Randall High School creates college center to help prepare students

Navigating the pathway to a higher education can be confusing for some. That's why Randall High School created a College Center, making it easier for students to navigate that pathway. The College Center was created last year. School officials said, it's purpose is to counsel students on their journey to gain a college degree by discussing university options and career fields. It's this week's Region 16 Spotlight on Education.

"Students need to be prepared for what comes next in college and we want our students to go on to higher education," said College and Career Advisor, Lila Vars.

But that journey can be a confusing and overwhelming one. Lila Vars is the college and career advisor at Randall High School's newly created College Center. Her job is to help make it less stressful for students by discussing career and university choices with them, starting as early as their sophomore year.

"There are a lot of students who have no family that have gone to college they may either have an aunt or uncle, but their parents did not go. I would say well over half of them are first generation students," said Vars.

Vars also said there's a lot of financial aid out there to where many students don't even have to take out loans. "We have to show them ways that they don't have to pay for the whole thing that there are ways to get financial assistance."

Students said the College Center has helped tremendously.

"I'm applying at Tech and it just is more relaxing to come in here because you're not stressed out doing it by yourself," said Randall High School senior, Mackenzie Cross.

"The college center has really helped me, Mrs. Vars helps you through all the scholarship stuff and it's a lot easier to be prepared for college so its really nice to have," said Randall High School senior, Sydney Farley.

"It is overwhelming but like since I have an idea of what I want and how I need to get there and the help and steps I need to take, its like more relaxing and laid back almost," said Randall High School senior, Marlene Daniel.

Vars said it's crucial for students to further their education more so now than it was 20 years ago. "They're not going to be employable if they don't get some type of training certificate."

Representatives from several schools do show up to speak with students and parents during informational meetings in the evenings, including from West Texas A&M University and Amarillo College.