College Counseling

With the craziness of college decisions just around the corner, STA’s college counseling department helps students through their application processes.

by Ellie McManamy, Social Media Team

As fall passes by and the stress of college applications increases, around 98% of STA seniors impatiently await an email or letter from their desired schools. In recent years, STA graduates have attended over 60 different colleges and universities in the United States and abroad.

Senior Dianna Lawhead applied to 15 different colleges, all of which are sufficient to her list of requirements. This would not have been possible without the help of STA’s college counseling department. 

On the third floor of M&A, counselors Debi Hudson and Abigail Jelavich spend their days assisting juniors and seniors in finding the perfect college through various seminars and private meetings. 

“We start with individual appointments in the spring of junior year, and then really hit it hard senior year in terms of individual planning and application support,” Jelavich said. “Along with individually assisting students with the college search, we also run all of the practice standardized tests, do programming tied to scholarships and financial aid, and the last big thing is administering AP exams in May.” 

Each day, Hudson and Jelavich increase their knowledge of the colleges and programs students are considering, to better aid seniors with their application and decision-making processes. They do this by visiting schools or speaking with admission offices from across the country. 

According to Lawhead, without the help of this department, applying to and deciding on a college would be virtually impossible. 

“They did help me to [find] what other schools are similar but also try to find my range of schools,” Lawhead said. “They did a good job with that and helped make sure all the schools on my list [are ones] I am excited about and would be thrilled to go to.” 

Recently, college counseling introduced sophomores and juniors to the world of college applications by holding introductory seminars. In these, Hudson and Jelavich covered information regarding the ACT and SAT and how to begin the searching process. While reflecting back, Lawhead acknowledged that this proved to help her successfully kickstart the process. 

With college counseling, we were pretty informed going into [the process], so I don’t feel like there was a big piece I was missing starting off,” Lawhead said. “Definitely getting it done early and starting my research was helpful.” 

While students have the ability to be proactive, that still does not entirely prevent the inevitable stress of it all. Jelavich says that most often, students struggle with remaining organized. 

“It is super important to stay organized because applying to five to eight schools can be eight different sets of requirements,” Jelavich said. “Unlike some other countries where there is one application for every school in the country and it is very streamlined, in the US, college admissions are so decentralized.” Difficulties and roadblocks may occur, but fortunately, STA substantially prepares students for college. 

“There’s a lot of components to what makes STA college-prep,”  Jelavich said. “One is certainly the curriculum in terms of having advanced pathways with having AP classes and college or dual credit classes. The curriculum and the academic expectations prepare students for college.” 

Lawhead can attest to this. “I would definitely consider [STA] a college preparatory school. Not only because we have the option to take college courses and get credits in early, but the college counseling department really works over time and knows all of its students. [They] really take the effort to make it as easy of an experience as possible,” Lawhead said.

Most of all, the college counseling department at STA wants to make certain that students find their new home away from home. 

“My biggest piece of advice to seniors is always to remember that the college search is personal to them,” Jelavich said.  “It is not their best friend’s search, it is not their parent’s search; everybody is on a different path. There is no right or wrong, but everybody’s path is different.” 

With this in mind, it is crucial that students approach the process with an open mind and optimistic attitude. Doing so will alleviate the extra pressure associated with college applications. 

“It is what you make it,” Lawhead said. “If you go into it with a positive attitude, then you are going to have a great time.”