Director of College and Career Counseling Ms. Rachael Smith-Vaughan Brings Talent and Energy to American Hebrew Academy

The Academy's Director of College and Career Counseling, Ms. Rachael Smith-Vaughan, brings extensive college counseling experience as the Senior Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Bentley University in Boston; as the College Guidance Counselor at the American School in Managua, Nicaragua and as the Israel Programs Director at the Central Agency for Jewish Education, Overland Park, Kansas.

A Spanish speaker, Ms. Smith-Vaughan holds degrees in college counseling from UCLA, a Master's Degree in Education from Framingham State College, and a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from Emory University. She is also a Certified Mediator in the state of Kansas.

Click here to read our college counseling newsletter

College Counseling

The college counselor at the American Hebrew Academy is committed to getting to know each student personally and providing individual guidance throughout their secondary school career culminating in the college search and application process. Students begin working with the college counselor soon after they arrive on campus.

Through individual meetings, classes, and workshops beginning in freshman year, we help students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the college search process, as well as to succeed at the Academy and in life. We support students in learning how to study effectively, manage time, prioritize academic deadlines, develop leadership skills, and pursue interests and passions on campus and in the larger community.

Ultimately, we want students to matriculate at an institution of higher learning that is a perfect fit for them, academically, socially, and spiritually. This is a process that takes time and attention. Therefore, we start working with students in Success 101, a mandatory class for freshmen and new sophomores, that teaches academic and life enrichment topics, such as research and library skills, learning styles, and goal setting.

During students’ sophomore year, the college counseling team holds individual coaching sessions in which students identify goals for high school regarding academic success, extracurricular activities, leadership opportunities, and potential college and career avenues. We carry these conversations into the junior year as students begin the college search process. Through individual meetings and group seminars, juniors learn how to conduct college searches and visits, build a balanced and appropriate college list, prepare for standardized testing, develop resumes, research scholarships and financial aid, and more. During the senior year, students are supported through the application, financial aid, and decision making process.

All AHA students and families have access to Naviance, a web-based college and career program that provides tools to help in navigating the college search and application process. Students are taught how to use this program in their freshman and sophomore years, when they will start to build their resumes, complete personality and career assessment profiles, and explore careers, majors, and colleges. During junior year, students use Naviance to conduct college searches and develop their college lists.

The following pages provide relevant and timely information to students and families as they negotiate the process of preparing for, searching for, and applying to colleges. Information on the College Representative Visits, Scholarships and Financial Aid, Summer Enrichment Opportunities, Standardized Test information, and Workshop pages will be updated regularly as information is made available to us, so please check back frequently.


Our Counseling Handbook


The American Hebrew Academy prepares students for university and beyond.

Academy alumni have matriculated into graduate school programs, including at the following institutions: Harvard Business School, Harvard Law School, UCLA School of Law, University of Chicago School of Law, Northwestern School of Medicine, University of Maryland Medical School, University of St. Joseph School of Pharmacy, University of Michigan School of Architecture, Hebrew Union College and Jewish Theological Seminary Rabbinical Schools, and Georgetown University School of Business.

College Counseling Downloads:

Rising Senior Questionnaire Class of 2018

Transcript Request

Request to be absent for a college visit

Trip Request to be absent for a college visit

Recommendation Request 2017

Do you want to know the Top 12 Strengths & Experiences colleges look for in high school students?


Powered by Finalsite