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Meet our college advisor-Ms. Schaeffer

This year, school college advisor Emelyn Schaeffer joined Porter Ridge to help students get ready for post-secondary education opportunities and answer any questions they have. She is available in the School Counseling office on Mondays, Tuesdays and alternating Fridays. To make an appointment, visit her Calendly page.

Continue reading for helpful information Schaeffer provided when asked about her role at PRHS.

How do you help students get ready for college?

Ms. Schaeffer's Website Screenshot

"I'm here for any and all parts of the college application process. For some students, this means I read their college essay, and then they handle everything else by themselves. For others, it means we meet for every step of the process, from building the college list to coming up with an essay idea, to filling out the application, to completing FAFSA, to evaluating financial aid packages and making a final choice. Sometimes students come in with specific questions, we talk about them, and I help them solve whatever is going on. Other times, students don't know where to start, and in those cases, we talk about the process and I give them some resources, including a checklist for the year. I also like to think I help students feel confident and independent in their work and choice. I'm here to support you, to cheer you on, and to edit anything, but I cannot and will not do the work for you because I want you to believe you can do it all yourself in college."


What important advice do you have for every grade level in preparing for their future?


9th Grade: Get involved, try lots of things, and join lots of clubs. Think about both sports and volunteering. Keep up with your classwork and try your best; this is the foundation of your high school experience and GPA, and of course, you can change and improve later on, but you can't replace bad grades. Sometimes students enter high school and don't want to go to college, but sometimes they get to senior year and change their minds, which is why I always encourage doing your best from the beginning. Also, check your email. 

10th Grade: Form relationships with teachers and start setting yourself up for leadership positions. Maybe get a job and take some classes in an area that interests you. It's okay if you end up not liking something as much as you thought you would; you're learning and figuring things out. Have some adventures (safely) and learn some new things about yourself. Keep getting, and staying, involved in your community and school. Make sure you have a habit of checking your email.

11th Grade: Keep forming great relationships with teachers, you'll want them to write rec letters or give references. Take on leadership positions and sit with someone new at the lunch table. Try that tough class and challenge yourself, and then succeed and prove how capable you are. Study hard for the SAT/ACT and hope you only have to take it once, even if schools are test-optional, because some scholarships may want one of the tests. Write up your resume if you haven't yet or add your activities into Scoir. Attend events. Really think about what you want out of college if that's what you want to do, and start building a list. If you don't want to go to college yet, look into local job opportunities or if you can get a certificate for a high-paying job in a semester at a community college. As you head into summer, the most preparation you do to start essays, edit your resume, and finalize your college list/plans, the easier Senior Fall will be.


12th Grade: Be organized. There's a lot to keep track of this year. Trust that if your counselor or a teacher is emailing you about something, it is important and you should read it. Attend events, especially Senior Night, because it'll answer a lot of questions. Make a plan for the fall, and choose a time you want to be done with college applications. Fill out FAFSA as soon as you can to get the largest amount of money possible. Senioritis is real, and the best way to combat it is to just keep working; I recommend choosing after spring break because then you have a good baseline of work and can relax. And, straight from my notes right after my own high school graduation, "make a nice resume, don't procrastinate, find some comedy specials you like, don't start drama, and be inclusive." Finally, make some good memories. They can be with high school friends, or they can be with family, or they can be on your own, but having some adventures will never be regretted. 

For more information, check out Ms. Schaeffer’s College Advising website.


Written by Herbert Johnson-12th grade student