Monday, April 30, 2012

Post-Secondary Information Form

Another quick deadline reminder for seniors - your Post Secondary Information Forms are due back to the counseling center by Wednesday, May 2nd.  This is a mandatory form and it provides us with the information we need for Senior Recognition Night and your Commencement Ceremony program.  Believe me, it is critical that the information we highlight for these events is accurate and we cannot do this without your help.  These forms were sent out in the senior packet that was mailed home at the beginning of April, but if you cannot find your copy, we have extras available in the WKHS Counseling and Career Center.  Please be sure that you complete both the front and back of the form.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

National Decision Day

Seniors, by now you are hopefully well aware of the fact that Tuesday, May 1st is national college decision day.  The colleges have all united in the fact that they will not require you to make decisions about where you will attend prior to May 1st, but this is one of the deadlines that is firm.  As you are aware, through the college application process each college has their own timeline and often have different application deadlines, financial aid deadlines, and announce their admission decisions at different times, but May 1st is a universal deadline among all colleges requiring students to declare their decision.  Please remember that this not only means that you have informed the college of your choice that you intend to attend their college, but it also typically includes submitting a deposit.  As you reach the final hours of your decision making window, if you need to talk out your choice with someone, please feel free to stop in and talk to me.  You can, of course, also use my books and the resources that I have in my office to help guide your decision making.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

What Should I Do This Summer?

Summer is a great time to relax and unwind from the hectic schedule of homework, studying and the general day to day expectations of school. But your summer shouldn’t just be wasted away into day after day of doing “nothing.” The summer is a perfect time to explore your passions, investigate your interests and indulge in fun activities that you might not have time for during the regular school year. As we reach the last month of school, I wanted to encourage you to start thinking about what you will do this summer to make sure that you have a productive summer and don’t spend the entire break being bored.

So, what are some ideas of how you can spend your summer? Consider taking a class (or two) in summer school. This is especially important if you are behind in credits and not doing well in school. Success rates of summer school completion are very high – in part because you are able to focus on just one subject at a time and you generally have smaller class sizes so the teacher can focus more one-on-one time with each student. If you are planning on taking a class in summer school it is important to sign up as soon as possible to make sure that you will not be closed out of the class of your choice.

Perhaps you are looking for ideas that do not involve more school… Summer vacation is a great time to expand your resume and pursue your passions by volunteering or working a summer job. Many students don’t know where to volunteer and the truth is the sky is the limit – anything that interests you has the potential for being a volunteer service project. Get creative in your approach! For ideas about existing needs for volunteers you can visit HandsOn Central Ohio. Speaking of resumes, during summer break, you should really spend an hour or two updating your resume. (And if you don’t have a resume, the summer is a great time to make a resume.)

If you are starting to consider different careers, perhaps you have a family member or friends that would allow you to shadow them for a day or two on the job to see what their particular career is really like as this will help you determine if that career is truly of interest to you.

Current juniors (Soon to be Seniors) – this summer is going to be busy as you prepare for your senior year. Hopefully you are taking the time to visit colleges from your list and getting an idea of what you think about different schools. (Don’t forget to take a picture of you somewhere on campus for me!) You can also begin drafting your college application essays and preparing for the ACT and SAT exams.

Of course, there is always spending quality time reconnecting with your family, going on vacation, reading, and even attending camps or other formal activities which can be a part of the summer for many.  If you are interested in learning about some of the camp opportunities - many of which are offered on college campuses, please be sure to check out the WKHS Counselor website as we continue adding summer enrichment experiences to the site as we receive them.

The bottom line is try to be productive this summer – at the very least it will give you great stories to share next fall when people ask you what you did over the summer.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Making the Final Decision

This is the final week for seniors who are trying to decide what college they will be attending next year. Remember, there is no right or wrong choice – it is all about what school is the best fit for you and your individual wants and needs in a college. Try to take a deep breath and relax as we head into this week. Trust yourself and know that you will be successful in the future – no matter where you end up!

As you are starting to think about your different schools and comparing and contrasting them, it is essential that you determine what you really want in a school and what is most important to you in a college. If you are still struggling with your choice, then chances are pretty good that the schools that you have narrowed your decision down to are probably relatively similar.

Take the time to go back and look at the same factors you considered when picking which schools you wanted to apply to and try to get really picky about the different factors that played into your choice. Perhaps creating a chart can help you clarify how important each factor is to you and how each school compares in that category. For example, think about the location of the school. How important is that issue to you in picking a college? The schools are likely within your comfort zone of a location from home, but when looking at two colleges consider how far or close they are from your family. What does it mean to you if the school is 10 minutes away, 4 hours away, or a flight away? How important is it to you to be able to come home for an evening, a weekend, or a holiday? You can also look at the size of the school. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of the different sizes of schools. For example, the larger school might provide additional choices and the smaller school may provide better teacher/ student ratios. What is more important to you? And if both are important to you then you will need to consider what you will do to adapt to make sure that the school will meet your needs. Consider the social life and activities on and around the campus. Is it what you picture for your college years? Most importantly, you need to figure out what categories and issues are critical to you and compare the school on those aspects.

