The college process can be daunting, exciting, fun and overwhelming. Finding the right college requires students and families to explore personal priorities and to research a variety of college options. One of the best resources available to assist students can be their school counselor.
For the past year, the East Rockaway Guidance Department has extended the college exploration advisement process beyond the counseling office by providing campus visit opportunities to students. The best way to know if a college is a good fit it to get on campus.
Beginning in April 2013 and continuing through April 2014, East Rockaway High School students were given the chance to visit large universities, small liberal arts colleges, urban and suburban options, and SUNY campuses. The guidance department arranged a visit to Sacred Heart University in Connecticut where students were able to learn about the “Pioneers” and what makes that campus unique. They were able to experience life at Sarah Lawrence College, where Rahm Emmanuel and Vera Wang earned degrees. The students traveled to SUNY New Paltz and met up with East Rockaway High School graduates while touring the campus, and they explored the diversity offered at St. John’s University in a more urban setting.
Each campus experience afforded the students a chance to learn about admission criteria and program offerings during information sessions conducted by the admission staff before touring the campus and enjoying a meal in the campus commons. As students traveled back to East Rockaway, discussions about the different college experiences could be heard on the bus.
Some students connected with the large community offered at Stony Brook University while others felt at home on the Quinnipiac campus among the student athletes they watched walking to class or studying in the comfortable lounges.
Over the past year, the guidance counselors have brought students to nine colleges including Farmingdale State College, SUNY Old Westbury and Adelphi University in addition to the campuses mentioned previously. Where will we go in the 2014-2015 school year? Stay tuned.
Mona Hecht is the Director of Guidance at East Rockaway Jr./Sr. High School