College & Career Counseling
When SouthLake Christian Academy opened its doors in 1994 to 23 students in grades K-4, one of the last things on the minds of those involved was college and career counseling. Even when the school began expanding, the daily challenges and future planning did not traditionally focus on high school graduation and subsequent college admissions.
At the start of the 1999-2000 school year, when that year’s eighth grade class became the first to move to ninth grade at the Academy, consideration was given to what a high school would require. As a grade level was added each year following, so began the SouthLake Christian high school.
The Class of 2003, totaling 10 students, became the first to graduate from SouthLake Christian. This past year, the Class of 2015 was the thirteenth graduating class. It had 63 seniors. Upon completion of graduation this June, the total number of SouthLake graduates will reach nearly 600.
SouthLake Christian Academy provides a comprehensive guidance program using the most current resources and networks to assist each student in developing a personalized post-graduate plan that best meets his or her needs. One of the unofficial mottos of the CCCO is, ‘The best decisions are those that are prayerful and informed.’
In those early years of the high school, the groundwork was laid for what the College and Career Counseling Office (CCCO) has become today. As with many things, college counseling is an ever-changing landscape and requires careful scrutiny to stay abreast. School families are blessed that the school board and the administration view the CCCO as a natural extension of the overall ministry and fully support its efforts.
Tremendous growth at the Academy has prompted growth in the CCCO. One of the first outward appearances of that growth occurred in 2008, when the CCCO was moved out of the main suite of offices and into the heart of the school. This was done with purpose. Today, the students have greater access in a more relaxed atmosphere. They are free to utilize resources; with the CCCO’s open-door policy, most students are served right at the time of need. This has fostered an amazing relationship among the CCCO personnel, the students and their families. It is especially rewarding when so many of the graduates return to visit, letting us know how their SouthLake Christian education and college planning prepared them so well for the challenges they face following graduation.
Growth has also precipitated expanding services beyond traditional 2- or 4-year collegiate matriculation to include career, gap year, post-graduate year and military information and counseling. Additional resources have been added, including Family Connection by Naviance, a web-based resource for students and parents that encourages and supports post high school career and college planning.
In the CCCO, many things take place, not only helping and directing students in the postgraduate planning process, but also keeping a close watch on what classes students are taking. Recommendations and academic advice are given to all students so that they not only may meet the requirements to graduate from SouthLake, but they also are prepared to be admitted to their best fit colleges or to follow whatever path God has for them.
It is interesting to note that, while we have had graduates enroll in many of the institutions the world classifies as prestigious or have ranked high in some arbitrary listing, the focus of the SouthLake College and Career Counseling Office is on helping students and their families identify colleges or post-graduate programs that are a good fit for them, not what the world says looks good on a bumper sticker. Sometimes they are one and the same, but just as often they are not. The first 500+ graduates have matriculated to more than 80 different colleges and universities around the country, selected international programs or gap years, begun apprenticeships, or enlisted in the United States Armed Services. Students have been admitted to each Military Academy, and SouthLake has been or is currently represented at most of the state and private institutions in North Carolina and the Southeast.
SouthLake Christian graduates are now college graduates and are also representing the school in the worlds of business, politics, medicine, technology, the military and missions. Preparations for life beyond the doors of SouthLake Christian Academy are an ongoing process in all facets of a student’s tenure at the Academy. Our goal in the College and Career Counseling Office is to provide our students and their families with prayerful counsel, encouragement and extensive resources that allow each student to discern and fulfill the purpose and plans God has for his or her life, discovering not only who they are, but Whose they are.