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Utah Senior Contemplates Readiness for College and Career

Meet Tabitha Kertamus, a senior at Jordan High School, who was interviewed recently about her plans for life after high school.

On a scale from 1-10 (with 1 being ‘not at all’ and 10 being ‘totally’), how prepared do you feel to start college and/or a career?
On a scale of 1-10, I sit at a solid 6 with how prepared I feel to start college and/or a career. I have applied to several colleges, and was accepted to all of them. The problem is, now I have to make a choice, and I have no idea what to do. It’s hard to decide when all people important to me have different opinions on what I should do. I definitely am not ready for a career yet, though hopefully college will help with that.

Counselors offer many opportunities to help students apply and pay for college. Tell about any of these opportunities you took advantage of, and how they helped you.
The counselors are especially helpful to students. I have taken the opportunity to personally sit down with my counselor and talk about my college plans. Counselors are there for us, and they have programs like FAFSA Fridays, where students go into the counseling center during lunch on Fridays and they work on their FAFSA forms. My counselor encourages me to do what I want to and wants me to be successful. Counselors also keep track of what colleges students have been accepted to and they are willing to help us reach a decision. I’ve had my counselor help me look for scholarships so I can apply for them. They’re very helpful.

What advice would you give counselors and teachers to help them ensure that students learn about life after high school?
Teachers and counselors try their best to get students involved with preparation for college. The problem is a lot of students hear the same stuff from everybody. So we don’t listen when they try to help. They try assemblies, but a lot of kids see it as a way out of class, and they just leave the school. I think they need to be more enthusiastic and really encourage students to participate. They need to find new and more information about college that won’t scare us away. They need to have more mandatory college activities for students. A big help would be to offer field trips to college campuses for those who would like to attend the college.

What’s the one best piece of advice regarding college and career decision making that you would offer to your fellow students?
My advice is to do what makes you happy. If you want to go out of state, who cares what anyone else thinks? It’s your life, not theirs! A bird can’t have other birds spread its wings for it. You don’t have to make a decision on a career right away, but definitely start college as soon as possible. Go to school while you’re still in the groove of it, and definitely go where you’ll be happiest. Happiness is the key to a magnificent life.

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