As this year’s senior class begins their college search and application process, for many people, it’s like walking into a room blindfolded. The transition from junior year to senior, you don’t think much about the preparation that goes into applying to college and choosing what you want to do with your life for the next four years. It’s a big decision that takes more than a night to decide.
Since the college process is so extensive, students need someone to guide them through the process correctly. Students are starting at the wrong part in the process, filing paperwork out incorrectly, and are not finding their dream school. Scholarships are difficult to find and there are so many to choose from, you don’t know which ones are worth your time.
Currently with the pandemic, students are already navigating schooling all online and from home, so they can’t use the resources that are typically available. Students are unable to get to the Career Center with all of the guidance for after high school. Although Molly Simoni left at the end of last school year, Rhana Mather and our current counselors are available by email. But it’s not as useful as talking in person. They are working together to make sure seniors aren’t left without any resources or guidance.
A course should be available for students who want to pursue college after graduating high school and should be taken during their junior and/ or senior year. The college process begins very early, which most students don’t know. If juniors can take it their second semester before their senior year, they will be prepared when the application process opens.
If students choose to take this course during their senior year also, the teacher can help them week to week and show what should be completed each month. This will keep students on track and break up this big undertaking so it’s not so scary or intimidating.
The course would help students navigate researching colleges, narrowing their college list, choosing top colleges, the application process for them, applying early, FAFSA form, scholarships and deadlines, and financial aid opportunities.
Many students don’t know that you can apply early to colleges and get a decision back in two weeks, and not have to wait months. And not all early applications are binding.
With school being online, this class should be offered over Google Classroom Meet. The school has done college assemblies along with other programs in previous years, but an actual class would be more impactful. Because of COVID-19 the counseling office has had to change their approach to college prep.
“We will use 12th grade Advisory to plan workshops for all seniors or to announce optional after-advisory Wednesday presentations that meet the needs of targeted populations (some about college info, scholarship info, apprenticeship opportunities, etc.),” counselor Cathay Callaway said.
During Distance Learning, the school has sent all seniors a Google classroom code, which has many resources for post graduation. This includes the military, scholarship opportunities, and letters of recommendation. Although this is helpful, students are missing the in person aspect of college preparation advising. The school has used a few advisory periods to relay the information they are posting on the Google classroom page, but not all seniors are getting the chance to be a part of this.
If the school were to offer a college prep course, many seniors would have a huge weight lifted off their shoulders.