Anderson High School Counselor Helps Students With Their Postgraduate Plans | Messages

ANDERSON — At the start of the 2021-2022 school year, Anderson High School added a college and careers advisor to better help students as they begin to think about their lives after high school.

Prior to this school year, AHS had only one freshman counselor and three high school counselors. However, the district identified a need for a college and careers counselor.

“Unfortunately, with so many cases, we just haven’t had the time to personally address college and career needs,” said Terri Wilson, college and career counselor at AHS.

Wilson, who is in her fourth year as an AHS counselor, is entering her 17th year of school counseling, although this is the first time she’s counseled solely on college and careers.

In Wilson’s eyes, her job is to help students with their future plans, be it education, hiring or employment.

“In my opinion, college isn’t always best for everyone.”

She devotes most of her time to those interested in higher education, including college, university, trade school, and technical schools.

“If you’re talking about college applications and scholarships, those are more time-consuming.”

Wilson not only advises students on how to shape their future, but also plays a role in the application process.

She offers workshops on how to apply for free federal student aid, or FAFSA, as well as scholarship workshops and even hosts events where students can work on their college applications.

“Although our students all have devices, they don’t always have access to good, reliable internet service,” Wilson said.

Offering this service also allows students to get help throughout the process, which is especially important for students who are first-generation college students, meaning their parents did not attend a four-year institution.

For students interested in enlisting in the armed forces, Wilson helps put them in touch with recruiters.

She also helps students find the branch that is best for them.

“Just because your uncle doesn’t fit into a particular industry doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for you.”

She also recommends that students meet with more than one recruiter and discuss career opportunities before signing with a particular industry.

Wilson takes a different approach for students who want to go straight into the job market after high school.

“What I’m really pushing on them is that they have to be marketable. You need some skills,” she said.

Luckily, Anderson Community School is home to the D26 Career Center where students can learn the skills needed.

“Our students can go home with certificates … real work experience and skills that can leave them and get a well-paying job.”

Wilson has been able to meet with all of the juniors and seniors, and she plans to meet with all of the first and second years soon.

Currently Wilson is devoting a lot of time to the senior class as their future will begin at the earliest. Wilson hopes to focus more on underclassmen in the coming years.

Wilson has already seen results related to the addition of her position. During the 2020-2021 school year, only nine students applied for the Lily Endowment Scholarship, while 31 applied this year. While no AHS student received the scholarship, Wilson noted that it was a big leap from previous years.

This spring, Wilson hopes to take a group of students to Anderson University and Ivy Tech Community College Anderson to see what college campuses look like.

Wilson wants every student to know that the services she offers are based on the needs of the students.

“If they need anything, reach out to me and let me know, and that will help me build the program.”

Follow Kylee Mullikin on Twitter @kyleemullikinhb or call

765-640-4250.

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