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High school counselors and college admission teams meet to empower students

The Colorado Coalition on High School/College Relations is holding its annual conference in downtown Colorado Springs.
Posted at 6:54 PM, Nov 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-30 20:54:06-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado Coalition of High School/College Relations held its annual conference in downtown Colorado Springs on Thursday. The group says their goal is to help connect high school counselors with college admission teams to help students get higher educational opportunities.

"That light that comes on in a young person's face when they figure out who they are, their strengths... it's why I do this," said Center Consolidated School District Counselor Katrina Ruggles.

Ruggles says this generation of soon-to-be-graduating seniors is different than others in the past; mainly because of the challenges they faced learning in the COVID-19 Pandemic. She does say, however, they're looking beyond the next 4 years of their lives.

"They want to find a career path that makes a meaningful difference of the world," Ruggles continued.

During the CCHSCR convention, counselors and college admission teams both agree that the COVID-19 Pandemic will have a lasting impact on education and won't be going away anytime soon.

"We're going to see a trickle-up effect for a long time with those educational challenges, and so just figuring out how to work with students and families to bridge those gaps, and again keep open access to the opportunities," said CCHSCR President Jenny Schnieder.

The Director of Admissions at Colorado Mesa College Whitney Bonner also said another large factor challenging students seeking higher education is financial need.

"A challenge that we see is the pricing, the cost of things. As inflation is happening nationally and in Colorado, students and families are thinking about how they're going to pay for college," said Bonner.

She also spoke about changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, process this year. While the changed application is set to expand Pell Grant aid to more students, the application is not currently open.

The Colorado Coalition thinks things like Free Colorado Application Day, a 3-day event where students can apply to Colorado Universities for free, are helping to encourage more students to attend college. They also mentioned the strong relationships between high school counselors and colleges will help students know which specific programs could be a good fit for them.

"We want to help them find the best fit for them to get the education they need for their future," said Schnieder.

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