Lying amongst the pile of life-changing decisions there is one that, to most high school students, is close on the horizon: Where should I go to college? Choosing the right college is a task that consumes hundreds of hours of pondering and planning for many students—and hopefully, in the end, the decision sets each and every person on the right path to adulthood.
“The whole process is never smooth for anyone; however, it’s one of the biggest learning experiences that has really helped me grow as a person,” said Junior Farah Wells.
Director of College Counseling Deborah Flanagan and Assistant College Counselor Tiffany DuSaules head St. Martin’s Episcopal School’s college counseling program. They organize college representative visits on campus, give presentations on the college process to parents, and meet with each student individually to discuss their college plans.
“The college process begins largely in the 10th grade when the sophomores go on a field trip to Tulane (University) in order to start them on thinking towards college,” Flanagan said. “Then, beginning junior year, students can sign up for meetings to visit with the admissions officers from colleges from all over the country as well as some international schools.”
DuSaules also incorporates college counseling into the life skills class students take in their junior or senior year.
“One of the coolest things we do is allow the students in the class to take a survey or test called the Strong Inventory that supplies you with a really neat report with the kinds of jobs you would be good at and majors that you would enjoy in college,” DuSaules said.
Going through the college process is hard enough when it comes to making the big picture decisions, such as what college a student wants to attend. However, St. Martin’s Episcopal School’s college process extends even further beyond simply worrying about course selections; the college counselors discuss smaller details of college life with the students.
“We talk about (…) how to pick a roommate, how to deal with conflict, and how to deal with a roommate if they like to go to bed late but you don’t,” DuSaules said.
Mya Carter (’15) believes that college is different from high school, and it is wise to prepare yourself to take on new responsibilities.
“Looking back, with three years of college experience now, one of the biggest struggles of mine was managing my time,” Carter said. “It can really sneak up on you when you’ve got three papers due and a major test all within three days of each other. Things are very different than high school. People aren’t going to be on your back, so you have to do things yourself. You have to learn how to be an adult and be independent.”