Stuyvesant Sophomores Receive a Presentation on Early College Awareness

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Issue 11, Volume 113

By Judy Namkoong, Christina Wang 

This year’s early college awareness presentation for sophomores took place on January 23, the last day of regular classes for the fall term. The presentation took place in Lecture Halls A and B and were given by Director of College Counseling Jeffrey Makris, college counselor Dr. Jeaurel Wilson, and Assistant Principal of Pupil Personnel Services Casey Pedrick. College counselors have given these presentations since 2018, which were originally optional and conducted during Regents week but since last year have been mandatory and conducted during social studies periods.

The purpose of the college awareness presentation is to provide resources and information to underclassmen so that they can be aware of the logistics of the college admissions process. “The [presentation] provides some basic information to help younger students better understand the college process and dispel some myths so that they are a bit more prepared for the road that lies ahead,” Makris said. “We also hope that students have a clearer picture regarding how our college counseling program works, who our expert college counselors are, and how students will work with us.”

This year, many new additions were made to the presentation due to students’ lack of knowledge regarding college fundamentals. “Last year, we added substantially to the presentation as we realized too many of our students were unfamiliar with some of the basic distinctions that exist among colleges and universities, [like] community colleges versus four year colleges, public versus private, liberal arts colleges versus research university settings,” Makris said.

Sophomores feel that the presentation covered a variety of significant topics pertaining to college admissions as well as immediate action students should take to both better their chances of getting into a top college and develop their personal hobbies, such as participating in extracurricular activities and finding programs that would allow them to further explore their interests. “I would definitely like to participate in more school activities,” sophomore Elizabeth Nef said. “I would like to empower both the community and myself, and by doing activities I enjoy, I will be able to continue [doing so].”

As they approach junior year, many sophomores find the information presented more urgent compared to their perceptions from previous years. “[In the presentation, I] definitely felt more pressing information was given because last year, I don’t think I was motivated to take measures to prepare myself for college,” Nef said. “But this year, I felt like this was more imminent and important since we are getting closer to college applications.”

Regarding future improvements, the college counselors would like to lengthen the duration of the presentation so that they can share important information with students and take questions from the audience. “Right now, it’s very much [a] lecture format where we are doing 90-95 percent of the talking, [but] it’d be nicer if we could do 80 percent of the talking [to provide] more opportunities for kids to ask questions,” Makris said. “I would like to have a little more time, make it a little more interactive, and be able to take more questions from students.”

Ultimately, administrators hope that the presentation helps students find a college that is truly right for them while making the college application process a little less daunting. “This process should be less stressful and more fun for our students, who will be entering a very exciting time of their lives once they leave Stuyvesant, and will be happy and successful at any number of colleges,” Makris said. “Most importantly, finding a place that truly suits your interests, personality, learning style, and values is far more important than the perceived prestige of a college, and whether or not you will be successful in life has so much less to do with where you go to college than most of our families realize.”