Counselors pave the way with Take Charge Tuesday


Students take time after school to attend “Writing the Why Us with Northwestern University” presentation May 16.

By Huma Ughratdar 

According to the UChicago college rep that recently visited Lane, there are 3 T’s to nail in when writing a personal statement: technique, topic, and tone; make it short and sweet while maintaining grammar. Supplemental essays, on the other hand, are simply a “vibe check” and therefore should sound like you. This school year, the UChicago representative attended a Take Charge Tuesday event, presenting on college essay-writing and sharing important tips. He wasn’t the only one. 

Take Charge Tuesdays are college workshops that occur in the CCC room during multiple periods throughout the school day and consist of presentations that inform students, especially juniors, on topics related to college. Ultimately, the goal is for students to familiarize themselves with the college application process, according to Erin Driesbach, the College and Career Coach. 

“I think it’s important to be exposed to colleges, but I also think it’s really important for students to realize that college reps are human beings who want to help you, and I think particularly the smaller visits really helped students to start to build relationships with college reps and see them as those humans,” Driesbach said. 

The idea stemmed from the support and ideas of the post secondary leadership team, including Driesbach, along with Meredith Bantz, the Counseling Department Chair, who wanted to provide focus towards upperclassmen. 

“[We’re] a post secondary leadership team that meets every two weeks and talks about building a college-going culture at Lane, and we were talking one day about really wanting to start getting a jump-start on some sophomores and juniors being in here, so this was the best way we could do it,” Driesbach said. 

Take Charge Tuesdays began on March 14, with the event “Division of General Studies at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).” Other presentations throughout the month included “Becoming and being an NCAA athlete with University of Nebraska Lincoln”; “What is Questbridge? And who should apply? with Davidson College”; and “Applying to highly selective colleges with New York University.” More and future events can be found on the Take Charge Tuesday flier.

David Torres, a junior, attended one event about fly-in programs. Typically, universities cover the costs and many are free. 

“[They] taught me about the different program options that some post secondary institutions have to bring in minority students who are academically prepared students to their institutions to see the campuses and about what the institution has to offer,” Torres, a junior, said. 

The benefits of the programs don’t stop there. By showcasing college presentations, students are able to be exposed to a variety of topics related to college while possessing the freedom to ask questions, be actively involved in discussions, and gain confidence in their preparedness for college applications and college itself. 

“These events were very informational because there were representatives from different colleges available to answer questions and give a presentation or an overview about the topic at hand [with both Take Charge Tuesday presentations],” Torres explained. “And I didn’t really leave confused or grasping for what to take away because they were very spot-on the key points that they wanted us to leave with.”

Similarly, for the College and Career staff, the weekly events are a relief compared to before when there were a plethora of college representative presentations in a week. 

“I think having college reps gets really busy for me during the fall but having it limited to one day really helps it be branded for students and also helps contain it,” Driesbach said. 

 Besides Take Charge Tuesday, Driesbach has helped create Google Classrooms for possible career paths and identities of students such as future scientists and future Asian college students, to provide equitable access to related or college opportunities. 

“We [the post secondary leadership team] made some Google Classrooms and they have various themes so different ethnicities or religions or interests and the goal is to be able to share opportunities based on that group,” Driesbach said. “The goal of also using that later on to help attract students to different colleges that are coming in.”  

Just this summer, LT counselors are hosting a “Camp College” program during the first week of summer break. The summer camp college program is for rising seniors to get their college search and application process ready for senior year, according to the Lane Tech website on summer enrichment.

“This summer I am planning to offer different workshops and a few of them are specifically tied to the Black Students Association or the Latin American Students Association,” Driesbach said. “This is the time for you to feel with a group of people who relate to you.” 

For the future, Driesbach plans to evaluate the Take Charge Tuesday presentations based on their popularity and find ways to support rising seniors with their college applications besides Take Charge Tuesday and the summer opportunity such as starting the Common App early. 

As for Torres, the presentations have been very beneficial because the knowledge provided directly aligned with what he wanted to learn about for post-secondary education. 

“Being a first generation student leaves me at a position where I need to reach out to learn more about colleges and the college application process,” Torres said. “I want to learn more about the process myself in order to be more prepared for next year and not have to crowd applications or college research during my senior year.”