|High school college and career counselor attends Florida Sunshine Tour|
|Monday, February 24, 2020|
Getting a college acceptance letter is exciting.
Pattonville High School college and career counselor Ms. Michelle Luraschi learned that firsthand after being accepted to participate in the Florida Sunshine Tour from Feb. 3-12. On this exclusive tour of Florida’s top private colleges and universities, 29 counselors from around the world visited 13 different schools. Each day, the group stopped at two different campuses for tours as well as to meet with students, faculty and administrators.
“We just crossed the state and went up and down the coast to visit each of them,” Luraschi said. “It was a great experience and I was really surprised.”
The participating colleges can invite counselors and previous attendees can submit names for consideration to attend. Luraschi was invited by Florida Institute of Technology.
While in the Sunshine State, she shared photos and information about the schools she was visiting on her social media accounts. When at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Luraschi took a picture with 2019 Pattonville High School alumnus Jarred McCormick and shared what his college life is like.
She also shares all of the notes she takes when visiting schools on Naviance.
“I’ve already seen this help me as a college counselor because case in point, I just had a senior come in who was following me on Instagram, and he said, ‘Oh, I saw you were in Miami, tell me about the schools that you visited there,’” Luraschi said. “He's applied to the University of Miami which I did not visit, but I was able to tell him about Barry University, which is also in Miami, and I just told him a little bit about it.”
She attended presentations highlighting the different schools’ academic majors, athletic programs and student life activities, and just by being on campus, she said it gives her a better idea of the school when talking to prospective applicants about it.
“You can learn more about a school by being there compared to what you might read on a fancy web page. It gives you a sense of the culture and you get to really see the facilities,” she said. “When I'm sitting with students and parents, I can speak more intelligently and I can say, ‘I've been there, I've seen it. This is why I think it would be a good place to look at for yourself.’”
She was also reminded to encourage students to look wider than their initial comfort zone when searching for a school.
“Don't assume that an out-of-state school is not affordable for the right student,” she said. “It sometimes can be cheaper than an in-state school.”
The one takeaway from being a part of the Sunshine Tour is the importance of visiting colleges because it’s such a different experience than just visiting a website.
“We met with a lot of faculty and students who attend school there and so we just get a better sense of what that college is like beyond the marketing on a webpage,” she said. “I was also able to make connections so that if I do have a student interested in going there and I want to advocate for them, I know that person I need to talk to a little bit more.”
She is working with more than half of the students at Pattonville High School right now.
“I’m starting to work with the juniors, but a lot of seniors carry over into this semester, too,” she said. “I’m working with seniors about financial aid and scholarships, answering ‘How do I get into my college portal?’ so they can fill out their housing contracts, and I'm helping students who are scared because it’s starting to set in that they are about to leave high school.”
You can schedule an appointment with Luraschi in the counseling office and follow her on Twitter (@phsCareer) and Instagram (@pattonvillecollegeandcareer) to learn more about the Pattonville College and Career Center.
“I also have Remind that students can sign up for and they'll get information about college visits, scholarships and other events going on.”