On Oct. 30, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Form Five families gathered in Roberts Theater to hear from a panel of four admission officers representing a variety of renowned colleges. They each presented their take of the college admissions process and provided insight on how to approach it in a number of ways.
Moderated by Director of College Advising Jami Silver, the panel discussion included Kortni Campbell from Davidson College, Peter Hagan from Syracuse University, Anthony Berry from Trinity College, and Emily Roper-Doten from Olin College.
Associate Director of College Advising Matthew Waldman said that this event helped launch the college process for juniors, since they were assigned to their college advisors the week before. “We know there is a lot of curiosity, anxiety, and eagerness around starting the college process,” he said.
The panelists fostered discussions of what the college process looks like, how to find colleges that fit individuals needs, and how to apply to those schools. There was also a Q & A session where parents and students could ask any questions that they had.
Ms. Silver said that this program used to be held in January, but it was moved to October because the advisors thought it was important for families to hear this information sooner, from experts in the process.
Mr. Waldman said that there is a lot of noise out there about the admissions process, and he hoped that this event would clear up any confusion.
“It was important for families to be there because we wanted to make sure that students have the same access to reliable information,” he said. “It was a worthwhile event and will serve to bring some level of understanding into upcoming college advising meetings.”
Ms. Silver said she agreed that this information was given to families at this time to kick off the process earlier. “Students were expected to attend because the messages are very important to frame the entire conversation,” she said.
Ms. Silver said that she thinks it is crucial to positively engage in the process. “Thoughts and feelings are important in this process, and being stressed will not influence the outcome,” she said. “Being thoughtful will help manage how you feel, and you are empowered as students to run the process.”
Junior Jenna Blocher said that she thought the event was informative about the process she is about to undergo. “It provided a broader perspective,” she said. “I think it was worth it because I learned a lot of things about the college admissions process and how the process varied from university to university. I also heard questions from parents of other kids and felt comfortable knowing that others had the same concerns as me.”
Junior Maggie Eberle said that she felt frustrated that all the colleges kept repeating the same things. “I felt the colleges were all very similar and reiterating that every aspect of the process depends on the college,” she said.
Junior Cecilia Wang was also dissatisfied with the panelists’ responses. “They didn’t give us a definite answer for any of the questions,” she said.
Junior Jean Wang said that the event could be improved in future years. “While I did learn about what the colleges are looking for from students,” she said, “it could have been more useful if they invited more colleges and made the discussion more visually appealing with a presentation or something.”
Junior Cai Kuivila said that she thought College Night provided her with valuable information.
“I think that the Q & A session was helpful, but it was hard to parse what information and advice was specific to the college that each advisor was from versus what was general advice to the whole process,” she said. “I also think that the range of schools was well selected.”
Jenna said that the event was beneficial, but it was too late into the night.
“It would have been better if we were allowed to maybe get out of sports earlier, so the program could have ended earlier,” Jenna said.
Mr. Waldman said that the college advising office is excited to continue working with the class of 2020. “We like understanding students on an individual basis, and we are eager to get to work with you all.”