High School Counseling

As a school with a long track record of successfully placing graduates in Chicago's most sought after high schools, Bernard Zell deeply values the transition graduates make when moving to 9th grade. Leaving a school that has been home for 10 years not only carries the opportunity for students to experience more diverse learning communities, but also to navigate a new environment by confidently learning on the self-advocacy, leadership, and community-building skills they developed at Bernard Zell.
Bernard Zell's High School Counseling program formally begins as families enter into 7th grade. Parents and students are introduced to the high school landscape though individual family intake meetings and group presentations that help set the stage for applications to CPS and independent schools throughout the Chicagoland area and across the country.
The High School Counseling team reconvenes with students and families at the start of 8th grade to develop a personalized plan for the admissions process. From September through mid-November, students and parents have the opportunity hear from over 20 different area high schools during exclusive information sessions. Bernard Zell's alumni and parents of alumni also serve as a valuable resources in this process, eager to share their advice and experiences of applying and transitioning to high school.
The mission of the High School Counseling office is rooted in a holistic ethos; to support students and families from a perspective that values the intellectual, social, and emotional development of graduating students and to help them transition into a high school that is the best fit based on their abilities and interests.

The Process

The Team

Mitch Daar ‘99 - Director of Educational Operations & High School Counseling; 11 years of classroom experience at Bernard Zell as a Middle School Math teacher and advisor; comprehensive understanding of the Bernard Zell experience, curriculum, and the ways students are prepared for their transition to Chicago high schools. Contact Mitch at


Alex Sheridan - Assistant Director of Community Engagement; 10 years of independent school experience, including eight years working in high school admissions, teaching, and advising in New York independent schools; serves on Bernard Zell’s admissions team and as a liaison to Bernard Zell alumni/parents of alumni. Contact Alex at


"From my observations, Bernard Zell students are exceptionally well prepared for success in high school. They have the strong work ethic and personal integrity to effectively manage the challenges that often accompany the academic experience in a high performing high school." - CPS Selective Enrollment High School Principal 
"Bernard Zell graduates consistently arrive with great preparation for high school, both academically and socially. They have the ability to manage their time, are able to interact with a wide range of students and teachers almost immediately, and are extremely thoughtful towards others." - Independent School Head of School 
"Bernard Zell alumni have left a strong legacy on our community. Many tend to navigate towards student leadership positions that provide them the opportunity to work closely with the administration in our attempts to continue evolving into the strongest urban public high school we can be." - CPS Selective Enrollment High School Assistant Principal 
"Bernard Zell students are leaders in all aspects of school. They have have started clubs, led athletic teams, and contribute significantly to the life of our school."Independent School Head of School 

High School Placement - Bernard Zell Classes of 2014-2018

Beacon Academy
British School of Chicago
The Chicago High School for the Arts
Francis W. Parker
Gulliver Schools
Jones College Prep
Lake Forest Academy
Lane Tech College Prep
The Latin School of Chicago
Lincoln Park High School
Northside College Prep 
Rochelle Zell Jewish High School
University of Chicago Lab School
Walter Payton College Prep
Wolcott School

College Matriculation - Bernard Zell Classes of 2007 - 2014

American University 
Amherst College
Babson College
Bard College
Beloit College
Bennington College
Berklee College of Music
Boston University 
Bowdoin College
Bradley University 
Brandeis University 
Brown University
Butler University 
Case Western Reserve University
College of Charleston
College of William and Mary 
Colorado College
Columbia College
Columbia University 
Cornell University 
DePaul University 
Duke University
Elon University
Emory University 
George Washington University  
Georgetown University
Harvard University
Illinois Institute of Technology
Illinois Wesleyan University
Indiana University 
Kansas University 
Lafayette College
Loyola Marymount University 
Macalester College
Manhattanville College
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
McGill University 
Miami University 
Mills College
New York University 
North Idaho University 
Northwestern University 
Oakton College
Oberlin College
Occidental College
Pomona College
Princeton University
Quest University 
Rice University 
Southern Illinois University 
St. Olaf College
Syracuse University
Temple University
Trinity College
Tufts University 
Tulane University 
University of Arizona
University of the Arts London
University of California-Berkeley
University of California-Los Angeles
University of Chicago 
University of Colorado-Boulder
University of Georgia
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
University of Iowa
University of Miami 
University of Michigan 
University of Pennsylvania
University of Richmond
University of Southern California
University of St. Andrews
University of Texas-Austin
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Vanderbilt University
Vassar College
Wake Forest University 
Washington University St. Louis
Wesleyan University 
Yale University

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