Counselors and college applications

Luis Sy

(November 15, 2012) — With the end of the first semester just around the corner, many seniors are feeling the stress of turning in their college applications. Some of Clark’s seniors are turning to counselors for help and advice. Counselors Karine Turdjian and Susan Howe can often be seen in their offices, helping students decide on their colleges and their futures. “Most students are waiting until the last minute” Howe said, “but others are being responsible.” Seniors applying to colleges face different difficulties and obstacles. However, most colleges and universities require similar elements in their applications. Many students have told Howe that they are undecided on what colleges they want to apply to. “Colleges students apply to are mostly spread out, specifically to UCs and Cal States,” Howe said. “Don’t apply to colleges you don’t want to go to.” Different financing options are available for students in different types of colleges. “Public colleges are less expensive than private colleges because they are partially funded by the state.” Turdjian said. “Award or grant money is more if you go to a private college; it’s different if you go to a public or community college.” Students also take various factors into consideration when deciding what colleges to apply to. “Students have to consider small schools versus bigger schools, schools close to home, school ratings, reputation, it all depends on preference,” Turdjian said. “The colleges students apply to really depends, students have their dream schools, target schools and safety schools.” Turdjian recommends a booklet called “Best Schools in the Nation” to all seniors applying to colleges. Seniors filling out college applications have come to the counselors with various difficulties. “I think the biggest problem students are running into is they are overwhelmed about how much they have to write,” Howe said. The college application process ranges from filling out basic information to writing essays. Students are also considering the financial factors of applying to different colleges. “Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the number one thing for families to apply to,” Turdjian said. “Students can also get money from the government for college. In California, it’s called the Cal Grant. It depends on your family’s income.” Some seniors are coming to Howe with basic questions. “Most of the questions students ask me are answered in the (college application) directions,” Howe said. “I have literally pulled out the directions and said, ‘Look, read.’” Turdjian’s advice to juniors is to attend the open houses of colleges in the summer and visit some schools to narrow down possible college choices. “Juniors should prepare for the SAT in the spring, May or June,” Turdjian said. “They have three chances to take it if they are not happy with their scores.” Howe’s advice to all seniors applying for college is to choose wisely and to find a balance. “It’s important to keep things in perspective, don’t over-apply and don’t under-apply,” Howe said. “Think things through and choose colleges wisely.”