Stuyvesant Hosts In-Person College Visits
The College Office organizes visits from college representatives for seniors.
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In-person college visits for Stuyvesant’s graduating class are making a comeback this year after the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic restricted college visits to a virtual platform for the past two years. This year, starting September 15, representatives from various colleges held presentations in the lecture halls on the first floor. Due to limited seating, the presentations were only available to seniors, who had the opportunity to learn more about the application and financial aid processes of different colleges without having to visit their campuses in person. These visits also encourage students to ask questions about the college directly to admissions officers.
The visits allow seniors to gain further insight into a school through a representative. The College Office, which has been responsible for assisting students through the application process, worked to organize these visits and keep them a tradition at Stuyvesant. The College Office offered virtual visits in 2020, at the start of remote learning, and continued them in 2021, despite the transition back into the building. Aside from organizing these visits, the College Office also updates students on important deadlines and events throughout the year, such as scholarship opportunities and college fairs. The counselors in the College Office include Director of College Counseling Jeffrey Makris, Associate Director of College Counseling Jeaurel Wilson, and Associate Director of College Counseling Elizabeth Hughes, whose duties are divided evenly among homerooms.
When organizing these visits, the College Office considered common colleges Stuyvesant students apply to, including Boston University, Stony Brook University, and Princeton University. “We want to make sure that if we take the time to schedule a visit, it is a place that is seen as somewhat relevant to our students, so that these are schools that our kids tend to apply to or maybe should be thinking about given their typical interests and other factors,” Makris said.
Throughout the summer, the College Office researched and reached out to a list of colleges, mostly those that were already familiar with Stuyvesant and had a connection with the school. “In June, when I set up the scheduling grid, I e-mailed our representatives from most of these schools,” Makris said. “There’ll be an online scheduling link through a site like Calendly or youcanbook.me, [and] it’ll have all the available dates and times. College representatives, when they’re figuring out their travel plans, can then go onto our link and schedule a visit.”
Even among this specific selection of colleges, there is variation in a college’s popularity. “There are usually about 30 to even 100 seniors depending on the college,” senior Allison Lee said. “I remember there was a lot for Yale and Binghamton. For Binghamton, there weren’t enough seats in the lecture hall to seat everyone, so people sat on the stairs.”
To get the most out of each visit, some students leaned more toward schools they were familiar with. “I’ve only visited the schools that I personally have heard of, [and] registered for the ones I felt like I heard of or originally planned to apply to,” senior Brianna Tiu said.
With around 70 representatives visiting Stuyvesant, seniors were able to access a list of upcoming visits on their Naviance accounts and register for them in advance. In the event that a visit conflicts with class time, students must bring a printed slip signed by their teacher to attend.
Students’ impressions of a school varied based on the representatives, who each presented their school differently. “For Boston University, the guy who came knew what he was doing, [but] I think he was a little introverted. [The] Yale or USC people who showed up were very extroverted, confident, [and] knew what they were doing. I think that kind of contrast [...] has some kind of overall effect in the end,” senior Elicia Chau said.
Presentations from schools closely affiliated with Stuyvesant were often more insightful for students because of the school-specific tips they presented. “For the Yale one, the representative was an admissions officer, specifically the senior management admissions officer for Manhattan and a Stuy[vesant] grad, so they gave us [a] first-person, very ‘in the know’ insight on what it’s like to apply to the colleges. They also give you general overviews and details about the school that you might not be able to find just simply on the college website without some digging at each,” Chau said.
For students who had already researched colleges, the information presented by the college visits could feel redundant, causing some seniors to not attend many presentations. “Information is accessible online, and [students] have done a lot of summer stuff for the colleges [presenting] at Stuy[vesant],” senior Efe Kilic said.
Despite this redundancy, students still preferred the convenience of Stuyvesant college visits to traveling for college visits. “It’s better this way. I can’t go to New Jersey to visit Princeton, [since] I’m too busy writing college applications,” an anonymous senior said.
Many seniors have found the visits worthwhile and appreciate the opportunity to interact with college representatives. “I think the college process is very daunting, and it creates a lot of stress and anxiety for seniors,” Lee said. “I’m glad there are these types of informative sessions to help ease any of our curiosities and questions we have.”
Makris hopes that the visits, even those by colleges that are not as popular among students, are a valuable experience for seniors. “There are a wide range of different colleges here. We hope that students and seniors take advantage of that and maybe go to a session for a school they might not be too familiar with. They might walk away, become a lot more interested, and expand their possible list of schools they apply to,” he said.