collegeworkshopRed Bank Regional Guidance Counselor Jill Maline (kneeling) instructs rising senior Cassidy Charette during a college application workshop program at RBR.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

Ceara Gagliano of Little Silver stated, “I think this is really helpful and it takes the stress out of doing it during the school year.”

Matthew Collado of Shrewsbury expressed hope that the program would better help him understand the daunting college application process, so it wasn’t “so scary.”

James Fogerty of Red Bank “heard about this college application program from my friends and thought it would be a great help, especially with the college essay.

While the preparation for and taking of the college entrance tests are a major source of angst for college-bound high school students, nothing says crunch time like the fall of the senior year, when all those college applications are due.  Red Bank Regional High School has sought to significantly ease that stress by providing a multi-session, special college application workshop to its students this summer.

In all, over 50 students took part in the program. The students were first encouraged to create a student resume and fill out their “self assessment survey,” which aids teachers as they write recommendations for their students.

Unlike just a few years ago, the college application process is now totally digital. Students are responsible for sending their final application electronically (either through the colleges’ websites or through commonapp.org) with their application fee payment. Guidance counselors send all other supporting materials on-line including, transcripts and teacher recommendations through the Naviance system.

Addressing each student at their computer station during the first session of the workshop, RBR Guidance Counselor Jill Maline stated, “By the end of your last session, you should be able just go home and submit your applications electronically.”

collegeworkshop2RBR students get a jump on their college application process during a four-session program offered by RBR’s Guidance Department during the summer months.

Step by step, she guided the students through the Naviance on-line program, which tracks their academic record and helps them discover possible career paths. The program then identifies the array of colleges with programs of study in those particular careers.

The students were then able to search for colleges by personal preferences from the over 4,500 colleges contained in the program’s database. Students could narrow their choices by location, school size, environment, social environment etc.  Ms. Maline encouraged everyone to physically visit school campuses this summer to acquire a better feeling on just what their preferences would be. She also recommended that students identify five to ten schools to which to apply with one or two in the “reach” range (a challenge for the student to be accepted), one or two as “safety” (most likely to be accepted) and three to six as “target” (likely to be accepted).

Naviance also indicates which colleges take the popular, time-saving Common App for its essay requirement. At the first session, the actual 2015 College App choice of essay topics were distributed to the students. They were then asked to create an outline to structure one of the essay topics in time for their next session. Next, they would work with RBR AP English teacher Andrew Forrest for one-on-one conferences on essay drafts, personal statements and the writing process.

The third session would be devoted to improving upon the final essay and other answers to required questions. The fourth session would wrap up the entire process by addressing any lingering questions and requesting teacher recommendations through the Naviance system.

Once the college applications are finally submitted, another college-based activity occurs, figuring out how to pay for their higher education and seeking scholarships to defray the cost.

Jill Maline reminded the students that Naviance is updated constantly with all scholarship opportunities as they are made available. She encouraged them to check their account site weekly. At any point, the site could be bulging with over 100 scholarship opportunities giving all parameters to apply, including, in most cases, a download for the scholarship application.

Of course, once the college and scholarship applications are sent, the great waiting game for acceptance begins. A few stressful days occur before the holiday break for those seeking early decision or early action replies. The great majority of regular decisions students will have to bear that anxiety to early April. While there is little RBR can do about that reality, it is hoped this workshop takes a bit of the stress out of the entire process.