By Anna Jenkins, College Adviser at Riverside High School | February 22, 2017
As a First-Year College Adviser, learning from the more experienced College Advisers during training was extremely beneficial, but you never really know what to expect until you are out in the high school environment to see for yourself. I believe the trials and errors I have faced thus far may have been even more enlightening than anticipated. For example, during my first semester serving at Riverside High School, I met with the seniors 1:1 and gave them information to facilitate their success in their last year in high school and beyond. They appreciated the information, but I could tell that this was the first time that they heard it (there were numerous changes from the years prior to the college system such as differing protocols and deadlines) and they were overwhelmed. They came back to me multiple times to talk through everything that they needed to do, such as checking to make sure they had all of the necessary minimum requirements to attend a four-year university. When the second semester came around and we were given the goal to meet with all of our juniors, I realized that this would be the perfect opportunity to reach out to them and proactively provide them with the information they would need for their senior year.
I got together the senior year timeline that I had created the semester prior, a list of most of North Carolina’s college’s average GPA, ACT scores, and SAT scores for the admitted Freshman class of 2016, and tidbits of information about the FAFSA and scholarships. I also wanted to be sure to reiterate to them the importance of the upcoming ACT. Last year, quite a few seniors got well below that 17 mark because they fell asleep during the test or did not fully realize the importance. A lot of them regretted not taking it as seriously, and that is just what I was trying to avoid with the juniors. When I first started meeting with the juniors, I was ecstatic because over 30% of them signed up the first day using the Google Appointment calendar. Just within the first couple of weeks, I met with numerous students who were excited about the college process and were grateful to have received the information before their senior year. They could better prepare, know to take the upcoming February ACT seriously, and be sure to strive to make that 2.5 GPA minimum mark for the universities by their senior year.
Starting to prepare for college and post-graduation plans in general before your senior year is key to being successful. Although I still have a few junior meetings left, I am happy that I will be able to have the opportunity to meet my goal of meeting with 100% of them before the February 28th ACT. I also feel a sense of relief that I will be there to help them better prepare for their senior year throughout the remainder of this semester and that the next college adviser will have a group of driven, excited seniors to assist on their road to college success.