New College and Career Center will benefit students
Art by assistant graphics editor Karen Lee.

As students chase academic success and race for straight A’s, college is a worrisome concern for most high schoolers, especially as senior year looms closer each year. 

Fortunately, the College and Career Center is available for all students for the first time in a decade in Room 2.

I personally think it’s a great idea since college has always been “the unknown” for me and private college counseling can get costly — around $200 an hour or even up to $6,000 for a session. 

Thinking back, I’ve always wondered about college, probably since elementary school, and I feel relieved that students can rely on easily accessible guidance here on campus. 

Curious to see for myself, I walked into the room for a consultation. Upon walking in, I was greeted by Evelyn Casillas, who was chosen to oversee the center as a guidance technician. 

Casillas was attentive to my questions, explaining thoroughly and carefully for me to understand the process of counseling and who I can talk to for guidance. 

I originally thought the center was meant for seniors only, but Casillas clarified that all students are welcome to swing by or find more information on the Sunny Hills website. 

Since all the information is online, it is much easier for students and parents to navigate the dates for different workshop opportunities. 

The workshops will help students with concerns like financial aid, college applications and college community outreach programs. 

Before I entered, the questions, “How will this help struggling students?” and “Why should students turn to college counseling?” bubbled up for me, but after taking a look for it myself, I can confidently say that it is a great resource for students to check out. 

College and career counseling that is free on campus lessens the pressure for students to figure things all on their own and allows them to ask essential questions before applying to college.  

Choosing a college or career is a tricky process, but I think students are in good hands should they ever choose to talk with Casillas. 

As a current junior, I’ve learned that the college admission process is more than having a perfect GPA or enrolling in a number of AP classes — despite what students may think, being a well-rounded student, getting involved and building community matter just as much. 

In addition to providing academic help, the College and Career center opens up an outlet for students to hash out their concerns. Next year, I’ll definitely be the frantic, “I’m freaking out; what do I do?” student so I’ll be ready to snag the new opportunity to speak with Casillas.

The majority of the students on campus will definitely benefit from this, by listening to a senior’s experience with counseling or even going in to try it themselves.

Either way, the counselors will aid students to decide what college may suit them best or what goal is reachable and realistic. 

I’m looking forward to hearing about my peer’s experiences in the future since every meeting is uniquely catered on the individual. 

In terms of the career aspect of the place, it offers work permits, which was surprisingly a lot easier to obtain.

I originally thought it was a long and strenuous process for a work permit, but all Casillas instructed me to do was to grab a green paper in the corner of the room.
To qualify, a student must be at least 14 years old and obtain signed consent from your employer and legal guardians. 

After students return the signed document to Casillas, she told me she will update their status in Aeries, checking time to time that grades are stable and unburdened by the job. 

College and career education is just as important for school as academics. Otherwise, how will we assimilate to the ideal school or choose where we want to attend? 

This place will lead students to become more knowledgeable for the real world and think a little deeper about what their career might be — unless they already have life all figured out. 

Even for those of us who aren’t seniors (I’m a junior), it’s still comforting and interesting to know where you could be in the near future.

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