A Best Fit College: Former guidance counselor, teacher opens college counseling practice in Nevada City
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What: A Best Fit College
Where: 547 Uren St., Nevada City
If you are interested in the free Aug. 29 financial aid workshop, email Jill Haley at firstname.lastname@example.org
While working as a career counselor at Silver Springs High School, Rose Murphy came across an underserved student with, she said, much potential.
Living in the town of Washington, Murphy said the student’s parents were often absent.
The counselor dug into the teen’s interests and facilitated her college path, she said, recalling driving her to Dominican University where she later received financial aid to attend college.
Now seeking a Ph.D., the student and Murphy still keep in touch.
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Having retired from the local school district, Murphy hopes to mentor future students in her recently opened Nevada City college counseling practice A Best Fit College.
Murphy will be collaborating with her professional neighbor, Jill Haley, a woman she described as a mentor to her.
In 1994, Murphy was hired by a committee that included Haley when she applied to be a career counselor at Silver Springs. Later, as Murphy navigated different counseling and teaching positions in the district, she looked to Haley for guidance — a counselor herself at Nevada Union. The two would attend conferences and sometimes work together to address the needs of their students.
“Her passion for helping students really helped me get connected with the community,” said Murphy.
Haley has now been providing private college counseling sessions for eight years, and the two are once again collaborating in a similar space as neighboring practitioners in Nevada City.
Having recently completed an extension course at the University of California, Los Angeles, Murphy is excited to dedicate her time to a smaller number of students and more exclusively focus on the college application process. For her counseling, she charges an hourly rate of $100 and $2,000 for a comprehensive package service.
In her new practice, Murphy intends to use software programming and lengthy conversations to take the complete account of a student, noting their strengths, interests, financial background and future goals.
“We want to be able to find the best fit academically, socially and financially,” said Murphy.
Name brand schools, she said, are difficult to get into. However, just because they are well-known or expensive doesn’t mean they are the right fit for students, she said.
Parents are so tied into the whole ranking system,” said Haley, which has yielded “a lot more pressure on kids.”
Like Haley, Murphy wants students to take advantage of a wide variety of educational options that exist today. Students, said Murphy, should follow gap year programs, international exchange programs and college internships if that’s where their interest lies.
“If people are interested in alternative options,” said Murphy, “we have a good grasp of those types of programs as well.”
Possibly because of her open approach, Murphy said she often acts as a mediator, easing the struggle families face when sending their child to the best school because it signals the highest status.
“(I’m) taking away that tension between the parents and students,” said Murphy, “and relieving that stress because it’s overwhelming.”
With their connections to local nonprofits, Murphy and Haley plan to work with underserved students who otherwise may not have the resources to navigate the college application process.
The two will be hosting a free financial aid workshop at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 29 at the Madelyn Helling Library. The event is open to parents and students of all high school grades.
To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4219.
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