College Counselor Becky Bain a Major Asset to Upperclassmen

Ava Vande Corput, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

During this time of year, many seniors in high school are applying to the colleges of their dreams, and Mrs. Becky Bain is a major resource to these seniors as Notre Dame’s college counselor.

Bain attended UW-Milwaukee to earn her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, and she attended Lakeland College to earn her Master’s degree in both Mental Health Counseling and Higher Education Counseling.

Before becoming a counselor, Bain worked for Schneider National for 15 years and then worked for Covenant Transport for three years.

“During those 18 years in the corporate business work, I performed many roles and worked in various departments. Out of all the jobs I performed in this field, I most enjoyed human resources. In part, this acquired knowledge about myself led me toward my passion in working with people in the area of counseling,” said Bain.

She became Notre Dame’s college counselor in 2014 and has been working with the Notre Dame Academy students since then.

“My job as college counselor is to guide students in their decision-making process for their life after NDA, whether it is in the direction of college, military or the workforce. I work with them to identify their strengths, interests, personality, values, goals and dreams,” said Bain.

In order to successfully help the students, Bain sets up meeting with college reps, military officials or other people to help the student define the next steps in their life.

To be successful in this process, Bain stays organized using the tool called Naviance.

“Naviance is my main organizational tool, combined with college counseling folders for each student. The students can also use Naviance to help stay organized during the college application process as well as use the website to send transcripts and other documents to colleges,” she explained.

Currently, Bain’s goal is to touch base with all 210 seniors before Christmas break, as well as meet with all of the juniors in small groups before summer break.

“However, my overall goal is to positively impact the lives of NDA students & steer them toward a better knowledge of themselves and to help head students in the right direction for their life after graduation,” said Bain.

Below is advice from Mrs. Bain directed towards the senior and junior classes of Notre Dame.

Advice to Seniors about which college to attend:

  • First, find out who you are (your strengths, personality traits, interests, preferences, & values) and then decide on the right college fit for YOU…not your parents/guardians, but YOU. I may have my favorite colleges, but they may not be a fit for you because you are not me. Yes, it is wise to listen to me, your family, and your friends when we give you advice and suggestions regarding colleges. But then take that information and apply your own critical analysis. Use your own judgement and discernment when weighing your options. You have to live at the college for 4 years, not us. 
  • I don’t put much stock in college ranks (U.S. News & World Report). Again, it is about the best college fit for you. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “In America, people succeed because of the quality of their character, not the notoriety of their college.” I think that is very true.
  • It may be a good idea to visit the college one last time before making a decision.  Consider an unannounced visit…a stroll around campus to chat with students, maybe. Some experts suggest visiting after you are accepted, too. Do what works for you.  
  • Above all else, pray. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have made for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” If God knows the plans He made for us, why would we not want to consult Him??

Advice to Juniors:

  • Most important: DO NOT wait until the last minute to start filling out and sending in college applications! It never ends well…
  • Read the NDA College Handbook cover to cover. It “covers” everything. 
  • Continue working on your identity formation (knowing who you are and what you like) and keep transitioning yourself toward independence. If you have a question regarding a specific college application piece, call the college admissions department yourself and ask them. They’d rather hear directly from you than from me or from your parents. 
  • Organization is critical: colleges have different application requirements, so keep a folder or spreadsheet for each college. Bullet point what they require and and check off what you’ve turned in (and when).
  • Visit colleges (either in person or virtually). Keep track of the pros and cons of each college and don’t discount how you feel when you visit campuses. Just remember to balance out that “feeling” (intuition) with facts/knowledge you gained through your research. Document which colleges may be a good fit and why, as sometimes they all run together in your mind.
  • Read my e-mails, listen to announcements, and pay attention in Senior Seminars for important college application information.