An Application to a Brighter Future


Yasmeen Persaud

Francis Lewis’ College Office

Green, pink, and yellow papers flood the hands of students anxiously waiting in line. These colors make perfect sense to seniors, marking a grand start to the college application season. Room 111 is where it all begins.

The college office guides and assists students on their pathway to college. Students are encouraged to always plan early as a visit to the college office before senior year is recommended to jump start the college process. Applying seems like a daunting task at first, but the college office at Francis Lewis simplifies the process and eases the inevitable anxiety. 

“This year our graduating class is 1099 students and each student is probably applying to a minimum of 20 schools,” college office advisor Ms. Chianetta said. 

During the last week of September, seniors are advised to attend a mandatory college planning meeting with their advisor to find out more information on how to submit their applications. They are also given a “Senior Bulletin”, a handbook that dictates important dates, reminders, and guides on completing the application process. October 16 was the last day to turn in pink forms to request transcripts for students applying for Early Action and Early Decision.

“I consider [the college process] very difficult but if you know what you’re doing  and you have the right guidance, it will be a lot easier,” senior Michael Kouroupakis said. “I had a couple [of] friends help me but Mr. Verastegui, my college advisor, put me on the right path.”

To process college applications, the college office operates through a primary platform tool, Naviance. Students usually access their Naviance accounts junior year as the college office communicates with students mainly through Naviance, sending emails about upcoming information sessions and priorities juniors and seniors need to follow.

“The cycle really starts in September and builds towards October, November and December,” college counselor Mr. Verastegui said. “In January and February we slow down, but then again, we are starting with a new junior class. There are peaks, but no valleys.”

Francis Lewis prepares students for “success in college, career, and life”, and preparing for life after high school can start as early as freshman year.

“If you’re a freshman, start looking into exploring your careers,” Mr. Verastegui said.  “If you’re a sophomore, start looking into [the] SAT and ACT and figure out which one is best for you.” 

The mid-year grades request form was due on January 19.  From March through April students are notified of their admission by colleges and in May must decide which college to attend in the fall.  In approximately five months, seniors will be walking across the stage at graduation, throwing up caps in honor of their four years of education and growth at Francis Lewis High School. 

“I have been a college counselor for ten years,” Mr. Verastegui added. “There are many memorable moments. I helped a student that was undocumented get into Princeton University with a full scholarship. When you get to see them as doctors, as lawyers, it’s nice to know that you made that small difference.”

When thinking about your goals and selecting your ideal path in college and beyond, the mantra remains clear:  Follow your dreams.

“You tend to spend most of your life at work than at home, so if you’re not happy then you won’t have a good life,” Ms. Chianetta stated. “I love the kids. I do it for them.”

Additional reporting and interviewing by Jennifer Hernandez.

Inquiring Photographer:  What advice do you have for underclassmen?