By Juan Carlos Ramirez ’18
The College Counseling Department has been striving to provide more college information as the department has improved through the years.
Three years ago the counseling department addded freshman advisors and assigned “college counselors” to every sophomore, junior and senior. This changed the traditional “guidance counselor” approach.
College counselor and Chair of the department Mrs. Katie Widbin said that the department does not have much to change three years into the new system but still has areas to grow.
“I don’t think we have much in place to change specifically at this time,” Mrs. Widbin said. “ Every year we reflect on the prior year, and we think about what is working really well, why it’s working really well and places for opportunity to grow … I think we still have opportunities to do more collectively with our Spanish speaking parents and families. Getting more of our information in Spanish.”
Mrs. Widbin said that she doesn’t want a language barrier to be an obstacle to feel informed and comfortable with the college process.
Seniors are usually the higher priority for college counselors since they’re almost out the door.
“The seniors are in the most urgent situation, where they are in the thick of the culmination … a lot of the one-on-one meetings are reserved for seniors and juniors … it’s like a graduated scale,” Mrs. Widbin said.
National Merit Semifinalist Brandon Theodorou ’17 said that his counselor has been a great asset for his application process.
“My freshman year I didn’t really use my counselor as much as I should have,” Theodorou said. “But then it switched and [Mrs. Widbin] has been great guiding through college material since junior year. Now this year, it’s more focused on essays and stuff.”
College fairs are available for students and gives them the minimum information about that respective university, as well as information about scholarships and financial aid.
“I think it’s like a first step,” Theodorou said. “You can’t learn everything about a college, but it’s great to see the masses of them and build a list from that.”
The College Counseling Department has also been trying to grow in is the area of visiting colleges.
Mrs. Widbin said that they organized trips to the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University Oct. 18.
They surveyed seniors to see what colleges they were interested in and, from that list, the College Counseling Department planned accordingly.
“Not everyone has been able to get to a campus outside of ASU … It is a little bit more tricky to get to Tucson or Flagstaff,” Mrs. Widbin said. “ We sent a survey saying ‘Hey you have the day off on Wednesday, Oct. 19. If you are interested, we would like to offer you the opportunity to travel with a counselor on a bus to Flagstaff or Tucson.’ We also surveyed Grand Canyon University … Our goal in this is to inform students about the opportunities in state. This is our first time trying this.”