The Future of Pinewood College Counseling


Raghav Ramgopal

College Counselor Marvin Coote looks over senior Nate Martin’s work.

To most students, one of the most integral parts of an education is finding the ideal college that fits their interests and properly prepares them for the adult world. This places a lot of pressure on teenagers. Bearing this in mind, college counselors Carolyn Siegel and Marvin Coote have adapted Pinewood’s college counseling program to focus on every aspect of preparing for college, for all grade levels.

“Our hope with the grade level meetings was to draw sort of an arch of progress,” Siegel said. “With ninth grade, it’s an open buffet of choices and you should be making them and not be afraid. In tenth grade, [it’s] the idea of narrowing in. In eleventh grade, focus on refining. It’s really about having a continued conversation.”

Since Siegel is now a full time counselor alongside Coote, this leaves plenty of opportunities for the expansion of college counseling programs. The hope of the two counselors is to continue the tradition of annual grade level meetings to offer consistent support. 

On Aug. 30, the first of the meetings took place for the freshman class to discuss their initial hopes for college and how to be creative in exploring extracurriculars and clubs. While freshman year is the beginning of high school, it is still imperative to balance out the academics. 

“I thought they would tell us to do a lot more and put a lot more stress on us, but they said to take the freshman year easy,” freshman Billy Lloyd said. “And they told you to focus on things that you like.”

On Sep. 9, Siegel and Coote held a meeting for the sophomore class to discuss focusing and exploring electives, extracurriculars, and sports to narrow down potential interests as the workload increases.

“It [has] started me to think a little bit more about [college],” sophomore Jonathan Detkin said. 

For the juniors, the session was focused on balancing mental health and refining the path for college. The pressure is on when applying for colleges, so it is critical to find harmony between the anxiety of academics and valuing well-being. 

“They were mostly focused on mental health and not stressing about the college process,” junior Kaelyn Smith said. “I think it was good to hear that everything is going to be ok … even if you’re a B-student.”

Siegel and Coote’s goal was to communicate as much as possible and to demonstrate their constant availability to the students. 

“We definitely want to continue doing programming and we want that flow of questions to keep coming,”Siegel said.