College Counseling Goes Remote

Seniors, Counselors Overcome Remote Learning Obstacles

Student Bao Nguyen works at his remote learning space.

Mia Naples, Staff Writer

The 2020-2021 school year started off with online-learning, and with it, remote counseling. 

Not only are Taft’s students and teachers adjusting to life in virtual classrooms, but guidance counselors are also navigating the new digital environment.

“The counseling department has been working with students in multiple ways: email, one-on-one Google meets, Google chat, small groups, [and] classroom presentations,” said counselor Melissa Gallagher via email.

If students need to get in touch with a counselor, they should send an email to schedule an appointment to meet virtually within school hours. 

“I believe I am making the best out of virtual counseling. Nothing can replace in-person, but we are home for a good reason. So, it is up to me to try and make virtual counseling as close as possible to in-person counseling,” said Gallagher. 

Students are finding the counseling department’s efforts worthwhile.

“The counselor push-ins have been helpful because they’re presentations that tell us everything about college, but the thing with those is that I feel they were a little late,” said senior May Tinh. “I wish they had told us last year so we could’ve started preparing over the summer.”

Despite the common application opening in August, seniors haven’t missed any college deadlines yet. The first deadline will be for early action applicants on November 1st.

“I can say that last year, most of the seniors didn’t really miss any deadlines because we had the benefit of seeing them in person for most of the school year,” said counselor Michael Howe via email. 

Remote learning opened up more creative ways for counselors to reach out to their students and deliver resources. 

“More so toward the beginning of the school year I think a lot more seniors were worried about the college application process and were truly unsure on where to start. Personally I set up a meeting with my counselor who had made options in which we could meet with her for a 45 minute ‘college planning session,” said Senior Estefania Peña.

Despite the obstacles that come with remote learning, counselors are making an effort to be resourceful for students. 

For seniors in need of extra help, Taft’s college and career coach Blanca Aragon developed a college resource website  that can assist seniors during the college process with information regarding Naviance, Common App, and FAFSA sessions.