If your school comparison charts are similar and you still can’t decide – go visit the schools again. Sit in on the classes and, if possible, arrange for an overnight visit (yes, you are running out of time for overnight visits). People watch and consider your interactions with the students on campus. Are the students friendlier at one school over the other? What about the professors that you talk to? Are they engaging and whose classes are you most interested in attending? How was school safety? What strategies are in place to help keep students safe? Which campus support staff (admissions, financial aid, etc.) is friendlier and more helpful? (While this is not necessarily a key factor it can give you an image of the school and a glimpse at their values as an academic institution.)

Ask yourself if the school will meet your academic needs, if you will have the social life you desire, and if your family can make the investment. As you are progressing through your decision making process, remember not to be shy about asking questions and getting them answered because you are entitled to feel confident in your decision. This is your choice. You are not a victim in this process – you are the key active participant. Remember that if you want to stop in and talk about your college decision I am always here for you, but know that I can’t make this decision for you – just like your family and friends can’t make this choice for you. The good news – the stress is almost over and you will be relieved to be able to finally answer the question that everyone asks endlessly of “Where are you going to college?”

Monday, April 23, 2012


Have you missed me? I haven't been at school since last Thursday and haven't updated my blog in the same time frame, but I definitely haven't been relaxing. I am exhausted! Over the weekend I moved into a new house and I am very excited to be moved in, but my family and I worked incredibly hard over the weekend to make the move happen. I am excited to be going back to school to catch up on everything I missed. When I was scheduling my days off for the move I specifically thought that today would give me lots of time to update the blog with a long post with lots of information, yet somehow unpacking, getting settled, searching for things that other people unpacked and put away for me, took way longer than I ever could have imagined and, as I mentioned, I am exhausted. So, my goal is to try to get a good night sleep so that tomorrow I can be useful to all of you and then return to blogging again. Stop by and say hi - I'd love to see you!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cut Them Free

As you begin identifying which college or the few colleges that are still in the running that it is important for you to notify the other colleges that you do not intend to attend their school beginning next year. Please wait to tell the schools that you will not be attending until you are completely sure that you are no longer considering them. However, I realize that many of you have narrowed your choice to a smaller group of colleges and you have completely eliminated others from consideration. Those which have been completely eliminated are the colleges I am recommending you notify as soon as possible. This is important because it allows the college to plan for their upcoming student body and to know if they have room to accept other students off of their wait-lists. Think about your classmates who are on the waiting list for a school and they want to hear back from the schools as quickly as possible and there are many other students across the country in the same situation. Colleges can't begin opening up additional slots until they know which students will or will not be attending. If you received scholarship offers from one of the colleges that you have eliminated from the running, this can also potentially allow the college to offer that money out to other students which, again, can help people such as your fellow classmates. Believe me, the colleges will not be angry with you for deciding that you will not be attending their school - they understand that this is part of the process, so just go ahead and take a few minutes to let them know of your intent to attend a different college.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Summer Volunteers

Volunteers make a significant impact - not only are the people that you help impacted, but the people who reach out to help someone else are also changed for the better. There is not just one choice about what you can pursue as a volunteer project. Community service opportunities are as different as each individual who decides they want to help make a difference in the world around them. The sky is the limit and I encourage you to find something that inspires you.

As the weather starts to get warmer and we begin looking toward the summer, I thought it might help you if I mentioned that the Ohio State University Medical Center allows high school students to volunteer during the summer. (They only utilize college students as volunteers during the school year, but are willing to work with high school students in the summertime.) They only accept applications for volunteers between March 1st and April 30th. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old. If you are interested in applying, visit their website for an application and additional information.

In case you need a "reason" to push yourself to get involved through volunteering, please remember that many scholarships consider community service experience. It is not the number of hours you contribute, but rather the meaning and passion that inspire you to contribute in positive ways.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I wanted to give you a heads up that I will not be at school on Friday this week and Monday next week. If you know that you need something that I can help you with, please plan ahead and stop in to see me before Friday.

You may recall that I was also out of the building last Friday. I went up to Canton, Ohio last week in order to attend the award ceremony where my mom (who is also a high school counselor) received a School Counselor of the Year award! I was very proud of her and it was a special day to celebrate the impact that she makes in the lives of her students.

I know it isn't easy to stop down and find out that I am not in the building so I appreciate your patience.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Senioritis - it's a term I hear often around my office and while I understand that it can be a challenge to continue motivating yourself to finish your high school career strong, it is important!

Last week I received a printout of the PAGES of students that have either a D or an F in their 3rd quarter classes. This is particularly a concern for seniors as it can jeopardize graduation (a very real fear for many) and it can also jeopardize your college future. For example, remember, that the colleges reserve the right to revoke your acceptance if the grades you are earning are not on pace with what they expected at the time of your application. They can also place you on academic probation and take back scholarship offers. Obviously, these would not be good scenarios, but it does happen.

