As the school year approaches March, when most seniors will be receiving the last of their college decisions, a new reality has slowly begun to dawn on the current juniors: the fact that they, soon, will be the new seniors of ANS.
However, this is a realization that does not come with excessive anxiety or preoccupation; rather, it is one that is being embraced with excitement and enthusiasm by the class of 2020.
The college admissions process, while daunting and oftentimes complex, appears much less intimidating with the considerable support of the school staff and its college counsellors, which are already providing guidance to the juniors early in the year.
In addition to a senior orientation held on February 6th to inform students and family members of vital pieces information that would allow them to prepare in advance for the many responsibilities of being a senior, the college counselling office has also implemented an extremely effective initiative to help the class of 2020 succeed with their college application processes: Junior Wednesdays.
“This program has been around for about four years now to support students,” says Mrs. Rubí Zeledón, the current leader of this initiative and the ANS college counsellor. “It was started by our former college counsellor, Mrs. Michelle Richardson, who still works part-time with us today and will be supportingstudents in some of these sessions too.”
These Junior Wednesdays are sessions with the counsellors and other staff members and are to be held every Wednesday from to 2:10 to 2:45 p.m. in room 504 until the end of the current school year. They are meant to introduce juniors to the college application world, clarify doubts, and work on research.
“These sessions will allow students to truly get organized,” elaborates Mrs. Zeledón. “We have put together as much information as possible so that they can start building a timeline for things to be done, and also be active in their college application process.”
She attributes some of the great impact of the Junior Wednesdays programs to its timing. Preparing college applicants starting in their junior year with valuable resources had proven to be highly effective with previous generations, seeing as they had the proper time to start preparing.
“We are encouraging them to start early because it can often be easy to fall behind and feel overwhelmed by the process. Starting ahead and having time can alleviate a lot of that stress,” Mrs. Zeledón recommends.
These sessions will cover a variety of insightful topics including resumé building, college lists, application platforms, and writing. While they are optional, students are strongly encouraged to attend, seeing as they provide a variety of benefits like increased knowledge regarding college applications, greater confidence with the process, better time-management skills, and more solidified support systems.
In fact, many juniors have already been feeling the positive impact that the Junior Wednesdays program has been having on their lives, even if the very first session was only just held on Wednesday, February 20th. This session had a considerable turnout of about 12 students or a third of the grade.
ANS junior, Ana Bendaña Peña, who attended this first session, states that it consisted of an insightful introductory presentation by the counselling staff about key college-related topics such as the Common Application and standardized testing. Future sessions would go deeper into specific topics, and adopt a more hands-on, workshop-like approach.
“It was enlightening,” Bendaña Peña reveals. “Applying to college is really complicated, but just in this session, I was able to understand everything much better. Ms. Rubí broke it down into steps really well.”
This same sentiment is expressed by another attendee, fellow ANS junior Daniella Lacayo, who corroborated the value of Junior Wednesdays.
“It was overall very informative,” Lacayo asserts of the program, “and allowed me to gain a much clearer understanding of the process. Although, honestly, I am still stressed about having to apply to college, I feel better about it now — and also, excited!”
In fact, this Junior Wednesdays initiative has truly established itself as a solid foundation for students, giving them the proper guidance to be even more proactive with their college application journey, as has been the case with student Ji Suk Chung.
“Prior to attending the first session, I felt concerned, worried and oblivious,” Chung confesses. “Now, I feel much more calm and assured. The session gave me a lot of knowledge. This has allowed me to start making necessary plans, like preparing for exams mentioned by the counsellors like the SAT and TOEFL.”
Ultimately, the college counselling staff and the school as a whole, hope that students face the college application process, as well as their future, with confidence, motivation and organization. They hope they can do their best, and be their best at every stage of their lives.
“The most important thing to me, to all of us here at ANS,” concludes Mrs. Zeledón, “is that you own your process. Make it yours. Enjoy it! Applying to college is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Make the best out of this opportunity to grow and learn.”
Furthermore, she hopes that students will truly find the time to have deep introspection with themselves, to discover what they genuinely want to do and where they truly want to go. She wants people to understand that regardless of the outcome, there is a place for everybody, and that they should focus on two things in regard to their future: happiness and growth.
“I want all students to find their ‘fit’ university,” the counsellor asserts. “Fit is a place that is the best place for you to go. It is a place where you will develop yourself as both a student and a human being. It includes the overall environment, so basically everything — from size to weather to academics. I want students to stop focusing so much only on the name, but on the fit. After all, this is a place where you will be at for at least four years. I want them to love it.”
It is surreal to acknowledge that the current seniors, the class of 2019, will soon graduate in June and embark on a new stage of their lives. This is a reality that the class of 2020 will also face a year on from now — but for now, it is time for them to work, and to work hard.
Regardless, in this relentless pursuit towards their goals and aspirations, students know that they have the support of the college counselling staff at ANS.
We wish the class of 2019 all the best, and look forward to what the class of 2020 will accomplish in the future! We encourage juniors to attend as many Junior Wednesdays as possible, and to be involved in the college application process as much as they can.
Categories: School Events