And So It Begins: Juniors Start College Counseling

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Patrick Jamal Elliott

The start of the second semester marked the passing of the “college process” baton. As seniors eagerly await college responses and say goodbye to the long process of applying to schools, juniors are greeted with what is just the beginning of their college procedures.

A new College Counseling class welcomed the class of 2015, as we all looked at our schedules this 2nd semester. Although a small step in the college process, this class opens the door to the final and probably most stressful 1 and a half years of our high school careers. Seniors laugh at our new predicament as they reminisce about how they ran around the school flustered to finish those College Counseling assignments they left until the last minute.

There has been a lot of talk surrounding College Counseling; mainly, the homework given out. A lot of students in the junior class wonder if it is really necessary to ask certain questions provided in the Student Profile Form.

I got a chance to sit down and talk with the College Counselors in an attempt to get an idea of why certain things are solicited from us. The following are responses from Ms. Pleshette and Ms. O’Malley when they were asked why we have to answer questions like “what is your ideal Project Week?”

“Some of the reasons why we ask some these seemingly esoteric questions is because everyone has trouble answering ‘if you could be anything when you grow up, what would it be.’ Everyone has a hard time answering that, but people don’t have a hard time talking about what they would love to learn if they get to pick it. P Week is one of those experiences at Latin where you get to learn from choice. So asking about your ideal P Week helps us figure out what kind of communities you would fit in, it helps us get you articulating your dreams and aspirations to other adults and ultimately it helps us get to know you better.”

-Ms. Pleshette

“I think that it’s important as a College Counseling office for us to get to know you. I think that asking questions that are outside the box gives a better understanding into who you are. I’m kind of biased, as I came into the college process with one set idea. I knew what I was doing and no one was going to stop me…and it was because someone gave me something like this; they took the time to get to know me and were then able to make recommendations for me that ended up changing my life.

-Ms. O’Malley

After hearing these explanations I understood a lot more about why we were requested to provide this info. I think the majority of high school students don’t have a definite plan of the next 10 years of their life; instead of forcing us to come up with that layout, the Student Profile Form attempts to get to know us now, as we are, in hopes that our answers will give our counselors a projected view of what we want to become and what we want in life.

I continued the Q & A by asking why Latin decides to start the College Counseling process so late in our high school careers. At such a prestigious school like Latin, it surprises me that we weren’t taking college oriented classes during our earlier years in high school. Ms. Pleshette responded by saying:

“The more early you do it the more likely you are going to lean toward answers that are not necessarily going to stick. We want to meet you as you’re evolving at the highest point possible, while there’s still time.”

I think every high schooler would agree that the things they liked in 6th grade are far from their interests now. We are way more mature than we were in middle school, so it only makes sense that we are more mature than we were when we first started high school. The College Counseling office waits until we are ready to make life-changing decisions before they confront us about our future.

In effort to ease the minds of my fellow classmates (and myself) I finally asked what Ms. Pleshette felt was the best advice she could give juniors just starting this process.

“Courage. The bravery to think differently, the bravery to ask your own questions that are yours and yours alone. Somewhere in there is the voice that’s really yours and it takes a bit of courage to tap into that.”

-Ms. Pleshette

After the interviews with both Ms. Pleshette and Ms. O’Malley, I have a better understanding of what goes on in the College Counseling offices. It isn’t just about finding the best schools. It’s about finding the best school for each individual. To do that our college counselors are willing to go the extra mile and form interpersonal relationships with every student that walks through their door; a fact that all Latin students should be grateful for.

So, class of 2015, relax, we’re in good hands.

Thanks to Ms. Pleshette and Ms. O’Malley for taking the time to talk to me.]]>