College Advising at DSHA
The College Center's Mission
The college admission process involves a plan for the future, a range of options, and a good dose of uncertainty. It can be exciting, daunting, and empowering. The College Advising Office at DSHA works to assist students in identifying their strengths, aspirations, priorities, and goals through a process that involves self-reflection, critical thinking, and realism. This enables us to support students in charting a course to find their best possible post-secondary fit(s). We encourage students to take the lead in this process in order to maximize individual growth and ensure that the journey best prepares them for future success in college and beyond. However, students are not alone during this search. The College Advising Office and the entire DSHA community join students and their families in creating a support network to lessen the anxiety and stress that come with choosing a college.
College Advising at DSHA is available to all students and families through multiple means. While the College Center serves as the “clearinghouse” for all college-related information at DSHA, students also discuss and plan for college with their school counselors. Accessibility and an open door policy for students and parents promote conversations from casual to formal as early as freshman year. Ongoing discussions between students and counselors also promote individual reflection on the part of a student. They also aid counselors in understanding a student’s aspirations. These discussions provide counselors the ability to suggest post-secondary options that families can investigate. Giving students access to college-related information early, often, and through multiple sources provides students with greater confidence and comfort in communicating with colleges and also provides additional resources for questions, answers, and peace of mind.
Finding the right fit for our students is our ultimate goal. Students and their families have the right to expect us to give them accurate information about college admission procedures, policies and deadlines; financial aid opportunities; and the requirements for a variety of academic programs. To this end, we will use our relationships with college admission counselors and our existing resources to make sure that DSHA students have access to the most up-to-date, objective, and unbiased information available to aid them with their college searches. We will shepherd, challenge, suggest, and inform students and families while also serving as strong advocates for them. It is important that students do not envision the college search as a race to the finish. “Getting in,” while exciting, is simply a stage in the process. We believe the growth opportunities for students in this process are extremely valuable. The college search will challenge and better develop students’ abilities to prioritize, meet deadlines, self-advocate, communicate, reflect, plan for the future, be savvy consumers, and make adult decisions. All of these are practical skills that will better equip them for the rigors of college and their futures beyond higher education.
Throughout this process, we promise to care. As children of God made in His image, every student at DSHA and every member of her family has the right to be treated in a respectful, caring, considerate manner. Information can be dispensed in many ways, but advice can only be given through an interactive process in which the goals, abilities, successes and shortcomings of the students are known and respected. We promise to be active listeners who will take the time to get to know both our students and the members of their families as well as their specific ambitions, strengths and concerns about college.
The work we do rewards students that put an appropriate amount of time and effort into the process. We will ride the roller coaster together, celebrating, commiserating, and yes, even enjoying the process! All DSHA students will find a college to attend (unless they choose another path, which will also be supported!) that they will call home…a school that they will thrive at both academically and socially.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to work with your daughter as she explores her future beyond DSHA.
Jim Stamatakos Donna LaGuardia
Director of College Advising College Center Assistant