Post Graduate Planning

Post Graduate Planning at Collier High School--a NJ Alternative High School

Post Graduate Planning

My name is Barbara Zmich and I am the Post-Graduate Counselor at Collier High School.  I assist seniors (and juniors upon request) in their exploration and actualizing of their career goals.  I have information regarding colleges, vocational schools/technical institutes, financial aid and gainful employment.  While undergoing this process with the senior, I collaborate with the family, the child study team and our teachers and administration to help ensure a smooth transition.  Students’ requests to meet with me individually regarding their post-graduate plans are always honored as soon as possible.  Seniors with early application deadlines are initially met with more frequently.  It is our goal that every effort is made for each child to have a solid educational or employment plan upon graduation.

Students have the option of attending a group that addresses the application process to a four year college.  This six week group explores topics such as essay writing, dorm living, college visits and interviewing and the differences between high school and college.  Tentative plans are in place to offer a test prep placement exam for students applying to a community college.  They too, will be offered the opportunity to attend a group to discuss the application process.

It is our hope that we be able to offer periodic workshops in the new year that would include such topics as independent living and money management.  As always, there will be a senior retreat in spring that will provide the seniors with some time and space for reflection and sharing to help transition from Collier High School.

My name is Ashley Crean and I am one of the Post-Graduate Counselors at Collier High School.  I work with all high school students in exploring their interests and developing post-graduate plans.  Students complete career interest inventories, which assist them in researching careers that are in line with their interests and work environment values, as well as discovering what it takes to become a professional in a desired career (e.g., required education and training, personal characteristics, etc.).  We explore potential careers and I provide students with the opportunity to research colleges or programs which emphasize training in their desired occupations.  I also collaborate with teachers, social workers, administrators, and the community to run a Career Day.  The Career Day provides students with the opportunity to meet with some professionals who are currently working in their desired career group.  

Current high school students and Collier High School alumni may request to meet with me individually and will additionally have the opportunity to take part in my psychoeducational guidance lessons during their English classes.  In individual and group sessions, I work with the students on how to find job postings, create and update their resumes, apply to jobs for which they are eligible, learn and practice how to interview, learn job skills needed to maintain employment, and upgrade their existing job skills.  I also work with students on financial planning and budgeting, how to file taxes, and learning other life skills.  In group, we will also explore the college search and application process, finding and applying for scholarships, as well as learn how to apply for loans and the FAFSA.  I also additionally created freshman groups during the summer JET program and during freshman English classes to explore the transition into high school (e.g., behavioral expectations, time management, organization, social skills, etc.).

I oversee the SAT Prep Club which is offered for all high school students, which allows students to practice taking the SAT, ACT and Accuplacer.  It is our hope that while participating in this club, students will improve their test taking skills, improve their scores on standardized tests, as well as learn coping skills for testing anxiety.  Another club opportunity for students is the School Store Club, which allows students to learn job skills and how to manage money and deposits.  All proceeds from the School Store go toward PTO scholarships to provide to seniors upon graduation.  Other transition-related clubs offered at Collier High School are Model United Nations and Youth and Government.  These clubs assist students in improving their social skills, problem solving skills, debate and public speaking techniques, as well as teamwork.