College counselors crusade for seniors


The Crusader Staff

College counselors Melissa Nagar and Mike Williams worked challenging hours to help seniors realize their college dreams.

Noah David '22, Photo Editor

At the start of the 2020- 2021 school year, Mike Williams joined Riordan’s staff as a college counselor. Alongside Melissa Nagar, the two counselors work to ensure that all upper class students are ready to attend and succeed in college.

With each counselor working with half of the senior class, Nagar and Williams are working around the clock, especially during these interesting times.

As Nagar stated, “We do our best to split the class equally in half. This year ’s senior class is 178 students.”

In terms of their preparation process for college, both counselors assist students by helping them write college essays, complete long applications for their desired schools, and expose students to opportunities they never had before.

Additionally, they keep parents involved by including them on important newsletters and giving them the ability to schedule meetings with the counselors. However, because of COVID-19, this process has shifted to a more online approach instead of in- person, as meetings are now over Zoom and with the introduction of online resources to help with the application process.

JT Torrea ’21 shared his experience, stating, “I personally worked with Mrs. Nagar a lot and she helped clarify a lot of details about the application process that I was really unfamiliar with. I feel like the counselors prepared us well because they sent slides that went through a step by step process of each application.”

He added, “My only problem was that our class didn’t get as much help on essay writing as past years did, simply because we weren’t able to physically meet in the college room with the counselors. I really had to take advantage of Mrs. Nagar’s office hours that she set up on Google Calendar.”

Williams responded, “I help students in the process primarily by helping them make sure to check all the boxes. In other words, helping them take all the steps they need to complete an application that presents their best self. Some of these things include writing a good essay, requesting a letter of recommendation from teachers, filling out various applications, or being aware of all the opportunities that are available to them.”

Similarly, Nagar added, “We help students in a variety of ways during the college process including helping students with their college lists, complete and review applications etc. We normally do this in-person via appointments and workshops but we’ve shifted to doing things over zoom. We’ve created resources to help students complete the applications on their own time such as recording the workshops, creating Google slide guides, and recording video tutorials.”

Nagar and Williams also mentally support students in making decisions that will make them into the best version of themselves.

As all students get closer to graduating and taking the next step, both advise to work hard in academics and to never sell yourself short in anything you do.

“Focus on your academics and challenge yourself whenever possible. Above all, your grades are the most important part of your college application. Colleges also want to see that you’re doing something other than schoolwork. It can be a personal hobby or formal school activity. It’s never too early to research colleges that you might be interested in and their requirements,” informed Nagar.

Finally, Williams added, “I would advise students to work as hard as they can in school, because then they learn how to learn while creating more opportunities for themselves and their future.”