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Staying the course: New freshmen can sometimes question their college decisions this time of year

At Scotia-Glenville the guidance department team uses a system called Guidance Direct, which is an Internet-based program that counselors and students use in the student's junior year. It works its way through the common questions, such as whether or not to stay close or go far, a large school versus a small one, two- or four-year and so on.

Scotia-Glenville counselor Lise Williams said the program starts with a public-versus-private section of questions and moves to questions about location " how far from home, which states in the country " before going on to possible majors the student might be interested in. The counselors then use that information to help students select possible colleges based on grades and SAT scores and the size of the school one is interested in.

Lastly, students can choose based on special programs or athletic programs and division levels. Guidance Direct then generates a list of potential colleges that guidance counselors then go over with the students and even parents.

Williams said they invite parents to come in around April and May to meet with the department and their student to look for schools.

"We use our background knowledge to help them narrow the list, often to about 10 to 12 schools. We then suggest the student begin their own research into the schools, looking at the Web sites online, doing the virtual tours so they can narrow down their list even more to schools they would want to visit and take a guided tour. Our hopes in the end are that the student creates a list of schools that have what meets their needs as well as offers variety," said Williams.

For those college freshman who are dealing with the uncertainty of whether they have chosen the right school, there can be comfort in hearing the stories of students who have gone before them.

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