Guidance Department Expands Services

Guidance Department Expands Services

Guidance counselor Mr. Adam Giardina '03 speaks with first-year students during the 3C Program.

Chaminade's Department of Guidance has expanded its services. New staff members have been hired solely for guidance and college placement, including one position that is the first-of-its-kind for Chaminade and for a school in our region.

Mrs. Carolyn Bianco has joined the College Placement Office as a financial aid advisor. She will be helping students and parents navigate the financial aid process from initial planning to the final stages of the application process. Mrs. Bianco will educate families on the intricacies of how need-based aid is determined, develop individual strategies to optimize need-based aid, and provide assistance with the FAFSA and CSS/Financial Aid Profile application. With a background in finance and accounting, Mrs. Bianco has many years of experience advising families on college aid.

"This is a very exciting time for both students and parents, and with the excitement also comes the reality of paying for college," Mrs. Bianco said. "I look forward to helping Chaminade families through the financial aid process. While this process seems overwhelming, preparing early is key."

The pressures of the college admissions process have increased over the last 20 years. So have the cost of a university education, the rate of inflation, and the cost of living on Long Island. Data from U.S. News and World Report indicate that tuition and fees for private universities have increased 168 percent since 1998 – 243 percent for in-state public school costs.

"Our students have the academic edge, but we want to make sure they have every edge covered," said Mr. Daniel Petruccio, assistant principal of guidance. "The opportunities are out there, and we look forward to Mrs. Bianco bringing them to us."

Two staff members hired over the past two years also focus much of their work on college admissions. Mr. Adam Giardina '03 and Mr. Nicholas Auriemma are designated guidance counselors serving the freshman, junior, and senior divisions. They join Directors of College Placement Mr. Robert Hazelton '82 and Mr. Matthew Kaplan '97 as a team offering strategic direction to the college admissions process. Counselors present in senior Academic Enrichment classes and are available to students for individual meetings. College placement officers know the trends and nuances.

"Now more than ever, students are expected to complete more applications, more tests, and meet more deadlines," Mr. Kaplan explained. "We've grown our presence to a broader variety of college admissions officers, and that has given us greater understanding of what each school seeks in an applicant."

First impressions are lasting impressions, and so, Mrs. Wendy Bouchard is on campus as a college essay consultant. She helps students with writing and editing two days a week. In 2018, more college representatives attended the spring College Fair and made visits to Chaminade in the fall.

The guidance department has also increased its commitment to students' mental well being. Mrs. Maureen Shannon is now Chaminade's certified in-school psychologist. With 26 years of experience, Mrs. Shannon helps with short-term situational matters and may offer crisis intervention assistance. She may receive referrals from guidance counselors, teachers, parents, or students themselves. Mrs. Shannon then works with parents on next steps to the challenges their sons may face.