South Orangetown Central School District

Navigating the college application and admissions process can be stressful in an ordinary year. With disruptions to ACT and SAT testing and many colleges suspending in-person visits, current high school seniors face additional challenges.

To support the Class of 2021, Tappan Zee High School’s Counseling Department launched Facebook and Instagram feeds and specialized programming in early May to respond to the unique needs of these students. Their three-part webinar on college admissions is posted on the TZHS Counseling YouTube channel, along with other informational videos on financial aid, Naviance, The Common App and how to write the college essay. “We’ve needed to find new ways to keep in touch with students,” explains TZHS Counseling Team Leader Kelly Keane. “In-person events may have been canceled, but we feel strongly about maintaining relationships, getting information to students and establishing some normalcy during a very abnormal time.”

The team also redesigned the Counseling section of the TZHS website this summer to make it more intuitive and user-friendly for students. A new Forms section was added for students to access commonly used forms from home. Counselors spent time reconfiguring many of the required documents into Google Forms so students can access and submit them at any time.

A new TZHS Counseling Google Calendar, displayed on the Counseling homepage, contains upcoming web-based workshops and virtual admissions representative visits from more than 50 colleges, including Binghamton University, Ithaca College, Johnson & Wales, Savannah College of Arts and Design and SUNY Maritime. “Some students were having trouble accessing college visit information in Naviance, so we made it more user-friendly by adding it to our Counseling Google Calendar with links,” Keane says.

The Counseling Team has seen a decrease in college applications this year in comparison with previous years, despite these resources and a detailed, weekly email to seniors with a step-by-step description of application procedures, links to key forms and reminders about important deadlines:

  • Those with December 1 deadlines must email their counselors no later than Tuesday, November 10; and,
  • Those with January 1 deadlines must email their counselors no later than Monday, November 30.

Visit the Counseling webpage at

The TZHS Counseling Team