PCSST counselors meet with each student a minimum of three times during the course of the school year to assist in establishing personalized academic, college, and career plans. Starting in 6th grade, school counselor meetings focus on career exploration, college planning, and helping students to select high school courses that will assist with college and career readiness. The intention of these meetings is to help the student explore personal skills and abilities, set clear goals, and formulate individual plans that will set the student up for optimum success. In general, the content of individual counseling sessions for each student is determined based on the students personalized needs.
College Fairs and College Trips:
Starting from middle school, the PCSST counselors schedule field trips for PCSST students to visit college open houses and college fairs. These trips offer students access to representatives from local and national institutions from whom they gain insight and information on topics like academic requirements, the admissions process, and campus life. Additionally, in their senior year, all PCSST students participate in the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) college fair. During this fair students have the opportunity to speak with representatives from over 50 HBCUs that provide application fee waivers, scholarship awards, and on-site admissions. The fair will also host college prep and financial aid workshops for students, parents, teachers, counselors, and anyone else interested in higher education. Most of the college career fairs and trips are organized by grade level during school hours.
Instant Decision Days:
Organizing college on site admission days is one of the most important components of PCSST’s College Readiness Access and Success Program. Thanks to our collaborative relationships with post-secondary institutions, each year an average of 10 instant decision days are organized with various local colleges and universities. During these on-site admissions days, PCSST students college application fees are waived, admissions counselors review completed college application files, and acceptance and scholarship decisions are made on the spot. In the past, the post-secondary institutions that have attended the PCSST instant decision days were: New Jersey City University, William Paterson University, Bloomfield College, Fairleigh Dickinson University, St. Peters University, Monroe College, Felician College, Dover Business College, Caldwell College, Berkeley College, DeVry University, Lincoln Technical Institute, Passaic County Community College, Bergen County Community College, as well as military schools such as Navy, National Guard, Air Force, and Army. From 2010-2016, most students who took part in instant decision days received acceptances with partial or full scholarship awards.
Dual Enrollment Program:
PCSST emphasizes the importance of early college and career readiness. The dual enrollment program is one way PCSST begins to prepare students for college level academics. In our dual enrollment program, high school students experience college level learning by taking courses at a local post-secondary institution. Once students complete and pass the course, they receive both high school and college credit. PCSST has built a partnership with Passaic County Community College, Seton Hall University, and William Paterson University. Each year, approximately 25% of seniors take the advantage of the college dual enrollment program and get a head start on their college careers.
Each year the PCSST Counseling Department holds an annual Career Day. PCSST school counselors work collaboratively with teachers, administrators, and members of the community to invite speakers who represent various career fields and technical schools. PCSST career day allows students to explore potential future career paths by listening to the perspectives and first hand experiences of those currently in the job force.