Written by Sanskriti Bimal Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00
Preparing yourself for education beyond high school is a smart plan. Thinking about college though, can be a nightmare for most students and many aren’t sure how to tackle the process on their own. The first step? Talk to your high school counselor.
“Last spring when I was starting to make up my list of colleges, I felt a little overwhelmed because there were so many schools,” Joyce Hwang, a senior at Mineola High School said. “I didn’t know how I was going to choose which ones to apply to. My counselor helped me out by getting a sense of the kind of college I was looking for. We sat together with a book filled with colleges, and she went through each one and recommended colleges that would be a good match for me.”
School counselors have knowledge about college preparation, school selection, admission, your current education and career options. They are one of the best sources of information and advice for students who plan to go to college.
There is not one solid answer that will pave the path to acceptance to your dream college, however it will certainly steer you in the right direction if you ask your guidance counselor about standardized college-admissions tests or seek their advice about what subjects to focus on in high school.
“It is important that you take the right classes in high school,” said Dr. Whitney Smith, supervisor of guidance for the Mineola School District. “Although the courses are and will be different for every student, the most challenging courses you can take are the ones you should aim for.”
Schools often gear their electives as well as everyday classes towards certain fields, in hope of giving high school students a feel of what profession to pursue. It is essential that students make careful, wise choices in electives, according to Smith.
“There are dozens of electives; there is something for everyone. Kids have some sense what they want to do,” Smith said. “The idea is to help students choose the best course that are tailored towards their interests, aptitude and abilities.”
Smith mentioned that there are a number of scholarships, grants and financial aid available to students. Furthermore, every June at the Senior Awards Breakfast in Mineola, more than $50,000-$60,000 are awarded to deserving students.
Taylor Dalton, a sophomore at Mineola High School, was looking for answers to where and when are the best SAT prep courses taking place, what colleges are known for what majors, while Claudia Serna, a 10th-grader, said, “I’m still not too sure what I want to be when I grow up, so a worry I have is how I’m going to pick my college major.”
Karen Cordani, a counselor of Mineola High School, said, “don’t do things just for the sake of adding it onto your resume, make sure you truly like what you are doing before pursuing it.” To plan for college, Cordani suggests that students should, “be involved in as many activities you can, but don’t spread yourself too thin. Work towards a leadership role in any club or sport you find interesting. Think how this can contribute to your school and community.”
Cordani feels students should tackle subjects they are strong in but also, “challenge yourself by taking advanced courses and honors. Broaden your horizons with electives. Grades are crucial and improvement is important to show academic growth.”
For summer enrichment, she adds “every summer we publish a page on the school website where local universities and volunteer programs can get in touch with students willing to participate. Spend your summers wisely, study for the SATs but don’t forget to have fun along the way.”