Last week we celebrated National School Counseling Week, honoring the tremendous dedication, creativity and passion school counselors demonstrate every day. To keep the celebration going, this week we’re excited to shine the College & Career Readiness (CCR) spotlight on Jenni Melnik, a senior counselor at Platt High School in Meriden. Mrs. Melnik’s story is one example of how school counselors across the network are applying their expertise and leveraging resources to support students to achieve their postsecondary goals.
Mrs. Melnik’s student Priscilla has dreamed of getting a degree in Radiologic Technology since she was a freshman in high school. When it came time for Priscilla to apply to colleges, she was excited to apply to the Radiologic Technology Program at the University of Hartford. A few weeks after supporting Priscilla to submit her application, Mrs. Melnik found out that Priscilla was accepted into University of Hartford but not her target program. In conversations with Priscilla, Mrs. Melnik learned she had decided to change her entire career goal and get a degree in General Science as a result of not gaining admission into the Radiologic Technology Program.“I was disappointed for Priscilla because her career goal should not have to change. She is a very bright and determined young lady,” Mrs. Melnik said. “I decided to contact the admissions representative at UHart to see if Priscilla could reapply to the program if she had a successful freshman year.” It was during that call that Mrs. Melnik and the representative discussed some of the challenges the student had faced during her sophomore year, which helped put some of the student’s application into a new light. The representative was surprised at the information Ms. Melnik shared and asked for some time to pull the student file and review with her supervisor.
A few days later, the admissions representative contacted Jenni to share the good news. University of Hartford was going to overturn their decision and accept Priscilla into the Radiologic Technology Program. Priscilla is an in-person learner and was in the building that day. Mrs. Melnik pulled her out of class to speak with the admission representative. Lots of excitement ensued when Priscilla was told she would now be taking the direct path toward her dream and had earned acceptance into the program. Mrs. Melnik told the RISE CCR team she “was just doing my job,” but Mrs. Melnik’s persistence is an example of how one phone call can change a student’s future path. “It is not always going to happen that way, but there are students that when you are shocked at the outcome don’t hesitate to pick up the phone. Relationships with college admission representatives will always help us. You never know when you might be pleasantly surprised,” Mrs. Melnik reflected. Thank you, Jenni Melnik, and thank you to all the wonderful school counselors within the RISE Network!