Plan Ahead: Words of Advice From a High School Guidance Office

High school is a transformative time. It is the first step towards deciding what you’d like to do in college and in your career, and you are surrounded by people who want to make sure you succeed. Your College Planning Counselor wants to help you maximize your high school experience. As a College Planning Counselor, I work with students every day to help them make the best choices to meet their academic abilities and college aspirations. Each student I meet with is unique, but there are a few key things that I want every student to know:

The journey to college starts in 9th Grade. 

The most important element in the college admissions process is your high school transcript, which starts at the very beginning of high school.  While there are many other elements that comprise your application packet, the courses you take throughout high school do matter.  We’ll work with you to explore your personality traits and career interests. This will help you to discover directions you may want to pursue in your college and career journey.  Matching those interests with your course selections are what makes your transcript uniquely yours.

Your journey is about pursuing YOUR interests.

Yes, there are lots of required foundation classes as part of the high school curriculum, but there are also many unique classes that will speak to your specific interests. . The College Planning office will ask you what interests you? What matters the most to you? We’re here to work with you to help you figure that out, and to get you into classes where you can explore those subjects and passions that matter the most to you.

To meet the needs of diverse learners and acknowledge the value of many academic pathways after high school, PCA offers diploma options to encourage students to maximize their potential.  These options provide an opportunity for students to pursue coursework that meets a particular focus such as STEM and Fine Arts. You can also make it your goal to achieve a Diploma of Distinction, which recognizes rigorous academic work. The College Planning office is here to guide your course selections and extracurricular activities to best meet your interests and goals during high school.

It all matters.

Your transcript is important, but so are your volunteer service hours, your involvement in extra-curricular activities, and your recommendations from teachers. When it finally comes time to apply to college, you’re going to give the college an in-depth look at who you are as a person. Connect with your College Planning office to talk about any interests beyond the academic school day to see what you can be involved in starting today to round off your application packet tomorrow.

We’ve got your back.

The College Planning office will meet with you throughout your high school career.  We know every student personally. At PCA, I meet with students as a class and in one-on-one meetings, making sure that every student is not only meeting graduation requirements but also holistically preparing for college throughout the high school experience.

As I get to know students, I want them to know that I care about a lot more than just their GPA or athletic stats. Don’t ever hesitate to stop by your College Planning Office to talk about your ambitions, your concerns, or even your struggles. Our greatest desire is to see you use your gifts and talents to THRIVE – starting now and continuing through college and career.

Colleen Geller is Portsmouth Christian Academy’s College Planning Director. Working with students in grades 9-12, Geller has earned a bachelor’s degree in English, a master’s degree in Business Education and College Planning certification. Before joining PCA, she was a member of the education department for a local museum and a substitute teacher in a school for the learning disabled. Prior to this she worked in the corporate world for over eighteen years as a project manager.  Geller uses her broad base of real world career experience and educational background to guide students throughout high school and prepare them for their college and career journeys.

Ranked “#1 Private K-12 School in New Hampshire” by Niche 2019 Best Schools, Portsmouth Christian Academy has been inspiring students on the seacoast to maximize their potential for forty years. PCA provides a nurturing educational environment that emphasizes Christ-centered community, outstanding academics, differentiated learning, and exceptional character. Located just minutes northwest of Portsmouth, NH on a fifty-acre riverfront campus, PCA is a dually accredited, independent, college-preparatory day school where young people from preschool to Grade 12 are challenged to thrive academically and grow as servant-leaders prepared to impact the world for good. For more information, visit

Learn more about College Guidance at Portsmouth Christian Academy