COLLEGE SPECIALIST DIGS IN AT SHS
In 2013, Summit High School hired a College Specialist, Alison Grill, following approval of a grant from SEF for the position. Her responsibilities in the Guidance and Counseling Department are two-fold - support the counselors as they guide families through the college selection process, and market SHS to admissions officers, developing relationships with a broad range of colleges.
So, what exactly does a College Specialist do? First of all, Grill revamped all the college process materials for students and created the very useful, “Tips for Completing the Common Application”. For seniors, she’s conducted application support workshops, and worked with students to prepare for interviews. She’s also offered workshops for juniors on writing the college essay/supplements. Grill is joining counselors in their individual meetings with junior families -- developing lists of colleges, testing timelines, and connecting them to workshops and summer programs. Most importantly, she is linking underrepresented populations at SHS to scholarship, internship, and enrichment opportunities on campuses.
For teachers, she is planning professional development training for colleagues on writing the best letters of recommendation for students. Grill has spoken at parent meetings about the college application process, and she’s reaching out to peer institutions to share best practices.
With a year of college decisions complete, Grill has been busy reaching out to college admissions reps to review results for SHS students. Part of her responsibility includes meeting with every college rep that visits SHS to greet students. And campus tours in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Ohio took place this spring.
Finally, in conjunction with the district office, Grill is developing a college and career database to connect students to career shadowing, internships, and/or lectures available within the Summit community.
SEF approved a follow up grant in the spring of 2014 to continue its support for College Specialist activities at SHS. Grill is excited to be part of the staff at SHS and has accomplished quite a bit during her first year. She explains, “My personal philosophy on college counseling is about finding the best ‘fit’ for students.” It sounds like Alison Grill ‘fits’ in wonderfully at SHS!