New guidance counselor Ratchev assists students


Maddie Shaw

Mira Ratchev became a college and career counselor in mid-January and has aided students in providing college information.

Maddie Shaw

As the class of 2023 approaches the home stretch of their senior year, many students are still seeking vital college advice. New College and Career Center advisor Mira Ratchev has filled a gap in the counseling center, providing students with an additional college resource. 

Ratchev began working as a college advisor in mid-January after graduating from the University of Georgia in December.

“I’m from Atlanta, so I was familiar with Midtown before I began working here,” Ratchev said. “It seemed like a good way for me to transition from college into the workforce because there’s a lot of support within the job.”

Ratchev joins college advisor Samantha Collier, allowing the pair to split up the students they’re advising between themselves. Before Ratchev arrived, Collier was working alone for a period to aid all of the students seeking college and career help.

“I definitely think it’s really helpful to have two people,” Collier said. “With just one, there’s just not enough time to get to everybody, but it’s been nice to have Ms. Ratchev here because she’s really good at finding scholarship opportunities and other logistical things. So, I think we work well together.”

Ratchev has worked alongside Collier to create a scholarship database that details over a 100 scholarships that students of all backgrounds can apply to. These include both need-based and merit-based scholarships.

“She’s putting together scholarships, researching them, putting them on the list that we distribute to seniors, reaching out to students, saying like, ‘this is a good scholarship for you,’” Collier said.

Before Ratchev, some students struggled to secure college help because there was only one counselor. Senior Elena D’Agostino was assigned Ratchev as her college advisor and said she has received more college support since.

“It’s been very helpful because we had a big chunk of the year where we only had one counselor, and [Collier] was taking on a lot of students,” D’Agostino said. “Now, we can get more personalized help since the counselors are focused on their groups of students.”

As a college advisor, Ratchev meets with all kinds of students, regardless of where they are in the college process. 

“We meet one-on-one with mainly seniors to figure out what their plans for after high school are,” Ratchev said. “Some seniors pretty much already have it figured out and just need help with the reminders for scholarships; we can check in on them with applications, FAFSA, and things like that. Other seniors really don’t have an idea of what they want to do and need a lot of support figuring out things like how to do the FAFSA and how to apply to scholarships.”

D’Agostino believes Ratchev has made a conscious effort to be an active resource for students.

“Ms. Ratchev has been contacting me personally, and she’s definitely been making an effort to work with students,” D’Agostino said. “She’s been helping with making sure [Midtown]l is up to date with my information, and she’s always available for questions about the college process.”

The College and Career Center acts as an important resource as college visits from various schools around the country take place there and seniors are required to meet with their college advisor once a semester.

“I would say that there is a high demand for college help,” Collier said. “As the year has gone by, more kids have realized they need to get in there and get it done.”

As a recent graduate from college and high school, Ratchev feels she is able to relate more to students and their struggles throughout the college application process.

“I think it’s probably easier for students to open up to us and talk honestly with us about what they’re feeling about college and career related stuff,” Ratchev said. “We’ve just very recently graduated from high school similar to them and gone through college.”

Ratchev believes her and Collier are able to provide a more personal and updated approach to providing students with college aid.

“The college admissions process and the workforce has changed so much since when a lot of teachers and administrators grew up,” Ratchev said. “I think that it’s great that we have a better sense of how that is and what resources we have to support students.”