Volume 14 No. 1

Fall, 1999

ESOL Students Need Lots of Guidance for College
by Aminata Bangoura
Since ESOL students have come recently to the U.S., don't speak English well, and don't know much about what happens after high school, they need more information about what they are heading for after high school.
When I first came to this school I wasn't really familiar or knew the tests systems like the SAT, TOEFL, or ACT. The school I came from is a French school and we didn't have these kinds of tests, so I tried the best I could to learn everything that I needed to know. My junior year I didn't get enough information about my next steps so I had to find out myself. My parents couldn't help because to them the school is the one that is supposed to provide all the necessary information.
I didn't think I was really ready for college or knew how to begin or what to do. The only people I could ask easily were my friends. They too had the same situation but they told me I was supposed to take the SAT and try to figure out my future college major or plans.
I learned about the SAT prep class and took it but I didn't do well on the SAT. Part of the problem was I hadn't taken geometry yet. The other problem was the English.
One of the ESOL counselors, Mr. Fernando Moreno agrees that this is a problem for international students. When he first arrived in America, he was confused about his next steps for his future plans. “I didn't get enough information to choose the right college for me because there are many choices,” Mr. Moreno said. And because he didn't speak any English this made it harder for him.
Also in high school counselors have many responsibilities and cannot help students as much as they want to. “They do not have time to sit with students because they are busy doing scheduling,” he said.
Because of his own experiences, Mr. Moreno understands the problems of international students and tries to help them. He comes to Blair every Mondays and Fridays to help the ESOL counselor Ms. Ceide and to assist students who need some help. This year he and another ESOL counselor, Ms. Judith Kurzweil, have started a special program to help all the students start thinking early about what is waiting for them after high school.
Mr. Moreno made a survey for all the ESOL students to ask about who is planning to go to college. Mr. Moreno hopes the students will start thinking from the beginning of their freshman year about what they want to do after high school.
Mr. Moreno wants students to take courses and do things they need to do in 10th and 11th grades that will help them make their plans come true. “It is their responsibility to connect to something like being in extracurricular activities like the chess club or something to find out what they are good in. It is not only the school who can help you, but you have to do something for yourself,” he said.

Copyright Silver International 1999.