SRHS College Series goes virtual

Ginger Colletto, coordinator of the SRHS College and Career Series

SRHS College Series goes virtual

By Nick Ng

Students at Scripps Ranch High School (SRHS) have been able to connect with college counselors virtually to get a taste of what different campuses around the country offer through the SRHS College and Career Series.

Ginger Colletto, the coordinator of the College and Career Series, wasted no time moving the program online when the high school remained closed in the fall of 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That’s when I approached Principal Lawson and said, ‘Could we take the Wednesday College Series and offer it to students by Zoom?’” said Colletto, who created a YouTube channel called “The College Corner: Virtual College Fair” that features more than 80 videos. “Parents and students can see them, and we could keep this program going even though we’re not on campus. [Principal Lawson] was in favor of it.”

The first virtual videos were uploaded on March 17, 2020, and featured single campuses. By late September 2020, the College Series became more interactive with a presentation of three to four campuses per week. Colletto got 60 campuses involved this school year, including Miramar College, Arizona State University, University of Missouri and Purdue. The process of recording and uploading takes her about five to 10 hours a week.

The Scripps Ranch High School Foundation plays a fundraising role for the College Series. Although most donations come from parents, some local businesses and programs within the foundation sponsor the event.

Colletto included an essay writing workshop in which college counselors worked with the students on what they can expect on an essay and how to write their personal statement for admissions. She also held a “Stress to Success” event that helps students and parents navigate through the college selection process.

Colletto said that many families are “caught up” in choosing California State and UC campuses, which has made the admissions process more difficult for students to get into. One way parents can tackle the competitiveness is to let campuses know if they are a “financial need family or merit family.”

“A lot of these schools provide a ton of merit aid to these families – that brings the [cost] down to where it would be the same as going to a California school,” she said. “A lot of the out-of-state campuses are not impacted. Oftentimes, students can get out in four years at the same price tag that they would be paying for an in-state California school. … There’s a lot of opportunities out there.”

Students and parents can find updates about the College Series in the Sunday message that Colletto sends out through the principal. They can also access the information in the SRHS Foundation’s website under the “College Corner” tab. The Associated Student Body also sends these updates on its Instagram page.

“There are a lot of options outside of our wonderful California schools that are affordable,” Colletto said. “We learned that many students are under a lot of pressure to be that 5.0 student with the volunteer experience and sports. It stresses the kids out. Just love your student. Love who they are. Encourage them to be their personal best and there will be a college for them.”

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