College Placement

Prepared to Excel.

At Dunham, our promise to your family is that we'll use every resource we have to enable your child to reach his or her full potential and to dream big when it comes to the future. Here, college preparation begins early and is integrated into every aspect of school. From pre-kindergarten to high school, our aim is to equip each student with the knowledge, future-ready skills, and confidence needed to excel in college and in life. 

Because we believe that the best college is the one that is the best fit for each student, our college placement program is individualized to help students identify their strengths, interests, and career aspirations. Seventh grade academic planning meetings chart a course for the next six years, with an eye towards college admissions. College counseling continues in Upper School through one-on-one meetings, information sessions with college reps, SAT and ACT test prep and advice, and assistance with applications, interviews, and scholarships.

One hundred percent of Dunham seniors gain acceptance to college, with many earning substantial merit scholarship offers. From Cornell, Duke, and LSU Honors College to The University of Pennsylvania, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, or St. Andrew’s University in Scotland, Dunham graduates continue their educational journeys at some of the best schools across the country and abroad.

Deidra Johnson

Director of College Placement

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Employed at Dunham since
Undergraduate Degree
Louisiana State University, 1994
Masters Degree
Louisiana State University, 1996
Doctorate Degree
Louisiana State University, 2009
Apple Teacher, 2016
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Deidra Johnson
Director of College Placement
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Where our graduates have attended.

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Where our graduates have been accepted.

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Navigating College Admissions by Grade

College placement begins in earnest when Dunham students move into Middle and Upper School. The grade-level guidelines below will provide you with information about the steps to complete as you move closer to your senior year and final college decisions. Remember that the College Placement Office is here to assist and guide you through the planning and application process. We encourage you to explore and consider of variety of colleges and hope you'll take advantage of the opportunity to meet with the college representatives who visit Dunham each year. Our goal is to help you identify and gain acceptance to the school that is the perfect fit for you. Questions? Email Dr. Johnson or stop by the College Placement Suite for a visit.

7th Grade


Prior to the start of your 7th grade year, students and their parents should attend an academic planning meeting with the Head of Middle School and the Director of College Placement. Parents will be notified to schedule this meeting the summer between 6th and 7th grades.

8th Grade


  • Begin your high school transcript
  • Take the EXPLORE test in the spring
9th Grade


  • Activate your Naviance Family Connection account
  • Browse through college literature or surf the Web to get an idea of what kinds of schools and programs interest you
  • Attend meetings with visiting college representatives
  • Create a list of colleges that you would like to consider
  • Review your list with the Director of College Placement
  • Monitor your grades and GPA
  • Take the PLAN test in the spring
  • Get involved in extracurricular activities
  • Serve with purpose; community service will be an asset on your college applications, but it is important to serve where you have an interest, not just to complete hours
  • Begin a portfolio or resume to keep track of activities, awards, and accomplishments during your high school career
10th Grade


  • Continue to browse through college literature or surf the Web to get an idea of what kinds of schools and programs interest you
  • Attend meetings with visiting college representatives
  • Review and edit the list of colleges you’re considering on Naviance
  • Monitor your grades and GPA
  • Serve with purpose
  • Take the ACT in the spring
  • Update your portfolio or resume with new information
  • Submit a summary of your high school activities and interests to the Director of College Placement
  • Check SAT II Subject Tests for June; it’s best to take these tests right after you finish the course
11th Grade


  • Continue to browse through college literature or surf the Web to get an idea of what kinds of schools and programs interest you
  • Attend meetings with visiting college representatives
  • Compare your ACT score with the median scores at the colleges on your list and create a strategy to achieve your target ACT score
  • Register to take the ACT in the fall and again in the spring if necessary; although your are only required to sit for this test once, it’s advisable to use every available test date to help you reach the score you need not only for college admissions, but also to be considered for academic scholarships
  • Sit for the PSAT in the fall as practice for the SAT and to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program
  • Monitor your grades and GPA
  • Serve with purpose
  • Update your portfolio or resume with new information
  • Meet with the Director of College Placement to update your activities and interests
  • Visit college campuses
  • Review and update the your list of colleges on Naviance
  • Request application materials from all schools on your list
  • Depending on your current class schedule, check SAT II Subject Tests for June
12th Grade


