With most college applications due in just a couple months, many seniors are in a frenzy to complete their essays and submit their test scores. Another important factor for many is a counselor’s letter of recommendation.
This year, there are three new counselors in the building: Erica Eysturlid, Michelle Olejnik and Tony Colletti. Students who previously reported to Rachel Rogers, Jason Booker or Patricia Henneberry last year are now assigned to a new counselor or one of the veteran counselors.
The change has largely impacted seniors in need of a letter of recommendation from a counselor, since their new counselors will only have known them for a few months before writing their letters.
Counselor letters of recommendation are meant to demonstrate a student’s strengths from the counselor’s perspective. Many seniors worry that their new counselors will not know them well enough to write a strong letter.
“A letter of recommendation is pretty important because your counselor is one of the only people in the school that knows you for all four years, so it’s hard if the counselor changes,” senior Ella Ruiz said. Ruiz has been reassigned to Colletti as her new counselor.
As worrisome as it may be to some, there is no way to avoid the change. Some seniors are attempting to make the best out of the situation. This means taking certain steps to make a connection with their new counselor, overall making things easier for them down the road.
“I met with my counselor and went through my transcripts and test scores with her so she could get to know me a little bit academically,” said senior Emily Oakley of her new counselor, Olejnik. “I also wrote about what I do outside of school so she had a good impression of who I am and what I do.”
Seniors who are worried about their new counselors can schedule a meeting with them or prepare a resume. Many counselors offer a survey on Naviance with several questions pertaining to who the student is and what they want to do in the future. This survey gives the counselors a better sense of what to write in their letter.
Olejnik urges seniors not to stress over the personnel changes.
“We all want the same thing you want,” Olejnik said. “We want to write the best letter we can. If you’re still nervous, make an appointment to see your counselor. We’re happy to meet with you.”
Olejnik and other counselors recommend students request letters at least three weeks before needing it. Although letters can be requested through Naviance, counselors ask that students also request in person.
By staying calm and taking action, the college application can still be a smooth process for seniors, even if some of the faces have changed.