News Feature on College Counselor, Becky Copenhaver

Collaborating for college and career success

Cape Fear Academy’s Director of College Planning, Becky Copenhaver, knows the college preparation can be daunting. As a counselor for over 23 years in both public andindependent schools, she has worked with hundreds of students and parents in helpingthem carve out their futures.

“For many parents, this is the first time they’ve gone through this with their children,” said Copenhaver, who has advised families at Cape Fear Academy through the collegeadmissions process for the past six years. “I think it’s important for parents to talk withtheir student about what they want.”

Equally important is for students to figure out what they want for themselves and their futures. Cape Fear Academy has a College Center and Copenhaver often meetsindividually with students and their parents.

“I can be a mediator to get that conversation started,” she said. “Parents, of course, want to be involved. I would like to see more communication between students and parentsabout what would be a realistic fit.”

As college admissions becomes more competitive, it’s important for families to know what is realistic. To help with this process, Copenhaver holds college informationsessions at night for parents and students to meet college representatives at Cape FearAcademy. She also organizes a college tour for sophomores at the end of each yearwhere they visit a variety of types of schools from small liberal arts colleges to large stateuniversities.

“That gets them interested in where they want to apply,” she said. She advises them to create a list of potential schools in their junior year. Over the summer, she advises themto narrow down their list to eight to 10 schools to apply to including a couple that are“reach” schools, a couple of mid-range schools and two they feel pretty confident about.As a result, 82 percent of last year’s graduating class was admitted into the school of their top choice.


Copenhaver tells the ninth grade students that by the time they graduate, she will knowthem so well that she will even know their shoe size. With a graduating class of about 55students each year, she has a chance to work closely with each student on their collegepreparation and career planning. It’s an opportunity she did not have as a public highschool counselor where the graduating class had 500 students.

“I feel connected to the families. That’s something I didn’t get to have,” she said. “It’svery much a group effort.”


Cape Fear Academy has been a leader in the educational community of southeasternNorth Carolina since 1967. Known for its academic excellence and outstandingcollege preparatory program, the pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade curriculumemphasizes hands-on learning across academic disciplines. For more information, visitwww.capefearacademy.org or call (910) 791-0287.

Reproduced with permission from Wilma Magazine.