Lakehill Preparatory School's Director of College Counseling, Heather Dondis, kept busy this summer, taking advantage of two professional opportunities organized by the Texas Association for College Admission Counseling (TACAC), a professional organization that serves high school counselors, admissions officers, and students across the state of Texas.
In June, Dondis was selected as a mentor for Camp College, a week-long college preparation boot camp for rising high school seniors. One hundred students from across Texas attended the camp at SMU, experiencing college life and learning the basics of the application process. Most of the students who attend are from high schools that do not have a college counselor or where counselors maintain a caseload of 500 or more students. The students who participate are often the first in their family to attend college. After a week of dorm life and workshops, students left with an application draft, a resume, an edited essay, and the assurance that they can, and will, go to college.
Dondis also participated in the week-long Admission and College Counseling Institute, hosted by St. Edwards University. As a mentor, Dondis worked with new counselors from around the state of Texas and beyond who were seeking advice on how to have a successful first year in a college advising role.
Experienced counselors presented informative sessions on the many aspects of college advising. With 50 new counselors and a staff of nine, the mentors were able to form strong relationships and provide helpful tools and hints to ensure a successful year ahead.
"It was wonderful to have the opportunity to collaborate with students and colleagues from around the state of Texas," said Dondis. "Not only did I have the opportunity to teach others, I was also able to gain valuable insight from other counselors in attendance. This will further help our students at Lakehill approach the college application process with confidence."
The Lakehill College Counseling process is a cornerstone of the Upper School experience. Students begin counseling as early as eighth grade, and are presented with a variety of unique workshops, college visits, and experiences throughout their four years of high school.
"Ms. Dondis is a gold mine of information," said Lakehill senior parent and Board Member Irwin Thompson. "She knows everything about the college process and makes sure that every student, and every parent, is well prepared for the journey. Our students are extremely fortunate to have this amazing resource. I don't know of any other school that prepares its students so well."