Counselor Spotlights

Marisa Samuel
Educating Students about College Admissions

Students at Northview High School are highly motivated to overcome financial obstacles, and this includes getting into college. AVID Elective Teacher Marisa Samuel has found a new way to prepare students to get accepted to their college of choice.

The Challenge

Located in Covina, California, Northview High School educates 1,400 students a year. "Although students work very hard to get into college, many don't understand the minimum requirements needed to get into a school, or the additional years of math, science, and foreign languages that are needed to be competitive in a college-bound culture," explains Samuel. "Our counselors do their best to educate students about all their options, but many students don't realize the impact of their high school course choices until it's too late."

Additionally, Samuel realized the need to give students access to a wide variety of post-high school options. "The more we can expose students to a variety of options, the more they're willing to consider choices, including attending college," she said. "Sometimes students may not have considered college simply because they haven't yet found the college that's the right fit for them."

The Solution

As an AVID Elective Teacher, Samuel guides students through high school and helps prepare them to succeed as they continue to college and into the workforce. At a counselor's conference on educating AVID students, hosted by the University of California system, she discovered CollegeWeekLive and scheduled computer lab time for her AVID students to check it out.

To encourage parents and students to start exploring colleges and communicating their goals, the school's AVID team also created an extra credit opportunity for students. They ask students to identify three colleges they were interested in, and describe why they're interested in those schools.

The Results

"Our AVID students started using CollegeWeekLive, and spread the word to their fellow students about the site," said Samuel. "When I started getting such positive feedback from the students, I informed the counseling office, career center, and the administration of this great resource. Our counselors also began encouraging parents to use the site to start conversations with their children and the principal included the CollegeWeekLive events flyer in his weekly bulletin."

Word of mouth got many more students using the site. "When students got emails about CollegeWeekLive events, they would check their phones and tell fellow classmates about events or about colleges they met through the site," she said.

"Students said they found the financial aid workshops particularly helpful. They also like seeing schools online that they've never heard of or hadn't yet considered. Some of my students are attending schools based on the information they found at CollegeWeekLive."

Students are also keen on the site's live chat capabilities. "They like that the student reps that they chat with about colleges are honest about their experiences," said Samuel. "They felt it was a more honest look at the campus versus the official school website."

What's Next

The school is planning to use CollegeWeekLive's lesson plan to help teachers learn how best to use the site and to encourage students to use all aspects of the site to their fullest advantage.