By: Alexis Carfagno
Many seniors can agree that one word we have come to know so well and the word many of our lives have been revolving around is… college! . From writing college essays, getting our recommendation letters, taking our last SAT / ACT exam to sending out those college applications before the deadline, saying the pre-college experience is challenging and overwhelming is definitely an understatement. Lucky enough, the seniors here at Long Beach High School have some of the most incredible individuals who help and guide us through an imperative time in our high school career, those individuals being our guidance counselors. Judging by the many nights where we get minimal hours of sleep, us seniors definitely know what the journey is like preparing for college and sending in applications for acceptances into schools. However, what is the college journey like for our guidance counselors. Let’s put the spotlight on Long Beach High School’s very own, Ms. D’Anca who is the wonderful guidance coordinator of our school and let’s see the college perspective from her point of view.
Q: What is the feeling like for you being the guidance coordinator at our school and being able to help seniors in an imperative and challenging time of their educational career?
Ms. D’Anca: Is it weird to say that it is the best feeling in the world? I am sure that many seniors would not agree with me from their perspective of the process, but I have come to know many amazing students in helping them discern life after high school. As someone who followed this career path for this reason, the feeling is indescribable in that I receive the privilege to walk with our students in this most important process.
Q: What is the college application process like from your perspective?
Ms. D’Anca: The college application process is really a test of your organization skills and confidence level. Organization because it is a process of infinite parts that, if followed systematically, can be fluid and exciting. However, I have to remember that my focus is mainly on this process…I am not directly thinking about a 9 period class day, extracurricular activities and family/friends. So, I acknowledge that organization is a hard thing to accomplish in a busy schedule with many responsibilities.
And then there’s confidence level. A great deal of the college application process is based on one’s ability to present themselves in the most positive light. This is hard for me as an adult…I can’t imagine what it is like for teenagers! I acknowledge this also and try my best to highlight the best in our students in our conversations and interactions. I truly believe that every person in this school and in the world has something amazing to offer. Some just need more coaxing to realize it than others. And, that is okay.
Q: What do you think seniors’ biggest concern is regarding college and how do you think they can get past that fear / concern?
Ms. D’Anca: “What if I make the wrong decision?” That seems to be the running theme in our seniors. Many feel as if they are not going to be accepted anywhere, which we all know is not true. However, students have a hard time understanding that what they have set in their heart as to where they feel they want to attend is not always what may happen. And again…that’s okay. But, I say to them that they have to go where life takes them, even if it’s not according to their “plan.” So, you make the decision that is best at that moment and understand that nothing is written in stone. Easier said than done, but you have to try something before you can deem it as a “wrong decision.”
Q: What advice would you give seniors as they continue on their college journey and continue to send in their college applications?
Ms. D’Anca: As stated in #3…You are going to end up where you need to end up, even if it’s not according to your “master plan.” Fate is funny like that…
Balancing multiple classes along with preparing for college and thinking about the future can definitely be a lot to handle. Long Beach High School students are fortunate enough to know that they have many individuals who they can reach out to for help – whether it be teachers, friends and of course, our guidance counselors, everyone is ready with open arms to be of assistance to you and your college journey. Just remember seniors, as what Ms. D’Anca stated, “You are doing to end up where you need to end up, even if it’s not according to your ‘master plan'”; so welcome in the college journey and know that everything will work out in the end!
Thank you to Ms. D’Anca for her time and the amazing interview!