  • Schedule a senior conference with the Director of College Placement to review your application list, transcript, and resume
  • Stay focused on your grades
  • Attend meetings with visiting college representatives
  • Compile a final college application list
  • Update your portfolio or resume with final information
  • Review the admissions criteria for the schools on your list to determine if you should sit for the SAT; if so, register for the test (don’t forget about SAT II Subject Tests)
  • Register to retake the ACT if necessary
  • Check your transcript and resume thoroughly
  • Make sure you understand and have all forms required for admissions and financial aid
  • Know your deadlines and stay on top of them
  • Make copies of everything
  • Apply to at least three schools before Oct. 31; transcript and recommendation requests must be made through Naviance Family Connection
  • Report admissions outcomes on Naviance Family Connection and keep the college placement director informed about any information you receive from colleges regarding your status
  • Complete financial aid documents and apply for scholarships
  • Report all scholarship offers to the Director of College Placement, even if you do not accept the offer
  • Make your college decision
  • Post your “attending college” choice on Naviance Family Connection

ACT/PSAT/SAT Information

Please review the following information about the ACT, SAT, and PSAT. If you have any questions, email Dr. Johnson or visit the college counseling suite. A note about testing accommodations: students with recent education evaluations (within three years) who utilize accommodations on a daily basis may be eligible for testing accommodations (extended time, etc.) on the ACT and SAT tests. In addition to regular registration, a specific testing accommodations request form must also be submitted. This request must come from a parent, rather than the school.



The ACT is a standardized test used by colleges and universities as part of the evaluation process for admissions. The test is given six times a year, and is an achievement based test – focusing on what you have learned in certain subject areas. It is divided into five sections, English, Math, Reading, Science Reasoning, and an optional Writing section. Each section is scored on a 1-36 point scale. A composite score is calculated using the average of all the sections. The Writing section is optional (some universities will require it) and is scored on a 2-12 point scale. The test lasts three hours and 25 minutes.




The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) is a standardized test administered by the College Board and co-sponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) in the United States. Approximately 3.5 million students across the country take the PSAT/NMSQT in the fall of their junior year. Scores on this test can serve as a predictor of how you may do on the SAT and help you better prepare for that test. NMSC uses PSAT scores to identify National Merit Scholars and award merit scholarships. Click the link below to learn more about the PSAT or take a practice test.



The SAT is a standardized test used by colleges and universities as part of the evaluation process for admissions. The test is given seven times a year, and stresses logic reasoning skills. It is divided into three sections, Critical Reading, Mathematics, and a Writing section. Each section is scored on a 200-800 point scale. The test lasts three hours and 45 minutes.

SAT II Subject Tests are one – hour examinations that measure a student’s knowledge of specific subject areas (e.g., U. S. History, Biology, Spanish, etc.). Some universities require one or more of theses tests as part of the admissions process.


Applying for Financial Aid and Scholarships



The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the federal form that everyone needs to submit. All lenders of federal and state moneys – federal Title IV student aid, Pell Grants, Stafford Loans, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, college Work-Study, and Perkins Loans – require you to complete the FAFSA. You should plan to submit this form in the late fall of your senior year using the prior year's tax returns. To request or submit the FAFSA, visit  For additional information on financial aid and scholarships, visit



The Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) is a comprehensive program of state scholarships offered to Louisiana high school graduates to attend Louisiana colleges and universities. The awards are based on high school performance and standardized test scores, and can cover tuition and certain fees. For more specific information on awards and requirements, visit To apply for TOPS, complete the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at or the TOPS online application at The FAFSA must be completed if you qualify for federal aid and if you are seeking other forms of financial aid. The TOPS online application may only be completed if you can certify that you do not qualify for federal grant aid. You must apply no later than July 1 of your graduating year in order to receive your award for the upcoming fall semester.



The PROFILE is the form that several hundred schools and scholarship programs require from the College Scholarship Service (CSS). For more information, visit

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you."
- Jeremiah 29:11-12

Explore Dunham


Our PreK3-4th grade program is the perfect blend of a classical education combined with technology, innovation, and cross-cultural literacy.



Our 5th-8th grade program balances academics with athletics and arts in preparation for the rigor and expectations of Upper School.



Our high school program prepares students for success in college and career through academic rigor, athletics, arts, and leadership.



Our athletic program unleashes confidence and enables students to compete at the highest level - on and off of the field.



Outstanding theater, dance, visual arts, and music offerings inspire creativity, confidence, and a lifelong appreciation for the arts.



The Dunham experience rests upon a foundation of faith as we strive to educate our students' minds and hearts for Christ.


We can't wait to welcome you!