Counselor was raised
to be a giver

Randall Fong is excited
to launch students on their way

I am a college counselor at Sacred Hearts Academy and my job is to help high school seniors choose the right college.

I was influence a lot by my older brother, Glennard, who got into the field of social work. He influenced me to get into the helping profession. And my mother was a very giving person, so she influenced me to be giver.

Going into college, I knew I wanted to be a school counselor. I got my bachelor's in psychology at the University of Hawaii and my masters in counselor of education at the University of San Diego.

College marks the beginning of a new and exciting part our students' lives. Mapping out one's future can be confusing, frustrating and complex. Yet, if done right, the process is rewarding.

From a field of more than 3,000 colleges, I must convince students that every college is wonderful for someone and no college is wonderful for everyone.

As we move along in the process, I submit student transcripts and test scores, write what seems like an endless number of letters of recommendation, communicate with college admission officers, review admission requirements, meet with seniors and inform students of college visitations to our school. I also help students plan tours to mainland and Hawaii colleges. And I make it a point to visit colleges during my school breaks. In the last four years, I have visited colleges in Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Maryland, California and Florida.

Of course, I do not work solely with our juniors and seniors. Parents are also a very important part of the process. They will be providing financial and moral support.

Frustration with one's son or daughter in the college process is not unusual for parents, especially when the aspiring college freshmen seems to alternate between states of vegetation, unrealistic goals and hostility. I must encourage parents not to nag their children, while at the same time pushing students to meet the responsibility that comes with the admissions process.

To the soon-to-be college student, my message is always the same: You cannot work hard one day a week and earn acceptable grades, you need to look at your college life as a full-time career, you must focus on good academic habits (which lead to good grades), social skills and balancing priorities.

As their college counselor, I enable our seniors to define their particular academic strengths, interests, values and aspirations. And with hard work, cooperation and the support of their families, all of us have the privilege of helping them embark on an exciting future.

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