College Success Curriculum

College Placement

DSST Public Schools will prepare all graduates to continue their education at a four-year college or university. Students, parents and DSST staff are involved in the process of preparing to meet that goal from freshman through senior year. DSST graduation requirements exceed the Colorado Minimum Academic Preparation standards for entrance to four-year schools.

In addition to four years of rigorous academic curriculum, the schools engage students in the exploration of college options through the advisory College Success curriculum  and College Planning Seminar classes at all grade levels, culminating in a required Senior College Seminar class in senior year to support students as they apply for college admission and financial aid.  Students participate in required college field trips to Colorado college campuses at all grade levels.  All college planning curriculum, activities, and  support of students applying to colleges and universities and for financial aid is aligned with the National Association of College Admission Counselors (NACAC) Best Practices.

9th Grade Preparation

The goal of the College Success Curriculum during the freshman year is to provide a program that assists students in developing a college- bound mindset. Through exercises implemented during Freshman Seminar and prep academy advisory sessions, students learn that “9th Grade Counts” in the college preparatory process. All freshmen enroll in Naviance, a comprehensive college and career planning system for students and their families. As part of the Naviance program, 9th graders begin to explore options and interests using personal and career inventories. In addition, students receive an overview of financial resources available for college. Beginning with 9th grade, all students attend the DSST College Fair consisting of Colorado colleges and universities and visit a four-year university campus.

10th Grade Preparation

In Sophomore Seminar, students continue to explore different types of colleges and universities. Lessons focus on college selection factors and the connection between students’ interests, college majors and future career options. Students evaluate and reflect upon their academic progress and current college admission qualifications, developing improvement goals if needed.

11th Grade Preparation

All juniors take the Colorado state-mandated ACT in April. They are also required to take an official ACT with Writing in June. Any additional college entrance testing, including the SATand SAT Subject Exams can be scheduled through the College Board. DSST college placement staff support 11th grade advisors in exploring college options with their students. In addition there is individualized counseling session to meet with families to develop the list of prospective schools. The school provides information and support on researching college options,scheduling campus visits, and preparing for the senior application process through Junior College Seminar  classes. The English curriculum includes a unit on “Writing the College Application Essay.”

12th Grade Preparation

Families continue their research of college options and finalize their list of intended applications.  Students participate in weekly meetings of Senior College Seminar in the first trimester, with two additional classes per trimester in Tri 2 and Tri 3. All applications are completed before winter break. Applications to DSST partner colleges are completed by late October and students receive early admission decisions. Beginning in January, the school supports families in applying for federal student aid and other scholarships. On or before May 1 of the senior year all seniors will have decided where to enroll for post-graduate education.

Kateri Joda Williams, Director of College Placement (, 303-524-6341)
Toni Marie Teeter, Assistant Director of College Placement, (, 303-524-6344)

CEEB Code: 060-604