Alumni Day is More than Just a Reunion

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An annual tradition at Locust Valley High School brought recent alumni back to school during their college winter break to share their experiences and offer tips to current students. From how to choose the right college to the best time management practices, more than 40 current college students helped high school seniors get answers to important questions.

“Hearing about the college experience from their peers is important,” said Locust Valley High School Assistant Principal Michelle Villa. “Our students often feel more comfortable asking questions of those their own age and trust that the answers are realistic.”

The alumni and high school seniors were broken into four groups for roundtable discussions, each one moderated by a high school counselor. Following the small-group conversations, the alumni were grouped by majors in the school’s mini theater, allowing the high school seniors to seek out information regarding specific areas of study they may have an interest in.  

Alim Merchant, Class of 2019, advised the seniors to choose a college based on their own needs, rather than its reputation. “Remember to choose the one that fits you, not the one that has the biggest name,” he said.

Several students said their choices included weighing financial options since they did not want to graduate college with a lot of debt. Others recommended doing an overnight at the school to get a real feel for the campus and to be themselves at college interviews.

Once in college, the alumni agreed that making connections with fellow students and professors would help set them up for success. Study groups, attending a professor’s office hours for extra help and joining clubs were all suggested. 

Everyone agreed that although professors don’t always take attendance, going to classes is vital. They explained that you can’t learn the material from slides posted on the website. They shared information about dorm life, honors classes and how to combat homesickness.

“Our 2020 Alumni Day was a success, with our current seniors gleaning information they cannot get from our counselors, admissions representatives or their parents,” Ms. Villa said.