Weekly Feature

2015-04-29 / Local News

Counseling and Career Centers guide students through enrollment process

Kenmore East High School students pose in front of Michigan State University’s iconic Sparty statue during a visit to the campus. Kenmore East High School students pose in front of Michigan State University’s iconic Sparty statue during a visit to the campus. The month of March was devoted to college readiness at Kenmore East High School, with opportunities for students and parents to speak to college representatives, explore the various options available in higher education and learn about the college application process.

The Kenmore East Counseling Center, led by school counselor David Coates, worked closely with students throughout the month. A culminating event — College Night 101 — provided an evening of panel discussions for students and parents led by visitors from several colleges and universities.

With 90 percent of Kenmore East graduates continuing on to higher education, college preparation is a priority for Coates. Although the most intensive programs are geared toward juniors, freshmen and sophomores are also strongly encouraged to take advantage of the School Counseling and Career centers to think ahead to college.

“Planning for their future starts now,” Coates said.

To kick off the month, counselors visited the English classrooms of all juniors to discuss the SAT/ACT exams, let them know about upcoming opportunities, and familiarize the students with the first part of the college readiness program through Naviance.

Naviance is a website designed to streamline the college process, making it easier for students, parents and teachers to access information. Through this website, students can organize their college search list, explore careers that interest them, create a resume and link to the Common Application. Teachers can also submit letters of recommendation through the site.

“The college process will be connected through Naviance,” Coates said. “Students, parents and teachers can work together.”

Naviance will also provide data that will help counselors better understand the college readiness needs of Kenmore East students. This will assist them in personalizing the college preparation process for future students.

On March 18, 65 juniors attended the National College Fair at the Buffalo Convention Center.

More than 200 colleges from across the country were represented at the event, providing the students with the opportunity to learn more about their options.

Also, 35 Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate junior students participated in a trip to Michigan State University March 19 and 20.

Coates organized and chaperoned the Michigan trip and believes it is important for students to see what college is like.

“I wanted to show them what one of the large comprehensive research universities looks like,” Coates said.

“It broadens their horizons so they know what is out there. They get to hear directly from college students who chose to go to Michigan State through the student panel. They get to experience what it is like on a college campus.”

College Night 101 was held at Kenmore East on March 31 for freshman, sophomores and juniors and their parents.

Coates invited representatives from the University at Buffalo, Buffalo State College, Michigan State University, Marist College, Ithaca College, Erie Community College and Niagara County Community College to provide a variety of viewpoints during a panel discussion.

On average, colleges and universities accept 60 to 70 percent of applicants each year but, as Coates pointed out, this varies by institution. He said it is important for students and their parents to know that some colleges are more selective than others. Even colleges that have open admission, like ECC and NCCC, have certain programs that have specific admission requirements.

Coates said the emphasis was on “searching, deciding and applying” during College Night 101. Approximately 140 students and parents attended the event, and Coates received positive feedback.

While parents are usually more concerned about financing college, students can become anxious navigating the application process.

“Our job as counselors is to work through that,” Coates said.

In fact, Coates feels that, as student begin the college preparation process, they should be “searching and dreaming.” Optimism and excitement in looking forward to the college years are part of the goal.

While March was a busy month, the college readiness process continues.

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