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Senior Planning

Colleges from Illinois talk to concerned seniors about their post secondary plans.

Colleges from Illinois talk to concerned seniors about their post secondary plans.

Jason Markey

Jason Markey

Colleges from Illinois talk to concerned seniors about their post secondary plans.

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Anxious seniors buried under homework and post secondary school applications wonder what is next for them. Are they prepared? Are they taking the necessary steps? Where can they get help?

Before they realize they aren’t going about it right, it’s often too late. Senior Grace Pasterz talked about where she’s at in the process: “I really haven’t started applying yet, and there are a lot of factors for me to consider.”

Now if you are someone who hasn’t started, don’t freak out. Just understand that you need to start as soon as possible. East Leyden counselor Ms. Alicia Funes stated, “Students shouldn’t avoid this process because you aren’t alone. You can really talk to anyone at Leyden about the process; they all went to school and went through what you guys are right now. ”

Senior Sandra Castellanos has taken that invitation. “I’ve applied to multiple out-of-state schools, along with making sure I keep in contact with my counselor,” she said. She’s expressed satisfaction with what Leyden offers for students planning beyond senior year. “I really like that they offer workshops, like application mania, and FAFSA mania. Along with that, I really like how the counselors are very accessible,” she said.

Funes agreed and named additional opportunities. “Group guidance is a new thing that we started last year,” she said, “and it gives each student an equal opportunity to have a viable post secondary plan upon graduation.”

Yet while the resources exist, Ms. Funes explained that students need to be focused to take advantage of them.“Definitely being proactive, and keeping yourself accountable is [the] number one [requirement for students]. So having that mindset that you’re going to complete the steps to solidify this plan. Along with that you need to make sure you are utilizing your resources, and meeting with your counselor to figure out what those resources are.”

Students must also include parents early on, taking the initiative to include them in the  process. Will your parents be able to help pay? Are they willing to let you go out-of-state? What can they do to help? Communication is key to this process. Ms. Funes stated, “Making sure your parents are on board with you, even if they aren’t as familiar in the process as you.”

Seniors and counselors agreed that the early months of school are a time to act, not one to wait. Ms. Funes explained that it should be an exciting time, even though it’s stressful: “As long as you are following your passion and are doing your best here at school and outside of school, along with reaching for help, you are going to feel/be ready come senior year with all those options.”




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Senior Planning