Feeney guiding students to collegiate success


Angela Tessitore

Mr. Samuel Feeney hopes to guide students to success in college, careers, and beyond.

TOWAMENCIN- The job of one of North Penn High School’s guidance counselors seems ordinary. It includes helping students with course selection and preparing them for life after graduation. For Mr. Samuel Feeney of home office F040, the simple course selection meeting with students just scratches the surface of preparing the current junior class for career paths after high school. His advice to students encourages success, no matter the price tag or prestige of a competitive university.

Feeney attended Bucknell University to study English as an undergraduate, and he completed his masters degree in school counseling at Eastern University. His time at Eastern is where his ideas for guiding students sprouted. He realized that some teenagers are looking at careers through the lens of attending the most prestigious university, rather than attending a college that suits each person the best in multiple ways.

“When I finished my masters, I had some reflection on how I performed in my masters program and how different the experience was than in my undergrad…Most of my work talking with students and anything that I’ll do is informed on what I wish I would have done in my undergrad because I don’t know if I would have listened to myself,” chuckled Feeney.

Feeney’s job involves guiding students on where to apply to college and how to get there, and his past experiences are what inspires the advice he gives to students.

“I wanted to go to the ‘best school possible,’ which is almost based entirely on news and world report rankings. How I summarize it now is I wanted people who haven’t even met me yet to be impressed by where I went to school…The idea of prestige was very big for me,” explained Feeney.

Feeney wants his students to enter a field of study that will accommodate work and leisure throughout their lives in order to achieve success.

“So much of [school counseling] is focused on the college process and I wanted to attack it from a couple of different angles. I want to build career development into college selection because if you don’t know why you’re going to school, it’s really expensive to figure out while you’re there…I am a big fan of career development to be baked into the culture around college selection,” described Feeney.

Feeney wants students to recognize that they may not get into their top college, but it is important to remember that success can happen at any college.

“I think it is really important for seniors…to say ‘alright well this is it, regardless of how it is. Maybe [the college] was my first choice maybe it was my fifth choice, but this is where I’m going, so let’s sit down and be very intentional about identifying all the really awesome things that this school has.’ Every school has really awesome things no matter where you go,” added Feeney.

Throughout the 2018-2019 school year, Feeney has organized multiple Knight Time lessons on NPTV with college and career center counselor, Patrick Brett, to help students with important college decisions. Feeney ingrains in students four categories to aid student’s final college selection: campus life, academics, opportunity, and finances. Feeney recognizes that each student ranks these categories differently.

“The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the questions you ask yourself. Most people don’t ask themselves good questions…I’d like for students to know certain things about themselves so they can make the decision that is the best one for them,” said Feeney.

In 2016, Feeney published a book called Choose the Perfect College…For You. The book focuses on each category, guiding students and families to ask the right questions. Students can then base their decisions on what factors and lifestyle is most important to them. Fenney is also part of an organization called College Funding Planners, which helps families afford college.

“Your career should either give you the best life possible or should be an expression of your life…It comes with knowing yourself, which will lead you defining what kind of life you want to have, leading you to picking a career. That particular college is only a vehicle to your career.”

Feeney hopes that his guidance will take off unnecessary pressure and worry that many high school students feel about college selection. College is only a vehicle to the life students want.