Counterpoint: Do students start college preparations too early?

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Aaron Bialer, Staff Assistant

As sophomores sat at their first Naviance lesson recently, many asked the same simple question: why so soon?

They do not yet understand the long-term benefits of such early college application preparation.

It is entirely understandable that the school starts prepping for college applications so early.

To successfully assess the needs of each student and determine what colleges are right for them, guidance counselors need time.

A year is not enough time to develop such a full analysis of one’s personality, and starting college preparations early is beneficial in allowing counselors to develop more personal relationships with their students before helping them apply to college.

Additionally, students do not have the time during junior or senior year to be analyzed in such a way.

Dealing with difficult classes, college applications, SATs, and planning a senior experience, seniors are stressed out enough without having to worry about college applications and guidance recommendations.  The Schreiber staff eases these tense years by preparing us early.

“If students get prep out of the way early, then they can sit around and be lazy senior year,” said junior Kahaf Bhuiyan.  “I know I’m going to be lazy next year.”

If the guidance department were to not set us up so early for applications, those that suffer from early onset incurable senioritis would struggle to get by during first semester.

“Students won’t be overwhelmed by the layout of Naviance in junior year, having already dealt with it as sophomores,” said math teacher Ms. Tina Gallagher.  “Also, students already know information about the colleges they may be interested in.”

Early prepping also allows students to understand how they are doing in school and what they need to change.

“By setting up Naviance early, the school allows us to track how we are doing from the very beginning,” said junior Ben Pan.  “For example, if a student is given and taught to understand their poor GPA as a freshman, they have time to turn it around by sophomore or junior year.”

Students can find out how much they need to do to get into the college of their dreams.  Identifying different strengths and weaknesses early allows students to take the necessary steps to prepare themselves to apply to college.

Analyzing themselves based on Naviance or counselor suggestions, students will have motivation to turn their grades around, participate in more extracurricular activities, or get involved in new subjects they had not heard of until looking at college majors.

They can also find out about special college opportunities.  Many schools have certain programs that require attention long before the application deadline.

For example, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) offers students various scholarships for army enrollment.

In order to apply to such programs, students must conduct research and, for some more selective schools, get an advantage from going to certain programs before the application process begins.

Similarly, athletes hoping for athletic scholarships need to meet with coaches early on in their high school careers.  Starting college preparations early forces potential student athletes to consider taking these steps.

In fact, on occasion, such early visits can lead to early scholarships, conveniently assuring students of their athletic future.

Preparing students early for college cannot be seen in a negative light.

It gives time to guidance counselors, removes some of the stress in junior and senior years, and allows students to understand their goals and opportunities.  It dissipates stress and makes the difficult college process much easier.