(Copyright 2000. The Tattoo. All rights reserved.)

The Tattoo

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---

August 28, 2000

Guide yourself or be misguided

By Hila Yosafi

The Tattoo

Ideally, high school counselors are a dependable source of
advice,  encouragement, you know — guidance.  However, 
the staff my brothers, friends, and I have dealt with is far
from reliable.

I didn’t trust guidance counselors even before my freshman
year. They allowed my brother and several of his friends to
drop out of school with no suggestions — such as alternate
schooling like Westwoods.

Fewer students; less paperwork.

Apparently what they have is too much to handle. The
students who need them the most —- the seniors going to
college —- get extra stress from these so-called caretakers.
Real examples: sending the wrong transcript (one with a
lower GPA) to a college for a student. This happened to
someone I know, and UConn rejected him. After a lot of
hassle, he got it straightened out, but it shouldn’t have
happened in the first place.

Equally problematic is when guidance counselors leave the
transcript out when sending mate-rial off to a college for a
student. This delays the whole application process, at best.
Understand one thing -- unless a student goes out of her way
to get an exception by rattling somebody’s cage, the
guidance counselor, unfortunately, is the only one who gets
to mail, fax or otherwise transmit the all-important transcript
to potential colleges or scholarship committees.

This one indelible fact gives them a lot of power over your

You’ll get no advice on what courses to take that would
help you for life after high school. It’s just "by the way, you
need to take an art course or you won’t graduate this year."

The school is run like a corporation. The counselors do what
the business world calls "passing the buck."

Go downstairs.  Go upstairs. Call this person. Go to that
building. I was forced to do things on my own, such as send
out scholarships myself and investigate the Tunxis Prep
Program where students earn college credits for high school

When I inquired for evidence of the Tunxis credits I have
earned which I could transfer to my university, the guidance
counselor told me to go to Tunxis myself and find out.
Tunxis told me to ask my counselor.

When I told the counselor in charge what Tunxis shared with
me so she would know for the future in order to provide
guidance for the hundreds of other students in this program, I
was told to calm down and only be concerned about myself,
not the other students.

More than once, I was told contradicting statements by
different counselors. One of them told me I should get the
answers to my questions in writing.

Just like teachers, guidance counselors should not come to
work just to collect a paycheck.  They should care about the
success of their students, not just make sure they get their
federally provided minimum 23 minutes of lunch each day as
they count down their days to retirement.

I guess the guidance counselors have helped shape me for my
future. I have become more independent and got a sense of
the monkey-swinging field of business which I plan to enter.

A piece of advice for incoming freshmen: for quality
guidance stick to psychic hot lines.