GBHS’ College and Career Center story offers underutilized opportunities

GBHS College and Career Center offers students a variety of resources from books on standardized test prep to brochures on making college choices.

photo by Aiden Lai

GBHS’ College and Career Center offers students a variety of resources from books on standardized test prep to brochures on making college choices.

As college admissions start to roll out and seniors buzz about their future plans, it’s time for the underclassmen (and especially juniors) to start looking into what lies ahead.

Granite Bay High School offers a plethora of opportunities and resources for students to take advantage of, yet most students aren’t aware of them, with only 50 – 80 students attending online workshops in April.

Open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. everyday and run by Teri Keeney, the College and Career Center is located in the back of the library. All students can walk in at any time, as well as attend meetings during class, with permission from a teacher. All resources and services are free.

GBHS’ College and Career Center offers a wide range of opportunities for students. The College and Career Center offers in-person workshops, meetings with college representatives, employment and volunteer opportunities, essay writing resources, and hosts college and career fairs like the event held last September. GBHS also hosts the ASVAB, career exploration opportunities and dual enrollment with Sierra College, for students who are unsure of what they want to pursue in the future. For students looking for work, work permits, presentations and hands-on workshops for vocational opportunities, such as firefighting, mechanical and construction, are readily accessible.

“Any volunteer opportunities we have, we’ll put them in the student bulletin, on Instagram or on the website. So there’s various volunteer opportunities, usually on campus, but then there’s also outside volunteer opportunities and employment,” Keeney said.

Free UC essay and scholarship writing workshops are also available for rising juniors and seniors, starting in the fall. The website also contains information about the UCs, CSUs, out of state colleges, the Common Application, financial aid, scholarships, and letters of recommendation. Keeney also often recommends students to free online resources for the SAT and ACT or towards GBHS’ IB World Religions and English teacher David Tastor and IB Math and AP Calculus Scott Becker’s SAT/ACT prep service

Despite some colleges, like the UCs, becoming test-blind or test optional, many students still value taking the SAT or ACT. 

Tastor and Becker’s SAT/ACT test prep offers a new perspective on teaching students how to navigate through and improve their scores on standardized tests, which can help earn them a better financial aid package and open doors that can’t be reopened in the future.

“What makes us different from a lot of the other companies is probably our philosophy, in that we’ll teach test strategy within our workshop, but our focus is content. We are doing prep workshops in the content areas that we teach, and there’s only so much trickeration you can do on a test, before you run out of strategies. And the bottom line is if you can’t factor a quadratic, you’re probably not getting that question right,”  Becker said. 

Compared to other big prep companies, the partners believe that they offer better resources for a better price.

“We’re not some 25 year old kid reading off of the script or dangerous blogs that present absolutely perfect essays (that leads to a kid who’s trying to fit in a style of a language that they can’t write in), we’re both 25 plus year veterans who teach the content that we actually teach in the class,” Tastor said. “We can actually help the students maneuver through material, questions and content that is given to them in a way that is different from any other sort of prep business out there.” 

Tastor also runs an essay writing advising service.

Jacob Abraham, a senior who took Tastor and Becker’s prep camp last fall, said the service was well worth it.

“It was like an hour or two for each session, so it definitely helped and (the cost) was definitely worth it,” Abraham said. “My score was obviously higher because of the service so I was more confident in my admissions.”

Abraham’s only regret is not taking the prep class earlier, so that he could have taken the SAT sophomore year. 

Early preparation, Keeney said, is similarly key for juniors who can relieve stress senior year by filling out their college applications over the summer.

“If you need to tweak anything in the fall, you can just tweak it. You’re not creating an essay or your resume from scratch or left wondering about what activities I do and then you remember that you forgot something after you submit your application,” Keeney said.“You have time to think about everything, brainstorm with your family and make sure you have everything covered.”

Getting as much as you can ahead of time, gives you more peace of mind, allowing you to be ahead of the game. Keeney strongly recommends the College and Career Center’s resources for juniors ahead of the summer before senior year as valuable time to plan essays and applications.

“And when the application opens, you’re all ready. You can go into it and just start plugging in all the information and then submit it,” Keeney said.