At Palo Alto High School, advisors and teachers have always emphasized putting students first to best assist them as they navigate through their high school careers — and whether students need help with choosing which college is best suited to them or the applications themselves, students’ needs should always come first. While the College and Career Center (CCC) has provided much aid to fulfill these duties, The Campanile believes that there remain potential areas of improvement and that modifications could improve the CCC’s services.
Currently, the CCC is located in the Tower Building in a room with significantly less square footage than a typical classroom. To further exacerbate this lack of space, the room includes two cubicles, a reception desk and a round, wooden table — and all limit the seating space. When college representatives come to Paly for on-campus college visits to speak with students in the CCC, the space is often too small to accommodate the number of students who want to attend. This often leads to the CCC being overflowed with students when popular universities visit Paly, barring students from participating in these college visits. For example, when the University of California at Los Angeles visited, a line of students quickly built up, extending far into the Tower Building’s main hallway. Consequentially, many juniors were turned away and thus did not have the benefit of meeting the college’s representative.
According to Sandra Cernobori, one of the two college advisors at the CCC, meetings with representatives must be held in the CCC because a staff member must be present when representatives visit. Furthermore, Cernobori wants to meet with representatives to gain more information about colleges which are visiting Paly.
“In order to move into a larger place, we need to have a staff person on site — someone to supervise,” Cernobori said. “A parent volunteer is not a staff person… If we change the location and I’m not there, there’s no exchange between me and the college to benefit the communication between the college and the student.”
The Campanile recognizes that a staff member is required to be at the college visit and it would be logistically difficult for CCC college advisors to move from their office in the CCC to a different location whenever a college visits Paly. Thus, we believe revising current staff members’ responsibilities to do so is a feasible task. In the long run, the benefits of holding college visits in a bigger space and allowing more students to attend college visits outweigh the costs of paying a staff member for extended hours.
In addition, by having this extra help, both Cernobori and Alice Erber, the other college advisor, need not take time away from their busy schedules to meet with every college representative visiting Paly. The extra staff member could supervise the visits, speak to representatives, compile information about colleges and ultimately report that information back to Cernobori and Erber, who can then relay that information to students.
In sum, The Campanile believes that hiring a new staff member or migrating a current staff member’s job and holding the meetings in bigger spaces are viable solutions to the current CCC size predicament that would vastly improve the college visits while making the college advisor’s jobs easier.