College Counselors Provide Help During Stressful Process

Rockhurst college counselors Fola Okediji, Darren Meeker and Kyle Johnson

Carter Mihalovich, Staff Reporter

Students are often overwhelmed with decisions and work when it comes to deciding which colleges to apply to. Knowing what to major in or knowing how to build your resume is a common issue for those beginning the process. At Rockhurst there are three resourceful college counselors to give advice, and support students’ journeys. Fola Okediji, Kyle Johnson, and Darren Meeker work to make sure Rockhurst students are prepared to apply for college.

The College Counseling Office helps students navigate the application process. They handle discussions with students to identify college options, send transcripts to schools and advise on various scholarship opportunities. The college counselors also host events and meetings to introduce students to college representatives. These include college fairs and informational speeches.

“[We] invite over 100 college admission representatives to Rockhurst High School,” Meeker said.

The College Counseling Office helps underclassmen in the college process as well. They suggest that, as underclassmen, students should get involved in various extracurricular activities, run for student government, play a sport or instrument or join a club.

“Participation in activities such as these will demonstrate you are motivated, self-disciplined, eager to try new things, and able to manage your time well,” said Okediji.

Don’t just take Okediji’s word for it. Recent graduates often look back and reflect on the things that would’ve been beneficial for their applications.

“I wish I joined more clubs while I was there,” says Alexander Mohajir ’22. “They are great resume builders.”

According to Meeker, “[Grades are] strong indicator[s] of how committed you are to being a good student.” 

Therefore, students should strive to do their best in school. Even though there are many other factors in the application process, grades are very important.

While going through the college process, many students make errors. Waiting until the last minute to apply is the most common. Procrastinating on college applications can be detrimental to students’ acceptance rate. College essays are one of the most important parts of the application, so rushing them will bring down their quality.

Missing deadlines is also surprisingly common. Many students will miss deadlines. Once students miss their deadlines, their chances of being admitted will be zero at a majority of colleges. Meeker suggests that everyone meets with their counselors as soon as possible. If that doesn’t happen, students could fall behind in the process. 

Sometimes, in writing applications, students will make the mistake of mentioning the wrong school. This looks bad because it shows that students aren’t taking their application seriously. Colleges may think that students are copy and pasting essays. When writing college essays, students must be true to themselves. Mrs. Okediji says that students need to “closely align [their] values with the colleges and universities to which [they] will submit [their] application.”

Students need to know their strengths and weaknesses and tap into their past experiences so that they can give a meaningful argument on why they should be admitted.

When students are not sure where they want to go for college or what they want their major to be, it isn’t a problem. Being undecided is the most popular option for incoming freshmen. As for choosing colleges, the college counselors will guide students and show them which colleges will be the best fit.

“The most commonly attended colleges by Rockhurst students are flagship universities such as [the University of] Kansas and [University of] Missouri,” said Meeker. “In terms of private institutions, Rockhurst University, Creighton University and Marquette University are the most popular.”

This list changes slightly every year, but if you are not sure where to go, these are a great start, according to the counselors. The Naviance app also offers scattergrams to show you which colleges fit your academic success. Regardless of which college students choose, past Rockhurst students have some simple advice.

“My advice to high school students is to not stress out too much about the college process because it will all turn out fine” said Will Eckles ’22. “You can have fun at lots of places.”