The College Counseling office’s main goal is to prepare and educate students on college readiness, career exploration, college applications, and financial aid throughout their secondary education at Westinghouse CTE. By the end of Junior year, students have a better understanding of their individual skills, talents, and career pathways along with an acute knowledge of different college programs and the application process to set them up for a successful application season during their senior year.
Throughout a student’s years at Westinghouse, we instill a level of preparedness and enthusiasm for post-secondary education. The best way to do this is through implementation of college readiness programs and interactive workshops throughout your student’s time as a Freshman, Sophomore, and Junior. A few vital aspects of college readiness that we try to touch upon include:
- Career Exploration
- SAT/Test Preparation
- College programs – similarities, differences / benefits of each
- Educational Opportunity Programs and Honors Programs
- The “Personal Statement” College Essay
- Building a resume / staying engaged
A large part of preparing for application season in the beginning of Senior year is exploring different types of programs and options in Sophomore and Junior year. Through admissions representative visits, college fairs, mock interviews, and personal college exploration, students have a specific plan before the application process begins. Some examples of questions we want to clarify before application season are:
- What type of degree do I want to obtain?
- How many years of college do I want to complete?
- How can I pay for college?
- What is this specific program setting me up to do for my career?
The Application Process
The application process is heavily emphasized in the first semester of senior year at Westinghouse. During the months of September-December, students meet individually with our College Advisor to determine their unique post-secondary plan. Alongside individual meetings, workshops will be held throughout the year (during classes, lunch periods, and after school) that tackle different parts of the college application process in one go. For example, students can expect to work on the Personal Statement early in the semester in English classes, while there may be a City University of New York application week mid-semester. Some of the workshops to be held in the beginning of Senior Year include:
- College List Planning
- Filling out the CUNY Application
- FAFSA Workshops
- Applying for Opportunity-Based Programs
As the year progresses, the College Counseling office moves its efforts toward providing a general understanding of the financial aid process (federal and state) and spends time with students filling out applications like FAFSA, TAP, and the Jose Peralta Dream Act. Students are given a detailed explanation of each financial aid application, how to apply, what types of financial aid can be rewarded. They eventually will work individually with our counselor to analyze the financial aid packages that received closer to the end of the year. Our hope is that students will gain the ability to advocate for themselves, gain a greater understanding of finances in regards to higher education, and get to pursue post-secondary education for as little money as possible.
Decisions and Financial Literacy
Once decisions have been made and sent out to students and schools, the next step is to determine the cost of attendance at each school and form a financial plan. During this part of the year, we will focus heavily on understanding what each type of financial aid means (ex. Work Study, scholarship, grant, loan) and work with the student/family to determine what types of aid the student will accept. This part of the process also enhances students’ financial literacy by working with tax forms, calculating net costs, and forming a plan to pay for college.