So, while the improved weather, senior tag, and "fun" days like Arts in Action and the upcoming field trip to Cedar Point may make it hard to focus on the day to day responsibilities of meeting your classroom expectations it is very important!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Summer School

Information about summer school was distributed in homerooms along with the rest of your registration materials back in January. Feedback from the summer school directors has been that classes such as Phys Ed and Speech are filling up quickly. If you are planning on taking one of these classes during summer school, please be sure that you apply right away so that you don’t end up closed out of the class.

If you failed a class during the 1st semester, you need to discuss signing up for summer school with your parents. The success rates for students who take summer school is very strong because you are only asked to focus on one subject at a time and it is a more relaxed environment. Remember, if you did not earn credit for a semester of a required class, you must retake the class in order to graduate.

This year summer school will be held at Thomas Worthington High School and most courses cost around $200. (Students on the free and reduced lunch program are allowed to attend for $50.)

If you have lost your summer school registration brochure, please stop in the Counseling Center and pick one up from the center island area in the middle of the Counseling Center.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Diploma Presenters

A reminder to all seniors - if you plan on asking someone to present you with your diploma at graduation - the deadline for submitting your presenter request form to the co-curricular office is Friday, April 13th. I love the fact that you all have this opportunity as a way to make graduation an even more memorable experience. If you do not select someone to give you your diploma, an administrator from central office or a school board member will present your diploma to you.

Also, there are several boxes of caps and gowns that have been delivered and are waiting for you to pick up in the co-curricular office. If you have not picked up your cap and gown, please stop in and see Mrs. Jacobs or Ms. Casto.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Student Body Debates & Local Scholarship Reminder

Tomorrow (Wednesday) we will be on a 3A/ 3B bell schedule in order to allow for a debate among the candidates for Student Body President and Vice President. All students in grades 9 - 11 will spend part of the time during 3rd period class in the auditorium listening to the debates between the candidates. The candidates will debate twice so that everyone in grades 9 - 11 have the opportunity to hear the discussion.

Seniors do not vote in this election (since you will be college students by the time these candidates will take their positions.) As a result the seniors will have a guest speaker about personal safety in the main gym while the underclassmen listen to the debate.

In case you want/ need the bell schedule for tomorrow it is as follows:
1st: 7:45 - 8:27
2nd: 8:32 - 9:14
3rd: 9:19 - 11:09 (Remember, this will be split by class and you will spend either the first or second half of the time in your regular class and the other half of the time will be in the appropriate assembly)
4th: 11:14 - 11:57
5th: 12:02 - 12:44
6th: 12:49 - 1:31
7th: 1:36 - 2:08
8th: 2:13 - 3:05

For the Seniors, I also wanted to remind you that you are running out of time to complete the local scholarships. The deadline for submitting your local scholarship applications is the end of the school day on Thursday, April 12th. Please be sure to review your applications and make sure that you have all of the required pieces ready to be turned in by Thursday. Hopefully if you needed recommendation letters for your applications you have already requested those as it will be difficult (if not impossible) for teachers to write letters in one night for you.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Credit Flexibility

This Thursday night, April 12th, at 7:00pm we will hold a meeting to share information about the options available to students through credit flexibility.

The State of Ohio passed legislation that changes how students can earn units of high school credit. Students are now able to earn credit based on a demonstration of subject area competency, instead of or in combination with completing hours of classroom instruction. Students can customize aspects of their learning around their interests and needs. It encourages student self-direction and motivates learners to develop new skills and fulfill their potential. Examples of credit flexibility opportunities include, but are not limited to, independent study, online learning, and demonstration of course proficiency.

I hope that all students and parents interested in learning more about credit flexibility will join us Thursday night in Room 207.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The end of Spring Break

I don't know about you, but I am shocked that Spring Break is now over. It seems hard to believe that the entire week is over already, but I hope you enjoyed the time off and that you had a relaxing and enjoyable break. I am looking forward to seeing all of you and hearing about how you spent your week. I will be honest though, since I am not a morning person, I am definitely NOT looking forward to getting up bright and early tomorrow morning. Of course, you have the added advantage of having a late-start day tomorrow which means that you don't start 1st period until 9:10... a pretty nice way to ease back into school.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Crisis Communication

Recently our school has had it's share if troublesome moments and crisis situations, so, I decided this was an appropriate time to review the importance of communicating when crisis situations occur. It is important, as a school counselor, to be aware of any major incidents that impact students from the school as soon as possible so that we can help prepare an appropriate response to support the student body. For the record, I tend to check my e-mails over weekends, holidays, and the summer for any critical incidents, but I do not check my school voicemail, so the best way to pass along important timely news is e-mail. If you hear about a situation that might require immediate attention outside of regular school hours, please don't hesitate to let me know by e-mail. Obviously, my hope is that this information is never needed and that we will not face any crisis situations in the future, but I also know that it is better safe than sorry.