Advice to Students and Parents from PaliHi College Counselors

This post is an addition to the article from earlier this week. 

Diana Hurst, a UCLA graduate with a master’s degree in organizational psychology from San Jose State University, previously worked as a human resources manager for advertising/public relations and law firms. She has advised students for four years.

Hurst tells students: “Relax and stay organized! Get used to the fact that one of the biggest decisions of your life will be out of your hands after you send in your applications, but it usually works out better than you can possibly imagine.”

For parents: “Be positive and supportive and keep it in perspective. If at all possible, do not add stress to your student’s college process.”

Melissa Rangel, a first-generation collegian who holds a philosophy degree from Cal State L.A., previously worked at Theodore Roosevelt High School’s College Corner for nine years. Rangel is also a college essay admissions reader at UC Irvine and has been at PaliHi for six years.

“We are firm believers that there is a college out there for everyone. Finding the right fit is more than just a ‘name brand’, it’s a personal experience. We try to urge students to take classes that will be engaging, enjoyable and still rigorous.

They should challenge themselves in different ways, be involved in activities they enjoy, to learn independently of what’s taught in the classroom . . . not just because it ‘looks good’ but because it’s important to them. Students will come in to see us and say they regretted letting the stress get in the way of enjoying the last few months of high school, and that shouldn’t be the case.”

Karen Ellis, who earned a degree in English from UCLA, has been advising PaliHi students for three years. An active UCLA alum, she has participated in the freshman application reading process and represents UCLA at college fairs.

“If I had one piece of advice it would be: When choosing a college, remember the ‘right fit’ is much more important than the ‘right name.’”

(Left to right) Diana Hurst, Ruth Grubb, Melissa Rangel and Karen Ellis are college counselors at Palisades High School. Photo: Bart Bartholomew
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