College and career counselors sound off on application season: CHS experts recommend research, diligence and flexibility

The time has come for Carmel High School seniors to start thinking about college; however, there is still hope for those who put off college research until now.

Starting the search for a college is difficult. However for seniors, there is wide range of options and techniques for getting started on the path to college.

The CHS College and Career Center is full of helpful resources and counselors who are there to help students succeed in finding a path to college. College and Career counselor Darren Johnston, who has worked with students for eight years at Carmel High, has some advice.

“One of the best places to start is by simply visiting college campuses nearby,” Johnston says. “It’s kinda like dating.”

Finding likes and dislikes is important for seniors in the search for a college that fits them, Johnston says, and he encourages students to visit College and Career Center specialist Patricia Hunt to further investigate colleges.

Hunt recommends students use College Week Live, a service that connects students to over 200 universities across the nation with information on campus life, courses and financial aid programs.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, according to new college counselor Jeff Rogers. Before students can get into a four-year college students must complete the A through G requirements paired with an ACT or SAT score for the application to be considered.

Both Rogers and Johnston recommend students work to make their applications more competitive with jobs, community service, sports and other extracurricular activities.

Going directly to a four-year college is not the only way, says Rogers, proposing some alternatives to going straight to a four-year.

“There are other options. I would think though that community college has some gate options,” the new staff member says. “If not, you could take a gap year. Gap years should be connected to goals and objectives.”

College may not be the best option for some. All the counselors encourage students to find a passion or skill at which they excel and stick to it. Rogers stresses that setting goals and staying motivated are keys to being useful whether in college or in the workforce.

Rogers also emphasizes that learning skills is essential to be successful in the world.

Johnston also explains that the college requirements differ a bit from Carmel High’s graduation requirements.

“[They’re] two different things,” Johnston remarks. “Graduation requirements are a little different.”

Johnston explains that graduation requirements are a lot less demanding, although many A through G standards do apply.

“For example, Consumer Math doesn’t count for four-year college,” Johnston says regarding the course. “But you can take it to graduate Carmel High.”

For students who worry about getting into college or students who may not want to pursue college, there is hope of graduating CHS and a vast array of options after high school. All the counselors understand that going directly to college isn’t for everyone, but all do strongly encourage students to pursue some form of high education at some point in their lives.