CT Today

A Counselor’s Advice for College Applications

Feeling stuck on college applications? Not sure what to do? Here are some recommended steps from a post-grad coordinator.

In a college application workshop, Ms. Gillespie assists seniors in matching their common application in Naviance.

In a college application workshop, Ms. Gillespie assists seniors in matching their common application in Naviance.

Morgan Jacobus

Morgan Jacobus

In a college application workshop, Ms. Gillespie assists seniors in matching their common application in Naviance.

Morgan Jacobus, Managing Editor

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College applications can be a stressful time for students, we can think we are behind, that we aren’t doing enough, that we aren’t doing it right, there are so many possible things to be worried about. However, no one has to go into this process alone, for there are several valuable resources provided by our school’s counseling department.

Counselors are not only aware of this stressful time, but they are also ready and equipped to help seniors through it. Not only are they prepared, but they also have realistic expectations, and understand how difficult this process can be.

“I think that students can never be fully prepared, because it is their only time being seniors, their only time applying to college, so we try to be as supportive as possible,” said Post-Grad Coordinator, Ms. Brooke Gabrielli.

While many seniors may feel behind in the application process, it is important to acknowledge that as a class, we have been observed to be, according to Gabrielli, “more productive, more on top of things than any other senior class that I have seen.” So while we may think we ourselves aren’t where we should be, collectively we are actively working towards college in a productive manner.

For guidance through the application process, there are a multitude of resources available. Observed since sophomore or junior year, seniors have a schoology group, CT Counseling Class of 2019, in which there are folders with information regarding the various post-secondary pathways, from four year college to military and CTE. However, this year there has been a new addition to the resources available to seniors: college application workshops.

“By setting that 30 minutes at the start of the day where they can just come, and we can be there to answer questions and fix any problems and then it is just done. It can take the weight off their shoulders just knowing that the technical piece of what they need to do is taken care of and done correctly, so they can focus on the other elements of their life,” said Gabrielli.

While college application attendance is required in order to send a transcript, there are other benefits as well.

“I’ve been to two of the college application workshops, the first one was really big, and the second one had a lot of clarification, so I am feeling better,” said Victoria Nawalany (12), who has just recently begun her college applications. She continued to state that she learned that she needed to set up a common application account, which she wouldn’t have been aware of if she hadn’t attended the workshop. Further, she commented on how it can be difficult to set up an appointment with a counselor when deadlines are approaching and they need information or clarification.

After having already considered colleges, and you are starting to approach applications, here is a recommended process from a counselor.

Step 1: Solidify your list to know exactly where you are applying by focusing on best fit, as well as visiting colleges.

“One thing we have noticed is that we have more seniors than we have had in the past that are applying to too many schools, ten or more, thats showing us that we aren’t finding best fit and it’s also going to become overwhelming in the process and the decision of where to attend, and it is detrimental to admissions as well.”

Step 2: Get yourself organized, what are all of the requirements that you need?

When are deadlines, do you need a letter of recommendation, do you need an essay, do you need an official transcript or an unofficial transcript, act scores, sat scores, etc?

“[This] is a big reason why seniors are really stressed right now, it’s because the organizational piece hasn’t been done well,” said Gabrielli.

Step 3: Start and complete those applications, whether through common app or the school’s application.

“While working on the application, request those letters of recommendation and make sure they are giving teachers ample amount time,” said Gabrielli.

Step 4: Come to the workshop, get Naviance set up, request transcript

Step 5: Get everything sent

Step 6: Finish with gratitude

“…to teachers who wrote letters of recommendation, show gratitude to the teachers that got you there, maybe there are teachers who are really meaningful, maybe you had a conversation that led you to apply to a certain school or career choice, or even that just led you to college,” said Gabrielli.

Second Semester: Being excited and celebrating acceptance

“Celebrate acceptance, and understand if you are not accepted, know that everything works out and you will find your fit, and then going through the process of ‘what is the absolute best fit for me,’ and putting in that deposit and moving forward,” said Gabrielli.


Though the application process can be stressful and overwhelming, it will be worth it in the end.

“[It’s a relief that the application process is over] because I don’t have to worry about anything anymore. It’s just sending in all the money now,” said future UNC freshmen, Lauren Esch (12).


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