Mr. Glasser and Mrs. Neria Start College Counseling Program

Oscar Flores, Copy Editor

The beginning of fall marks the start of the college admissions process and prospective Downey High seniors are currently drafting their applications for colleges and universities. To reduce the gravity of this task, Mr. Glasser and Mrs. Neria are offering individualized sessions to aid students with college decisions and personal statements.


These sessions began back in early Aug. when Glasser introduced the idea to his students in AP Microeconomics.  He handed out “Plan, Assess, and Revise” papers so that students could outline information – GPA, SAT/ACT score, classes, extracurriculars – that relate to the admissions process.  From there, students were given the option of making an appointment during first or sixth period, and before or after school.


In this conversation with Glasser and Neria, both teachers discuss the need for such a program, the plans to expand it beyond what it is now, and the impact they hope it has on the student body.


Q: To start off, how did the program come about? What was the planning like?


Mr. Glasser: “The program came about…the district is very interested in helping students, and we’ve realized that the personal essay – personal narrative – insight questions for UCs are increasingly more important in the acceptance process. Mrs. Neria and I have been helping students informally for years and the district came to us and said, “We’d like to do what you guys have been doing informally and make it a bigger scale.”


Q: And what is the plan to expand this program further?


Mr. Glasser: “We have a meeting at the district and we’re going to set up a way of making more teachers involved in the process. We’re going to end up coordinating and we’re going to have like five or six teachers at least that students can go to and who are committed to helping students; many of them have already been helping and they’re going to…”


Mrs. Neria: “…read prompts with us.”


Mr. Glasser: “That’s how we plan on expanding is getting more teachers involved ‘cause you’re right – we are realizing that this is bigger.  Students are really wanting this…”


Mrs. Neria: “…and appreciative…”


Mr. Glasser: “…they appreciate our efforts but this is bigger than the two of us. And it’s truly a community effort; counselors are doing this, the [College and] Career center are helping, and what we want to do is to get more people to help students.”


Q: College advisers are expensive and are often used only by higher-income students. What impact do you hope this counseling has on low-income students and their future?


Mr. Glasser: “That’s the best question is that…and this is why we’re interested in doing this.  The district’s involved for other reasons but this is why we’re interested is that these opportunities are available to a lot of high-income schools or kids at those schools.  Private tutors cost $5,000 at least and we recognize that our students don’t have that advantage so we are committed to trying to help them – and the district is committed to trying to bridge that gap.”


Mrs. Neria: “And give our students that cutting edge too so we can compete with the other districts – to give them that special help.”


Mr. Glasser: “We’re trying to help our students be competitive with those students that have more advantages. And that’s why we need more people on board to help – to help more kids.”


Q: The big question that arises is why did the program start now? Why not in years prior?


Mr. Glasser: “I think it did informally.  I think the difference is that the district has now recognized that this is a need – something that we have been doing with students…”


Mrs. Neria: .”..and lots of teachers…”


Mr. Glasser: “…have been doing this informally and I think this is just trying to bring more kids to see them.”


Q: The last question I want to ask now is, how long will this program be around for?


Mrs. Neria: “We’ve heard that there was one-time funding for this kind of program so we’re not quite sure how long this is going to last.”


Mr. Glasser: “They [Downey Unified School District] are trying to write a grant I think to get more money for it.  But yeah I think in the past it was informally done and I think the school and district want to formalize it.  What they’ve said to us many times is that we can’t call ourselves ‘college and career ready’ if we’re not getting kids ready for college – and I think they recognize that there was a hole in the system.”


Even though the program is in its initial stages, Glasser and Neria have plans to continue it well into the second half of the year; at that point in time, they will assist students with college acceptances and financial aid packages.


Appointments can be made with either Neria (B-214) or Glasser (B-213) but spaces are limited.  The College and Career Center located in A-201 is also available for any inquiries on the application process for Cal States (opened Oct. 1), UCs (opens Nov. 1) and private universities (varies from school to school).