our families know they are welcome to reach out to us at any time.” - Rebecca Skipper