Once a week during a flex free period, juniors gather in the college advising office for a VQV class designed to prepare students for the college process. College advisors have worked hard to prepare students for the college process and lower the stress associated with applying to college.
However, recently, VQV has had its shortcomings. Bogged down with homework, standardized testing, and APs, it is important for juniors that each free period is utilized carefully and purposefully. The college advising office has been mindful in recognizing that our workload is immense, but some of the things we have been doing in VQV have caused me to question their purpose/significance.
The KO News believes there are two central issues to the VQV program: 1) The content sometimes lacks urgency. 2) The content is sometimes too vague or detached from the reality of the college process.
To start, some of the activities we have done include registering for the PSAT, filling out the Common App, taking personality quizzes, and adding colleges on Naviance. We understand that these activities all have their importance and some students do need that time slot carved out for them. But we want to point out that these things are all activities that can be done on our own. The introduction to the activity for the first 15-20 minutes is useful, but then for students who can do it on their own time, moving along at the slow pace of everyone else can be a waste of time. Similar to the way college advising set a deadline for our personal statements, we think it would be a good idea to do the same with some of these other things.
One way to improve the VQV program is to design activities that are engaging with the process directly. We liked one activity we did with the extracurriculars list on the Common App where we brainstormed extracurriculars and ranked them. But we never got to finish or have a follow up discussion after that. We kind of left it in the middle, and after that class, it wasn’t even mentioned. More personalized feedback would make that activity more meaningful to us in the long run.
Just last week, we spent the hour closing our eyes, imagining our homes and describing how our rooms look. We understand that this is supposed to develop us as writers and push us to “show, not tell.” College advisors have been doing a great job helping us with our personal statements, working closely with the English department to help with that process. But instead of using that hour to write about something irrelevant, we feel like we should have been working on our personal statements directly.
Now don’t get us wrong; we think VQV is helpful, informative, and useful. It is definitely a step in the right direction in terms of getting juniors a head start on the college process and lowering stress levels. But it can be even more reflective and engaging than it is right now. We get that not everyone can be happy or satisfied. There will always be complaints, ways to improve, whining. But we hope that some of these suggestions speak to the ultimate goals of the VQV program.