PHS Profile: Meghann Toth

photo: Severine Stier

photo: Severine Stier

Meghann Toth is one of three secretaries in Guidance who counsel students on the college application process. Throughout the day, juniors and seniors flock to her desk, seeking her advice as they prepare for the next big step in their lives. Toth, with a passion in education, hopes to become a teacher again in the future, as she was before the economic recession of 2008. She finds her job not only enjoyable but also rewarding. Outside of school, Toth appreciates the arts—specifically music—and hopes to eventually start a family.

Could you describe the role you play in the lives of students at PHS?

I do a lot of … the whole college application process, so I deal mostly with upperclassmen. We try to reach out to the ninth and tenth graders, but they’re not involved in the college process [yet], so [we are mostly] trying to keep juniors and seniors up-to-date with the whole process.

What compelled you to choose your career path?

Well, I’m actually an elementary teacher. So, because of the tank in the economy [I couldn’t keep my job as a teacher, but] I wanted to stay in education. That’s how I ended up here at Princeton High School, but my actual career path is an elementary educator.

What made you want to come to PHS?

Obviously, Princeton, I think, is a great town. I say obviously, but you know, it’s very cultural, very educational, very everything. I just loved everything about Princeton. So I think, why not if you love the town, why wouldn’t you want to work here? In education, even better.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I think the confirmation of what you do [is] when you hear that students got into school and [that] they’re so excited. From here, it’s like the stepping stone into the next point into their life … Getting them to the next step [is] so exciting just because they’re excited about the next thing.

When it comes to coordinating events like the college application process, which part is hardest?

I think probably the college application process [is particularly difficult], because … [you have to] reach every single student … We do phone calls home, we do Facebook, [and] we do emails through Naviance. We try to reach them in every way, but students … think they did what they needed to do but didn’t, so it’s hard to reach every senior and keep up with 400 students when you’re doing that.

 How would you describe the atmosphere in Guidance?

It’s excellent. I love working here at Guidance. Everyone is very positive. There’s a great energy here, so I do love the people that I work with. And the students also—I love the students here, the staff, everyone.

When is it the busiest time of the year?

Well, since I do the college stuff, I would say the December 1 deadline for colleges, and at the end of the [school] year, because we send final transcripts, help with the graduation ceremony, and wrap up the whole school year. So I’d say December 1 and the end of the school year.

What differentiates Guidance at PHS from that of other schools?

I think it would be that personal aspect. The fact that the students—and the staff—feel like they can go to the counselors for anything, not just for counseling [or] for college questions. They come here for anything, from borrowing a stapler to the most extreme measures.

If you could change one thing about Guidance, what would it be?

I think just making more people available. We’re just all so busy here that, unfortunately, we can’t be available for people every second of every day. If I could, I would double or triple the size of our department, because there aren’t enough of us to go around.

Do you have any tips for students?

Yes, stay up-to-date on Naviance! Check your messages on Naviance, make sure you’re doing everything you need to stay up-to-date on Naviance, [and] update your [list of] colleges if you’re denied, accepted, etcetera.

When you were in high school, was there anything similar to Guidance at PHS?

No, not at all. We had one counselor—you could never see the counselor, and they didn’t really [have] a very specific role. More just like an [average] counselor; you couldn’t go to them, like you can go here to get answers [or] to get information about everything in the school. We didn’t rely on our Guidance department like that. It was one person.

Outside of your work at PHS, what do you like to do?

I’m a big music fan. My husband’s a band director, so I go to a lot of arts events, and I help out for a non-for-profit here that’s arts-based. So definitely the arts are my jam.

Do you have plans for the future?

I do hope to someday go back to education and help students thrive in life through elementary education. So that’s my ultimate goal in life.

What is your favorite vacation spot?

I would just say the beach. Anywhere with water I find to be very relaxing and enjoyable.