Guest Commentary: Crown Point High School provides boost in navigating college admissions

Date: 3/20/2017 through 3/20/2017

March 19, 2017

Today, many students in our schools have grown up taking private music lessons, participating on community sports teams and having their day-to-day activity calendars fully scheduled by adults. As high school graduation nears, many parents want that same kind of attention for their son or daughter when it comes to planning for their post-secondary experience. Aside from figuring out how to pay for college, the biggest stressor tends to involve the college application and admissions processes. Students and parents can get overwhelmed with the deadlines, essays, financial aid figures, recommendation letters, and scholarship opportunities. It should come as no surprise that some look for an expert to help guide them through the process. As a result, there are a number of for-profit consultants who attempt to provide ‘post-secondary guidance’ for families as they navigate through the maze that is the college admissions process.

They shouldn’t have to look outside the schoolhouse. Crown Point High School added a College and Career Counselor to provide this guidance for students and parents. Ms. Johanna Hess is a National Board Certified Counselor, licensed Indiana school counselor, ASCA College Admission Specialist, and former college admission counselor. Since the beginning of the 2015-16 school year, she has been meeting with parents and students regarding the college planning and application process, coordinating visits for college representatives, delivering seminars for students and parents, and organizing college and career fairs. Ms. Hess also develops programming for our Resource Period, where students meet once per week and complete activities geared towards college and career readiness. Activities include building a four-year plan, resume, plotting out post-secondary goals, and developing skills as simple as how to look somebody in the eye while shaking their hand in a job interview.

Her role compliments the work of our school guidance counselors, who provide academic and emotional support for students. The department has recently been awarded the Indiana Gold Star Award and the American School Counselor Association RAMP Award for excellence in student guidance services. Collectively, we are striving for 100 percent post-secondary placement for our students. This means more than simply getting students through the front door of college admissions. It is our responsibility to ensure students have the skills to succeed once they get there. Ms. Hess has helped to reinforce our high school culture in which college and career readiness is the expectation for everyone. The Class of 2017 looks to exceed the accomplishments of last year’s graduating class in which more than 70 percent of students earned college credit and another 25 percent completed a year of college while still in high school. We will issue more than 10,000 college credits. We expect this to become a reality due to the hard work of our students and a coordinated effort from our teachers, guidance counselors, support staff, and our College and Career Counselor.

Chip Pettit is Principal at Crown Point High School.

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