College kickoff: Juniors begin college process


Photo credit: Cadence Callahan

College banners hang on the wall of Archer’s admissions hallway and represent the various institutions Archer alumni have attended. Juniors are working with college guidance counselors to begin the process by attending informational presentations and scheduling one-on-one meetings with their counselors. 

By Cadence Callahan, Voices Editor

As Archer students are a month into their second semester, college guidance has become a regular aspect of the junior class’s school week. Director of College Guidance Ivan Hauck and Assistant Director of College Guidance Shanell Leggins are advising students and parents through the process of researching and selecting potential colleges.

Juniors began Archer’s college guidance course in December. During the sessions, students work with Hauck and Leggins to begin the college process with different opportunities and resources, such as the website SCOIR, which allows students and families to research prospective colleges.

On Jan. 24, Hauck and Leggins presented the first installment of their Lunch & Learn series, which are informal meetings held once a month on Mondays during lunch. The meetings will be led by various counselors, education partners and experts from higher education. These meetings are open for all ninth through 11th grade students to attend.

During the meeting, Hauck and Leggins introduced a slideshow presentation titled “12 Summer Activities that Impress Colleges and Universities.” The slides contained information for students to explore when thinking about potential summer activities. Some of the recommended activities encouraged students to start a business, participate in an internship or take online college courses.

Junior Meera Mahidhara, who attended the Lunch & Learn meeting, said she gained a lot of useful information and is looking forward to future presentations.

“I thought the meeting was very informational,” Mahidhara said. “I was able to learn about the many different ways I can get involved during the summer like starting a business or traveling abroad.”

Shortly after the meeting, Hauck and Leggins sent students an email of the presentation with various links and websites for them to explore.

Along with the Lunch & Learn meeting, Jan. 24 also marked the start of the online SAT Test Prep provided by Archer. Test prep is offered to all junior students, and the online tutoring sessions take place after school on both Monday and Wednesday from 3:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. During these sessions, students review sample SAT questions and focus on strategic problem-solving skills.

Junior Chloe Terani said the course has been extremely helpful, as she has learned a variety of different tactics when approaching questions on standardized tests.

“I think the test prep is really useful, and I feel a lot more prepared for the SAT now that I’m taking this course,” Terani said. “It’s been really fun taking the course after school with friends.

On Jan. 26, Hauck and Leggins hosted the Junior College Kickoff. The meeting was held on Zoom and started promptly at 6:30 p.m. and ended at 7:30 p.m. The meeting was held on Zoom and was mandatory for all juniors; parents were also highly encouraged to attend. During the meeting, Hauck and Leggins informed parents about future meetings, statistics of acceptance at specific colleges, common misconceptions about the college process, and their role as counselors to ease any nerves students or parents might have about the process.

Terani said the meeting was very informative, and she appreciated the presentation which featured Archer students’ advice on researching colleges and the application process.

“I thought the Junior College Kickoff meeting was insightful, and continued to deepen my understanding of the college process and start to introduce my family to it as well,” Terani said.  “I especially thought the slideshow presentation about other Archer students’ applications and interests in colleges were really interesting and helpful.”

Counselors Hauck and Leggins have also begun meeting with students for one-on-one meetings. The meetings take place during the students’ lunch and free periods, as well as during US-FLX Block, and are held in their respective counselor’s offices. During these meetings, students work with their counselor to discuss academic courses and personal interests, complete various questionnaires and research colleges.

Junior Gizelle Moran said her one-on-one meetings with her counselor have been encouraging and said she feels like both counselors are there to support her whenever she needs assistance.

“I think there’s a real connection that’s about to form, and it feels really good having someone supporting me along the way,” Moran said. “It feels like [the counselors] are very interested in and invested in my future, and they’re trying to help me out.”