A group of students standing in front of a building at River Oaks Baptist School

Supporting the Next Big Step to High School

Article first appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of ‘Vine & Branch Magazine

Choosing which high school to attend is a big deal in the lives of our students and their parents. Our goal is to enable our students and parents to enter the high school application phase with confidence and to emerge on the other side seamlessly.

Over many years, ROBS has developed an unparalleled approach to ensure that parents and students alike are well equipped, organized, and prepared for the process. A key aspect of this approach involves our counselors playing an active role in walking our parents and students throughout the entire journey.


The first step begins when Gabriela Flores Irwin, Director of High School Counseling, holds a meeting with seventh grade parents regarding what to expect the following year. Once students begin eighth grade, another meeting is held where parents are given more detailed information, including our comprehensive ‘Choosing a High School’ guide. This guide is no ordinary ‘how-to,’ but an in-depth, detailed blueprint that gives parents and students the necessary information for applying to high school. It includes a thorough timeline and checklist, important questions to consider, pertinent admission statistics, dates, and deadlines, local high school admission requirements, and so much more.


Parents are encouraged to have their child fill out the student profile form that also appears in the guide. This form helps students begin to consider how their personality, extracurricular interests, and educational goals align with potential high school options. For example, if a student is an aspiring actor, the strength of a school’s theater program should be taken into account.


The next step is participating in a one-on-one parent counseling session with one of our high
school counselors. These individual meetings provide parents a time to discuss their hopes, review the student profile form, and talk about which schools best correspond with their child’s academic record and other priorities. Grades and standardized test scores are also reviewed and used to predict the likelihood of acceptance to different schools.

“Our family has nothing but great things to say about ROBS and the high school application process. Our high school counselor sat with us and presented the acceptance history of each of Scott’s favored schools. We felt completely at ease about Scott’s projections and were even happier our son was mature and driven enough to complete his applications on his own. We attribute his readiness to his years at ROBS.”

–Dawn Robins, past parent


While much of the application process involves parents, we do our best to ensure that students
understand their options. One great resource is Alumni Panels where we invite recent alumni who are currently attending Houston-area high schools to discuss their experiences with our eighth graders. These panels allow students to ask questions and hear from relatable sources about what each high school is really like. They also provide students with a sense of comfort to start their first day of freshman year knowing upperclassmen and fellow ROBS alumni.

A student and a teacher in a classroom at River Oaks Baptist School


An additional opportunity we provide our students is field trips to Houston-area high schools. Some schools even invite us to bring our entire eighth grade class to visit campus together. This allows students to not only see the school during a regular school day, but to do so in a comfortable environment with their teachers and fellow classmates. These invitations speak to the fantastic reputation ROBS students have within local high schools.


August through January of eighth grade is very busy, as this is prime time for attending open
houses, filling out applications, participating in high school interviews, and taking entrance exams. With so much going on in the lives of our parents and students during this season, we know it’s important to send reminders and updates. We believe that going the extra mile to ensure families feel well informed and supported is important, which is why every Thursday an e-mail is sent to parents showing upcoming deadlines and events. The emails provide such helpful information that some ROBS parents forward them to friends whose children attend other schools.


Once applications have been submitted, the waiting game begins. While waiting is hard, Mrs. Flores Irwin offers reassurance: “We have a nearly 100% acceptance rate from students’ first or second choice high schools. That’s our goal – to make sure our kids get into the schools they want to attend.”


River Oaks Baptist School takes great pride in knowing our students are well-supported through the application process. One alumna, Allison Favaloro, a junior at Kinkaid, said, “I remember that ROBS and its counselors made sure my parents and I were excited about the process rather than nervous or stressed. I think the high school application process was very beneficial for me because I now have so much confidence going into the college application process.”

Over the past 62 years, we have watched as our students have transitioned from middle school to high school with great success. We have seen the fruits of our preschool through eighth grade model because ROBS alumni truly flourish. Of all the advantages of attending River Oaks Baptist School, we believe a crucial one is allowing our students the freedom to forge their own individual identity and then decide which high school best complements their gifts, abilities, and learning styles.

ROBS students are exceptional and unique in ways that stand out to high school admission committees. Whether our students’ dreams are to attend a top boarding school or one of the many outstanding Houston-area high schools, we feel confident they will end up wherever they are meant to be. We know our process works, and our students are extraordinarily well-prepared. But above all, we believe God has a plan for each and every one of them.

Contributed by Whitney Easterling Sharman ’04, 2017-18 ROBS Alumni Board

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