Article prompts responses from guidance counselors

By Brian Malenius

A recent USA Today article reporting problems nationwide that high school students have with receiving misinformation from their guidance counselors elicited several responses from local counselors.

The article stated that high school guidance counselors were providing their students with outdated and inaccurate information about colleges and their admissions standards.

“We do one, three and five-year follow-up studies on our students after they graduate high school,” said Marsha Johnson, a guidance counselor at Sycamore High School. “We haven’t found any problems yet.”

Johnson described the systematic way in which she and her colleagues in Illinois keep abreast with the latest college admissions information.

“Every fall we attend a conference at NIU and get an update on admissions standards at state schools,” Johnson said.

“We have the Horizons system here at school which every year is updated to give our students information about colleges across the country,” she said. The Horizons system is a computer database containing information about colleges across the country.

Johnson also said private schools come to visit the school regularly.

“We call to verify admissions information from out-of-state and private schools,” Johnson said.

Frank Warga, a guidance counselor at DeKalb High School, said DeKalb High School set up a full college and career room in the guidance office.

“We have everything there—college catalogs, four-year college guides, two-year college guides and Horizons,” he said.

Students have problems when they begin their college search late and become buried in information, Warga said.

“This year we had all the juniors together and had a group session on using Horizons,” he said.

Warga said DeKalb High School hosts representatives from colleges to speak to their students “every week, almost every day.”

“We attend the college articulation conference to get the latest state information,” Warga said. “And we always have someone from our department attend all the available financial aid seminars.”