The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

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Over the course of the last couple of weeks, Wayland High School language students took the AAPPL test. If they scored above a certain standard, they were awarded the Massachusetts Seal of Biliteracy. “I chose to take the AAPPL because I know some of my colleges will take the Seal as language credit,” senior Ciaran Murphy said.
WHS students test for the Seal of Biliteracy
February 26, 2024
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Guiding seniors into their next chapter

WSPN%E2%80%99s+Sophia+Verma+sits+down+with+three+WHS+guidance+counselors%2C+Sara+Bodi%2C+Ben+Buffa+and+Tina+Calderon+to+asks+them+how+they+help+seniors+going+into+the+next+chapter+of+their+lives.+The+three+counselors+talked+about+various+resources%2C+navigating+financial+aid%2C+essay+writing+tips+and+ways+to+cope+with+stress+and+anxiety+about+the+future.+%E2%80%9CIt%E2%80%99s+just+making+yourself+more+available+to+answer+questions+and+making+sure+everybody+feels+like+they+understand+the+process%2C%E2%80%9D+WHS+counselor+Sara+Bodi+said.
Credit: Sophia Verma
WSPN’s Sophia Verma sits down with three WHS guidance counselors, Sara Bodi, Ben Buffa and Tina Calderon to asks them how they help seniors going into the next chapter of their lives. The three counselors talked about various resources, navigating financial aid, essay writing tips and ways to cope with stress and anxiety about the future. “It’s just making yourself more available to answer questions and making sure everybody feels like they understand the process,” WHS counselor Sara Bodi said.

The future is on the horizon for seniors at Wayland High School as they start looking ahead to life after high school. Even though graduation is months away, the WHS guidance department has been working hard since the start of the year to make sure seniors are prepared to take the next step in their lives.

“So, I would say the support we provide actually starts in January of junior year,” guidance Department Head Ben Buffa said. “[That is] when we start meeting with juniors in junior seminar, and we start to kind of preview the roadmap to all of the future planning tasks. A lot of our kids are looking at four year colleges.”

From one-on-one counseling sessions to college fairs and seminars, the counselors make themselves available to guide students through the process of mapping out their futures and taking concrete steps to get there. By providing personalized support and a wealth of resources, the guidance department empowers students to turn their dreams into reality, whether that involves attending college, entering the workforce, or exploring other opportunities.

“We do also talk about two year options, community college options, non-college options, trade school, stuff like that,” Buffa said. “We try to make sure we’re addressing those things too, because we know we have a lot of students who that’s an interest for.”

For seniors who are still unsure about their next steps after high school, the counselors make it a priority to explore all potential options.

“I think it’s a lot about just helping kids make informed decisions,” counselor Sara Bodi said. “So making sure they have all the information they need to make a decision, [and] there might be paths that they didn’t even know existed.”

A major part of the guidance counselors’ role in the seniors school years’ is ensuring that students are being fully informed about all of their options available for their futures. As the majority of WHS seniors attend college, the guidance department provides hands-on support as seniors tackle critical steps in the application process. From brainstorming essay topics and reviewing drafts, to perfecting resumés and navigating online application portals, the counselors are there to advise students each step of the way.

“I always say to have more than one person read it and look over it, especially for ideas and grammar,” counselor Tina Calderon said. “My advice is just write and then have people read it. For me, I will critique like ‘Okay, what as a student do you want to convey to the reader in 650 words or less?’”

Having multiple reviewers edit essays and applications is key. This advice is especially critical for seniors who are the first in their family to apply to college. For students navigating the process without the benefit of shared family experience, the guidance counselors provide extra time and care. They work closely with first-generation students to demystify the world of applications, financial aid, campus life and more.

“We provide a lot of parent information with the parent nights and on the website,” Bodi said. “It’s a lot about making sure it’s student and family, making sure everybody has all the information and just normalizing [the fact that] we have a lot of students whose parents didn’t go to college or didn’t go to college in this country and are maybe feeling a little more insecure.”

Through parent nights and website resources, guidance counselors strive to equip both students and families with information to make the college process seem less stressful and intimidating. However, even with thorough preparation, disappointment can happen. Whether it’s a waitlist letter or rejection notice, the counselors are there to provide perspective and reassurance.

“I think once that initial shock is kind of over, it’s kind of like no one college has a monopoly on a successful future, and there’s so many pathways to being successful in a lot of ways,” Buffa said. “There’s a lot of value, I think, in students going to schools where they can actually be in the top 10 to 15 percent of their class and all of the positive stuff that comes along with it, versus being at a pressure cooker where maybe you’re so busy with your academics that you can’t engage in the campus.”

There are many pathways to success, and students can thrive at colleges of all kinds. The counselors want seniors to remember this perspective when feeling anxious or overwhelmed by the application process. They emphasize that stress is normal during this hectic time, validate students’ uneasy emotions and aim to ease students’ stress while guiding them through challenges.

“I think the college process is stressful, and it’s okay to feel stressed,” Calderon said. “There is a level of stress that is okay and that’s normal, we are here to help those students out, it’s very individualized. So when students think they want to do something, because of their friends or their parents, they really need to think about what’s best for them.”

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About the Contributor
Sophia Verma, Staff Reporter
Sophia Verma, Class of 2024, is a first year reporter for WSPN. She is part of the peer leadership program at the highschool. Outside of school she enjoys traveling, spending time with friends and family, reading, going to concerts and watching movies. Contact: [email protected]
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