Counselors Prepare Students For The Future

Madison Deslatte, Reporter

Life after graduation is different for everyone which is one of the reasons counselors help guide students towards their desired path throughout high school.

On a regular basis, counselors foster college readiness and provide academic, emotional counseling services and more. According to the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, family engagement strategies lead to school improvement and increased student achievement, particularly in areas with underserved communities. 

“We try to inform students about things they should focus on the most throughout high school and assist them with preparations that will suit their individual needs whether they go to college or not. Attendance is key,” College & Career Counselor, Stacey Nielsen said. 

However, in 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 69.7 percent of graduates enrolled in college.

“I want to go to college so I try to stay as focused as possible because I know [it will] benefit me in the future. There are many interesting classes that can help guide you in the right direction,” Judita Jelinkova a Czech Republic foreign exchange student said.

According to the CollegeBoard and 2017 AP Program results, more than 1.17 million students in the class of 2017 took 3.8 million AP exams in public high schools nationwide. 

“The majority of the students and parents I talk to whose students took honors, AP, and dual credit classes I feel were well prepared. Students that I find aren’t prepared enough are those who decided to make senior year an easy year or take a gap year.  They pulled back and took easy classes, because they wanted to have fun which is kind of a rude awakening when they go off to college and it’s hard again. I think it’s important to keep yourself in that habit of studying,” Nielsen said. 

As gap year interests have become more popular, students who took a gap year were more likely to graduate with a higher GPA than those who went straight to college. 

“Some students feel the need to find their inner-self so they take a gap year after graduation. This allows them to travel, do volunteer work or work and save money before college,” Nielsen said. 

Studies have shown that 90 percent of students who took a gap year returned to college within a year. 

“You have to be disciplined enough to make yourself go back,” Nielsen said. 

Tools such as MissouriConnections and YouScience on Scoir help match students to their best-fit careers. Programs such as CAPS, Lewis and Clark and Project Lead The Way also allow students to explore various careers.

“Using online resources, taking challenging classes and exploring different career paths will expand your horizons and help you figure out what you want to do in the future,” Nielsen said. 

Many factors influence academic success such as communication and organizational skills. Peer interactions and getting involved have also benefited students. 

“I think trying your absolute best in everything you do in high school is so important, especially for scholarships. Starting early on will better prepare you for the future, no matter what you might decide to do,” Jelinkova said.