Karen Collins and Lily O’Connor are SO ready for Destination College; Here’s what they want you to know 

March 20, 2024 About Us

Destination College, Granite Edvance’s annual college planning event for high school juniors and their families, is coming right up – and no one is more hyped than the duo that’s organizing it all.  Karen Collins, a senior education and career counselor at Granite Edvance, co-founded the event 25 years ago and has been coordinating it every year since. Lily O’Connor, also an education and career counselor at Granite Edvance, stepped into the co-organizer role this year. Here’s what they had to say about this year’s event, which will take place on Saturday, April 6, from noon to 5 p.m. at Saint Anselm College.

What’s so special about Destination College?  

Karen: Destination College all began because we wanted to bring students and parents from across the state together to learn more about the college planning process from experts in the field. We love the idea of being on a college campus for the day because students can think about whether a school of that size, location, setting, etc. would be of interest to them. And while students and their caregivers spend time on a college campus attending workshops and the college fair, I also hope they realize they’re not alone. There are students just like them throughout the state who are also nervous and excited about what’s to come. I always imagine the car ride home is a time for families to talk about some of the things they learned at Destination College and what their next steps might be in the college process.   
Lily: This event has grown so much over the years, but the mission has always stayed the same; to help students and families understand the college process, and what they can start doing to prepare for senior year. We are here to support you every step of the way! 

 What are you especially excited about this year?  
Karen: This year we have a really exciting opening panel. We have some fantastic young professionals in various fields who are going to share their educational and career pathways. We hope students and their caregivers will see that sometimes these pathways are very clear, very linear. Other times, students may start out with one particular goal, but life takes them in another direction. Sometimes students have no idea at all what their career goals may be. In all of these cases, students are going to find their path. College is the chance to explore and grow – as students, and as people!  

 Lily: I am most excited about our workshops! We have so many wonderful panelists from colleges all over the state who have so much great knowledge and tips to share with students and their families!  

 How can students make the most of the event?  

 Karen: Destination College is a BUSY day! The best thing is that from the opening, to the workshops, to the college fair, students will have the opportunity to make the day their own. There are workshops covering many different topics! Students and their caregivers can consider their choices when they register. Which workshops are you most interested in? Should you “divide and conquer,” with you attending one workshop while your parent attends another to gather additional information? Or will you go to workshops together so you can compare notes later? Also, there will be a list of colleges attending the college fair available. Take a moment to look over the list and put a little star next to those that are a “must” and then take the time to visit some tables of colleges you haven’t yet considered. You may just find a school that is a great fit that you otherwise would never have considered. My best advice: Come to Destination College with an open mind, a willingness to ask questions, and the enthusiasm to take it all in! We can’t wait to see you! 

 Lily: Try to just take it all in! Yes, it’s a lot of information, but be in the moment and process all the great advice you are going to hear. Over the summer as senior year approaches, we will have more workshops to make sure you have ALL the information you need. 

 Is Destination College just for students who plan to apply to four-year college next year?  

 Karen: No! This event is for any student who thinks they may be interested in attending college. You may not know yet which type of school would be best for you, but there will be college admissions professionals to share information about 2-year and 4-year programs. That’s what this day is all about – exploring all your options!  

Lily: This for all students! We share a lot of information that can be applied to any level of education. We have a wide variety of panelists from many different colleges who can talk about their school and the options they have!  

  What do you want students to take away from this event, if you could pick one thing?  

 Karen: My hope is for students to realize that the college planning process may have many steps, but there are people – your school counselor, our education and career counselors, admissions representatives, financial aid professionals, and so many more – who are here to help and answer your questions at every step along the way! Lily and I – and the rest of our amazing Granite Edvance team – are so excited to see you at Destination College! 

 Lily: I want students to leave feeling excited about senior year and applying for college. This is a fun time to start touring schools, thinking about a possible major, and your future!! We can’t wait to see you on April 6th!   

 Photo info: Lily O’Connor (left) and Karen Collins (right) discuss logistics for Destination College at Saint Anselm College in February 2024.  

To stay informed about all our news and events, follow us on FacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn.

Back to Top