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From Senior Year To College: How Do I Get There From Here?



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From Senior Year To College: How Do I Get There From Here?

By Laurie Borst

On the morning of August 28, seniors and their parents converged on the high school lobby for breakfast, and then the auditorium to learn about the college application process. Neil Culhane, director of guidance, and his staff of counselors were on hand to share information and answer questions.

The guidance department had prepared a packet to handout. Among the information it contained was A Timetable for 12th Grade, “To Do” List, 10 Tips for Taking the New SAT, Tips for Writing Your College Essay, and much more.

Guidance counselor Jan English discussed college visits. “This can be as simple and anonymous as going on a tour in a large group. An overnight visit can be arranged, depending on the student’s needs,” she said.

“College reps will come at various times throughout the year to meet with students. You can sign up to speak with them in the guidance office,” Mrs English continued. “And you should meet with your guidance counselor one-on-one at the beginning of the year.”

Brett Nichols, counselor, discussed scholarships and financial aid. The Career Center keeps lists of available scholarships. “You may want to make [the Career Center] your second home, seniors,” he advised.

The evening of October 11, Financial Aid Night will take place. This will provide a great deal of information on options for financing college.

Counselor Gerry Waterbury discussed the application process. “The most important thing you must remember, is ‘Deadlines are very important!’ Don’t miss the deadlines. In guidance, we need two, and preferably three, weeks to get your transcripts together to send out for you.”

“If you haven’t asked teachers to write recommendations for you, do that ASAP. And don’t forget to write thank-you notes. It takes several hours for each recommendation, and it is not required in the teachers’ contract. Show your appreciation,” she added.

Counselor Jeff Tolson addressed creating a list of prospective schools. “If you don’t have a list yet, see us.” The counselors stressed how quickly time will pass. There is no time to delay.

Peg Ragaini, from the Career Center, talked about the value of a senior project on the college application. “There is still time to add a project. The class meets five times during the year and is graded as pass/fail. It’s a self-directed class. Find something you are passionate about and explore it,” Mrs Ragaini suggested.

Mrs Ragaini also suggested other ways to improve one’s transcript, such as internships, job shadowing, community service, EMT courses, and others. Naugatuck Valley Community College recently received a grant that will cover tuition for high school students to take specified college level courses.

All members of the guidance department stressed staying on top of deadlines, and visiting or calling the guidance office with questions that will inevitably come up.

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