Counselor outlines virtual college rep visits

Sessions, limited to 15, will be recorded and posted


Megaphone file photo

The counseling center has changed its approach to college rep visits this year.

Ava Amos, Co-Editor-in-Chief

With college representatives not being able to come to campus to meet with students and tell them about their school, the counseling department has found another option for making sure this information is available.

College counselor and college representative coordinator Mrs. Beth Brandes provided insight for students regarding virtual college visits.

Brandes said, “The virtual format is the rep who visits will be evaluating students’ applications are simply doing it in a virtual way. What they would tell a student in a 30-minute session when they’re in front of them and talking about the college search, application and selection process, they’re simply doing virtually. Those meetings take place in our college counseling department.”

Students can access information and register for these virtual seminars through their Naviance accounts. Students log in to Naviance via the student portal on the school website, look on the homepage on the bottom right for the “What’s New” label and view the list of all upcoming college visits.

“You can click on each one to learn a little bit more about a particular university and also register. The very important piece is that you have to physically go into Naviance under that section and click ‘register’ in order to be registered and then show that registration to your teacher so you can be excused to come to the counseling department on that particular day and time,” Brandes said.

Worth noting is that even though registration for the meetings close 24 hours prior to their scheduled start, a student can still have the opportunity to attend if they go to their counselor and ask for a pass. Brandes said she encourages students to do so if they’re ever in that situation.

Students should care because it’s going to help them make that informed decision.”

— Mrs. Beth Brandes

The maximum attendance that’s allowed is 15 in order to maintain appropriate spacing to accommodate social distancing. Even though these meetings with the college reps are virtual, students still have the opportunity to have a conversation and to ask questions. Brandes said, “Students should care because it’s going to help them make that informed decision. When it comes time for them to select an institution, they’re going to have a lot more information.

“(The virtual college meetings) are tying together all those pieces and helping a student to form what they’re looking for beyond Cathedral High School when they graduate, and what is going to be that good fit for that student,” she said.

Another pro to these virtual meetings is that if a student is unable to attend, the reps record their virtual sessions and the counseling department posts these videos. Brandes said, “(We are putting these sessions in a) video gallery where we’re archiving them for all of our students and families. So while these visits are only open for juniors and seniors and a maximum of 15, if a student is unable to make it, or if a student wants to be extremely proactive, they have the ability to access those videos.”

Once counselors receive the recordings, they upload them into a Google drive under the “Trending Topics” college information tab, which can be accessed through the school’s website as well. “Institutions know what we’re doing and it’s exciting when the reps tell you that no other high school is doing what we’re doing,” Brandes said.

She said, “(Colleges) said as a whole that while the virtual visits are fine, they certainly wish that they could be in person for that personal touch or connection. So I think the biggest challenge is learning as we all go through this for the first time this year, but overall I’ve been satisfied and I would say our department has been satisfied.

“And in fact I would say another pro is the fact that more colleges and universities have been able to sign up that normally there may not be a spot for if they were coming in person. There are always pros and cons for every situation, but overall I would say I’m pleased with the way things have gone and the feedback received.”