The spring semester is a time of transitions in college counseling. After spending a year working with the Class of 2017, we are excited to announce their college selections and celebrate their successful college search. In the coming months, you will see more announcements of students’ college choices. We celebrate as a school in the Chapel by announcing the students’ college selection, handing them a big cookie, posting a college pennant in the student center, and sending their picture out to the whole community. At Episcopal we are obviously proud of all of these students’ achievements. However, as a college counselor, I find myself most pleased with the thoughtful way our students make intentional selections of the college or university program that will serve them best.
We are similarly excited to begin with the Juniors and we will work closely together to get to the finish line. The high school years are a wonderful time for students to explore their interests, values, and goals for both college and life. Discussing these topics with your student can help both of you explore the connections between current coursework and a student’s future. Explore how an interest in a history class might fit into a future career or how A Brave New World ties in with their biology course. When a student finds an interest in the connections between subjects, the real world, and the future, he or she will better understand the paths that will soon be opening.
The better a student knows his or her values and interests, the easier the college search. The number of higher education options for students is daunting. There are over two thousand four-year colleges and universities in the United States alone. Having a general idea of what a student wants to get out of college will greatly help filter those options. Understanding where they will be comfortable but challenged and able to thrive, as both a student and young adult, will narrow the choices even further. In the end, college counselors are able to see a confident young person who has selected the best choice.
If you choose to click on news articles about colleges in the coming months, you will find references to record numbers of applications, low admit rates, and (my personal favorite) the one kid in the US who was accepted to all eight Ivy League institutions. These articles give the sense that college acceptance is a prize to win instead of a selection to make. As students pass through their school years at Episcopal and get ready to receive their cookie in Chapel, Episcopal will have taken every opportunity to help students make an intentional choice for college. They will have made a selection and can be confident in their new beginning.
Justin Fenske joined Episcopal as the Director of College Counseling in 2014 and has been in the field for nine years. Justin graduated from the University of Michigan and earned a Master’s in Education from Boston University. During this time at Episcopal, his team has implemented a comprehensive high school program priding itself on individual attention to students in all grade levels. Justin is a certified Highlands Ability Battery consultant and has also spent time developing and implementing online career and college tools for high school students in the state of Michigan and as an administrator at Boston University.