School Counselors Provide College Help for Seniors

Resources include Q&As at lunch, information sessions for parents, a website for students


Mrs. Couch and Ms. Sayed have created a website for seniors

Muntara Singh, Staff Writer

Now that the 2022-23 school year is underway, seniors are preparing for life beyond Morgan. For many students, making post-graduation plans and deciding on career paths can seem like a daunting process. Understanding options, navigating the Common Application, and making financial decisions are just a few of the concerns students have. Luckily, the Guidance Office is here to help: School Counselor Colleen Couch (last names A-K) and School Counselor Moheba Sayed (last names L-Z) are supporting students and parents through CommonApp help at lunch, an information session with a financial aid officer, and even a website they created to guide students through their post-graduation options.

school counselors sit at a table under the monitor
Mrs. Couch and Ms. Sayed sit under the monitor at lunch to offer college help.

Every Wednesday and Thursday during all lunch waves, Mrs. Couch and Ms. Sayed will be sitting under the monitor next to the entrance to the auditorium. They are making themselves available during lunch so seniors can approach them with questions about college applications, and so far they have spoken to a few concerns. Ms. Sayed said that she has been asked about the difference between applying Early Action and Early Decision. Mrs. Couch said that students were asking about letters of recommendation, such as how many were needed and how to request them on Naviance. 

Mrs. Couch recommended students look through the website that the Guidance Office created, as it contains readily available information on many steps in the college application process. Students can find a checklist of steps, tutorials on using Naviance, a brag sheet template to fill out for teacher recommenders, tips for improving SAT scores, and even a link to English teacher Leslie Chausse’s website guiding students through the college essay process. Students considering paths besides college can watch videos exploring post-graduation options, find information on technical and trade schools in Connecticut, and even look through military recruitment options. Ms. Sayed said the goal is to “make sure that we [school counselors] are accessible to students, and that we’re giving big chunks of information but then answering those really detailed questions one-on-one.”

school counselors' website with college resources for seniors
Mrs. Couch and Ms. Sayed have created a website for seniors with college and career resources

On Thursday, September 22, at 6:00 P.M., Mrs. Couch and Ms. Sayed have a Financial Aid Night planned.  Jodi Seymour from the Financial Aid Office at Sacred Heart University will explain the process of applying for financial aid, when the deadlines are, and how admissions officers put together packages for students. Ms. Sayed pointed out that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Portal will open on October 1. The night was planned to inform parents about the process before they take the first steps. She said that while it “typically is a little more applicable for parents and guardians,” students are welcome to join and learn about the process as well. 

On Wednesday, September 28, at 7:45 A.M., Mrs. Couch and Ms. Sayed will be hosting a Senior Parent Morning to share information that has been shared with students already so that there is a collective understanding. Ms. Sayed said that the school counselors want to give parents and guardians an “outlet for asking questions.” She noted that in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the school counselors want to take an opportunity to check in with parents, see how support can be provided, and “plan not just for college but also their students’ future.”

school counselors stand in the auditorium
Mrs. Couch and Ms. Sayed held an assembly to share resources with seniors

On Tuesday, September 20, during Advisory period, Mrs. Couch and Ms. Sayed held an assembly with the senior class to discuss the resources available to them. They shared results of a poll taken with 80 responses from the 153-student class, which found that 28.7% of students need help with their college list and 8.8% of students are unsure of their post-graduate plans. They presented the steps students should take depending on where they felt they were in the process, and informed them of their plans to have check-in meetings with every student in the month of October. Mrs. Couch encouraged seniors to reach out whenever questions came up. Ms. Sayed’s final advice was: “Take a deep breath. It’s going to be okay. We are here to help you. Reach out to the people who can help!”