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From the desk of Dr. Charles Murphy: October 27, 2011

The common AP? CUNY? SUNY? GPA. On site registration? Four-year schools.  SATs. Two-year schools. Naviance? Class rank. Financial aid. There is so much to learn about the college application process that managing the process can not only be overwhelming to students, but to parents as well. Stressful may be an understatement. The college selection process is a culmination of thirteen years of schooling – kindergarten through 12th grade. Children spend over 2,300 days in school leading up to the process and one could say this is the true final exam for higher education. In fact, our children only get one good shot at it from high school, so we want to make it count. But how?

What do all of these terms mean, for example, Naviance…what is Naviance? More importantly, how are we going make a decision on the “right” college for my child? After all, there are hundreds of majors…and thousands of college choices…and let’s not even talk about how we are going to pay for this?

Oh, and the paperwork associated with the applications, and the essay, let’s not forget about the all encompassing personalized essay which is going to propel my child into the college of their choice. Yes, we would all like to put our head in the sand during the college process and try to forget that my child will be going off to college…wasn’t it just a few years ago that he/she was in diapers?

Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, parents and children need to discuss all of these items and issues. With that said, Island Trees has made it easier this year with our new course “The College Process”.

This first semester course for seniors was designed to guide students through the complex college selection and application process. This may be the most important course offered in the district. After all, if we do treat the application process as “the final exam” – then it is.

Why leave it up to chance, especially since the students spent so many years working for this opportunity. In some communities parents hire special consultants to guide their children through the process. In Island Trees, we offer this service as a course through a partnership between our Guidance and English departments. Again, “The College Process” will help students manage the entire process - starting with selecting their desired schools…organizing the paperwork…and developing a unique essay that will define each student to the various college admissions offices. This, in turn, will save countless stressful hours for parents. Although it won’t make the affordability issue any easier, the course is designed to ensure our students understand and have all of their application materials developed for the complex college application process.

If you have any questions about this course or anything else related to the college application process, please contact your child’s guidance counselor or Mr. Grande at Island Trees High School.