Seniors Wind Up College Admission Process


Do you think you would be able to handle over 100 teenagers with the urge to follow their dreams? Manage documents, endless questions, frustration, and stress? Moreover, this is what a college counselor deals with every day; a new story, a road unwritten, and many dreams that need to be accomplished. 

 Behind all this admission process, some helping hands make the magic happen; this is the part where Dina comes in, helping over 111 seniors at The Columbus School. In her first year, she successfully guided 2022 seniors on their college path, helped juniors prepare for their senior year, and other high school students to start building the course to pursue their dreams. 

Dina Rechani, TCS college counselor, has been answering this this question since 2001 when she got her master’s degree in school and college counseling. Even though she had high success in the academic field, it’s not the most important thing for her. 

“From this year I will definitely take away the connection, the love of all the students, I never thought that I was going to be able to click with the students so fast. I was afraid they would be distant from me but it was not the case. It was overwhelming; the love, respect and value they have for me. I really take that, not even getting students into universities, it is the connection I made so fast,” Dina Rechani, TCS college counselor, said. 

It is not an easy job to work for the future and dreams of over 100 students, yet Dina got 283 college acceptances were more than 94% of the students got scholarships: together representing 9´079,372 USD dollars in four year scholarships; all of this done during her first year back at TCS.

“I can proudly say that all seniors 2022 are already set and ready to start their college journey. I just have 2 seniors that will go on a gap semester to Italy and Spain that already told me they want my help when applying for college, and they count with my support,” Rechani said.  

Dina arrives everyday at 7:30 AM and her only quiet time is until 7:45 AM,  leaving her with a tight schedule until 3:00 PM. Her day can be unpredictable with appointments and what she calls “busy work”, because of this, on Wednesdays she works from home on more academic stuff, and then at school she works more on interacting with students.  

“Each day there are at least 10 students at my office. Sometimes I have people inside my office sitting on the chairs, on the floor, they feel like it is their safe place. They like coming here because we can talk about many things and also talk about the future,” Rechani said. 

Dina always goes a step further making sure that every student is satisfied and excited to start their college journey. In her first year back at TCS, her work was outstanding and this was reflected in the admission process of each student. For instance, different seniors got accepted to several universities which will always be the shooting goal.  

“I got accepted at about 10 universities, some of them reached out to me and offered me scholarships through an app that Dina showed me that was called ‘Concourse Global’. With this platform, about 8-10 universities offered me scholarships, most of them being over 30,000 dollars,” Mejía said.

Dina has also been a helping hand for juniors, opening and explaining the path they will soon have to jump on. As an 11 grader, nothing is set in stone yet; you are on the journey of discovering what you want and what makes you happy. 

She has a crucial role to make sure students are confident in what they want to study for the next chapter of their lives, constantly pursuing students to live an experience in some way or another that will simulate their option career. Sofia Gamez has taken this advice and will be going to a medicine summer program for three weeks in Washington DC. 

“Dina recommended to me the program NSLC, which has different career options like engineering, design, medicine, etc. She sent a letter of recommendation, and thanks to her, I will be attending this course,” Gamez said. 

Moreover, Dina focused on a project to create individual folders in google drive for every Junior personalized. These folders contain all the information on the application process for each country the students want to apply to. This helps them know beforehand what they have to do to apply and what things they need to do during their remaining school career.

To this day, Rechani has organized 103 junior folders out of 110 and the new school year hasn’t even started yet. Her goal is to have one folder for each student, and she is close to accomplishing it.  Each student folder gets organized in a personalized way depending on where they would like to study. 

In her work, time and organization are crucial,  because as she always says, “the early bird gets the worm.” In other words, the sooner you start applying the faster you make decisions counting with more financial aid and scholarships. On the contrary, if you wait until the end there is less money for scholarships, and at the very last minute, more stress and uncertainty are present. 

Dina’s organization has been highlighted and key in her work to be successful. She organizes folders of students with different colors to identify their different conditions. For instance: students that have Colombian nationality are represented with yellow. Red folders are for those working with outside counselors, purple  for European citizens, blue for US citizens, green for students from other nationalities (neither US or Colombian) and black folders  for Colombians citizens who want to apply abroad. 

Rechani’s accomplishments from 2021-2022 were exceptional and countless. Throughout the year when seniors told Dina they got accepted she was thrilled and filled with excitement. “I celebrated as if it was my own daughter or son. That’s why they call me ‘Mama Dina’, having you guys come here screaming you got accepted gets me exhilarated as if the students were my own children. That’s why I ring the bell, because its noise, its celebration, everyone knows the bell means ‘I got in’ ,”  Rechani said. 

Regarding sophomores, her advice is clear and concise: take classes you  like and enjoy, try to do well on them, a 4 or 4.5 is not necessary but making good progress and taking advantage of the school is key to success. 

“Enjoy this time because it’s going to go away soon and once it goes away, you don’t want to say I should’ve done that, take advantage of everything. Doing that will make you a happy student and when you are happy, universities will see that because you are doing everything you like with passion,” Rechani said. 

All in all, Dina has been key at the Columbus School and an excellent support for high school students, she claims to be excited for this upcoming school year and thrilled by the fact that more students want to work with her, although this means more work, she affirms to “love her work.” 

“I work with passion and that is what makes a difference.” Rechani said.