College counseling for crusaders
Christian Felan ’23
As students at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory, we are provided with a collection of amazing personal college counselors, as well as a college readiness program that works with students and assists them in the next step of their education. Our college counseling department, whom most students begin to interact with their sophomore year, help guide us through the process of preparing for and applying to college. With the help of our team of college counselors, as well as several online programs and resources, Strake Jesuit has sent its graduates to some of the most prestigious universities in the country. With that in mind, it is amazing to learn all about what our college counseling department does to ensure that its students are on the path to a bright future after graduating from Strake Jesuit.
Mr. Jeff Fuller, The Director of College Counseling at Strake Jesuit, explained what his department does, and what role they play in a student’s time here at Strake Jesuit.
“We try to spend time with the students mapping out their plans after high school,” he said. “Ninety-nine percent of students here at SJ go on to receive a higher education, and it is important that we start planning as early as possible.”
The ability to begin planning for college early has shown to be very helpful for both the student and their parents. In today’s world of applications, there are many factors considered in the admissions process, so it is important that students know what they need and when they need it.
“As early as sophomore year, we try to start fine tuning students’ college search,” Mr. Fuller said. “This includes looking into possible majors, standardized testing, course selection, and building up your transcript. It is important that we stay up to date with current trends in the admission process and make sure that our SJ families are informed on their son’s status.”
At SJ, our College Readiness classes involve many programs and lectures that help us prepare for our college applications. However, Mr. Fuller notably emphasized the importance of introducing different bits of information at the right time.
“We try to have a good sense of what topics of discussion are most effective for different grade levels,” he said. “We could talk to sophomores about essay writing and interpreting test scores, but they’d forget all about it by the spring of that same school year.”
Mr. Fuller also recognizes that a large number of Strake Jesuit students have had reservations about the SARA classes, but he explained that this program has been adjusted to better suit the attention span of a high schooler.
“Last year, too much in-class time was given to SARA,” he said. “We didn’t want to babysit students, so this year we trust our students that they will complete the program on their own time. This allows for more class time dedicated to important information that may have otherwise been overlooked, as well as more time for students’ questions.”
Despite the success our college counseling department has had preparing students for a higher education, there have been constant changes to better suit the students.
“Like I said, we have moved many programs which were previously taking up class time to individual work,” Mr. Fuller said. “This has really opened up more opportunities for personal assistance with students, as well as the freedom to talk about different parts of the admissions process that may be of good use to students. The more time our counselors get to have with individual students, the better that kid will understand what he needs to do to make the most out of his applications.”
However, just like every other department at Strake Jesuit, our college counselors are always looking for ways to improve their classes, their objective being to provide us with the best possible understanding of the wide range of possibilities for a higher education and the importance of a strong application. Mr. Fuller noted that these unique times require special modifications to our college counseling program, but that the college counseling staff is ready to adapt in order to provide SJ students with the smoothest transition possible from high school to college.
“As of right now, we are primarily focused on adjusting to the current changes in the admissions process,” Mr. Fuller said. “We understand that current circumstances have had a drastic effect on connecting with universities. But that is why it is so important that we learn how to adjust, so that we can teach our students how to adjust as well.”