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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

College presentations localize schools for students

Approximately 30 students sat at tables in the MAP Annex, some with their eyes on the guest speaker, others scribbling down notes during a presentation on Oct. 2. As they wrote, a representative from UCLA discussed the university’s programs and housing, providing the interested juniors and seniors with a better idea of what it’s like to attend  the popular school. 

Throughout the first semester, the school allows admissions officers or other representatives from a variety of colleges and universities to give students presentations about their respective schools. 

Coordinating these events is guidance administrative assistant Kathy Sheridan, who keeps track of which schools students have frequently applied to. In some cases, colleges will reach out to the school, and Sheridan will accept or deny them based on student interest in the schools. Other times, Sheridan said she invites the schools to come. 

“The presentations are convenient for students,” Sheridan said. “The goal is to connect students to colleges that they’re interested in and give them the opportunity to ask questions and show their interest without having to go, in the case of Brown University, all the way to Rhode Island.”

A variety of schools have already presented, including Northeastern University, UCLA and USC. Upcoming presentations include those from Pomona College and Columbia University on Oct. 22, Pace University on Oct. 23 and Dartmouth College on Oct. 24.

Attendance rates vary widely depending on each school. State colleges and liberal arts schools typically have fewer students, while more well-known or prestigious schools like UCLA and Rice University can have up to 60 students attending their presentations. When some presentations have no student attendance, Sheridan said she talks to the representative and takes note of that school, so she knows not to host it in the future.

For some students like junior Hermione Bossolina, being able to ask questions and receive answers from someone who knows a university well easily allows her to gain a better understanding of the school. 

“It’s interesting to see differences between each college,” Bossolina said. “They’ll give you information on aspects like student life and housing, which is really important because I can get a sense of what the college is actually like, whether I would fit in and especially for colleges on the East Coast, whether housing would be a problem.”

Other students, especially seniors who already know what colleges they want to apply to, seem to view the presentations as less useful. Although senior Rishi Jain agreed that they provide students with decent background information, he said that they offer little help in terms of deciding on a major or writing an application. Jain added that because the school selects colleges based on student interest, students who wish to pursue visual and performing arts have fewer opportunities to connect with potential colleges or universities. 

Still, some seniors take advantage of the college presentations despite already knowing what schools they will apply to. Senior Mitra Mokhlesi said she considers the benefits of attending in terms of admissions.

“I go to the presentations for the colleges that I’m applying to, so I can get some information about the school from someone who knows it very well,” Mokhlesi said. “Seeing someone’s enthusiasm when they talk about the school helps with deciding to go if I get admissions.”
Mokhlesi said that over half the schools she is applying to have presented here.

However, some students applying to more liberal arts schools say they don’t give as many presentations. Ultimately, the usefulness of these presentations depends on a student’s progress in the college application process. Still, Bossolina said she believes the opportunity to connect with schools provides at least some benefit for any student who attends a presentation. 

“They really give good information about the colleges in around 20 minutes,” Bossolina said. “I think it’s beneficial to go regardless of whether you’re a junior or a senior because even if the presentations are short, they still help with planning for your future.”

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