Members of the Class of 2014 were greeted with smiles and hugs as they returned to the high school to share tips on succeeding in college with seniors. Their advice was practical and included topics ranging from meeting deadlines to dealing with roommates.
Assistant Principal Rebecca Gottesman organized the annual Alumni Day to help seniors navigate the difficult path they are currently traveling. “Receiving advice from their peers means so much more to them than hearing it from their parents or guidance counselors,” she said. “The alumni were in their classes and on their athletic teams just seven months ago, so there is a relationship there based on trust and admiration.”
Many alumni said that taking classes in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program prepared them well for the college curriculum. One attendee said that IB English is helping him succeed in many classes since so many college courses require writing papers. The majority of the panel recommended that students learn to manage time well and not leave everything to the last minute. Additionally, it was suggested that as college freshman, they take advantage of all the school has to offer – get out of the dorm room! One student said she has her own radio show and loves this new activity and the people she meets.
The seniors were encouraged not to become disappointed should they be denied from their first choice university, as it probably wasn’t the right place for them. Some shared that they are at their second or third choice schools and couldn't imagine being anywhere else.
Other important pieces of advice revolved around managing money and social activities. The alumni explained that there are always students who go out every night of the week regardless of the school they attend, so it is important to learn how to have a healthy balance. The alumni made it clear that college professors do not give reminders, extra time or hold your hand. They do, however, offer extra help during office hours.
Gottesman said that holding Alumni Day is an excellent opportunity for high school students to hear the real facts about choosing a college, and what to expect when they get there. “It also reminds them of what they need to continue to do in high school to be the most prepared once they take this next step in their lives.”
In addition to the general panel session, break-out sessions were held and organized by majors. This allowed seniors to target their questions to the alumni who were best able to answer them.