, Derry, New Hampshire

January 24, 2013

Guidance office does a booming business

By Julie Huss

---- — DERRY — It’s one of the busiest offices on campus this time of year when college visits are common and paperwork is piling up.

The Pinkerton Academy guidance office is seeing big numbers these days as students come in to get help with their college admission applications.

For senior Kailee Trieb, 18, the process has been pretty smooth. That’s because she’s done her homework.

Trieb applied to six schools and has put her talents and money on the University of New Hampshire next fall, hoping to someday become a lawyer.

“I had specific colleges I wanted to talk to,” she said.

John Chappell and Geeta Prabhakar of Pinkerton’s guidance department said students are stopping by in big numbers to get help with their college plans, from looking for scholarships to advice on what classes they should take, or a career path.

Chappell said some students are further along in the process; others need more guidance and direction on which way to go.

Trieb was a model student when it came to the college process.

“She had an idea, we discussed it with her,” Chappell said.

Others seek more direction on what they should do.

“They are anxious, they all want to figure out what they want to become at 17,” Prabhakar said. “Some don’t have an idea. We help them figure out what they want to study. (We also tell them) it’s early and things can change.”

Pinkerton boasts a healthy number of graduates who go on to college, technical schools or community programs.

About 76 percent right now head to higher learning.

Community colleges are becoming more popular, too, when deciding what to do after high school. Chappell said the wallet often plays a big part in the final decision.

“Sometimes, they don’t want to pay the high costs,” he said.

Guidance staff members have some influence when students are trying to choose a school. Other factors like family, finances and the distance from home can make decisions easier or more difficult.

Pinkerton hosts a large college fair every year. Admission representatives from colleges all over the nation come to the Derry school to meet with students.

“Sometimes it’s more about finding out who you are and what you like,” Prabhakar said. “Sometimes the first decision won’t be the end all to what you want to do.”

Some students have definite plans in mind; others aren’t quite sure.

Trieb knew she wanted to be a lawyer since she was a little girl.

“I watched the movie ‘Legally Blonde’ and I thought I want to be there person who helps people and makes a difference,” she said.

Chappell said guidance staff then sat down with her to help her find schools that fit her goals and career path.

Corey Winship, 18, also knew where he is headed. He wants to be a dentist and started his college planning last fall. He could choose to attend St. Anselm College in Manchester, but still has time to decide.

“The early decision was very helpful,” he said. “It’s less stress.”

It’s a busy time in the guidance office, Chappell said. That’s not only for college-bound students or those searching for colleges, but for all the other students needing help with course selection, SAT preparation and direction.

Trieb said the guidance office was the place to be for lifetime planning work.

“They were very helpful,” she said. “The process was definitely easier.”