Juniors Begin the College Process with Annual College Weekend
by The Milton Measure on Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
The Class II College Weekend started on February 1st, marking the beginning of the college process for Milton Academy juniors. The event familiarized families with the goals of Milton’s College Office and the changes the department will be making for the Class of 2014.
The Parent’s Association opened the weekend by hosting Class II parents at a dinner in the Robert Saltonstall Gymnasium. Although it remained social, like similar class dinners, this event was focused on the theme of college preparation. This idea was highlighted by the speaker of the night, a member of the Smith College admissions department. She spoke about being on the other side of college admissions and offered an informed perspective to parents who just started to jump into the college process.
The next morning the entire junior class and their families reported to campus to participate in the college counseling presentation. The Saturday morning consisted of a series of three sessions, each discussing a different aspect of Milton’s college system.
Thyra Briggs, the Vice President of admissions and financial aid at Harvey Mudd, spoke for one presentation, as she has in previous years. She offered her knowledge of what to do and what not to do when applying to colleges by showing a behind-the-scenes look at the person reading the application. Kat Fearey [II] said, “I thought she talked about the kinds of things most people wouldn’t be honest about and that was really helpful.”
The weekend’s honesty was a common praise shared by all who spoke on Saturday. “I loved the honesty from the students and teachers alike, as the college process was described piece by piece,” said Maggie Bland [II]. Current seniors shed light on their college process experiences during a session that was made up of a student panel mediated by Rachel Klein-Ash, one of Milton’s four college counselors. Although there were a lot of questions answered during this session, some like Elana Golub [II] said that “the panel seemed to forget to represent some types of people. For example, I would have liked there to have been a day student girl and there wasn’t.”
The third session was led by Rod Skinner, the director of college counseling at Milton. In this session, Mr. Skinner shared how Milton Academy handles the college process and the intricacies of the college process schedule the juniors will follow for the next year or so. Mr. Skinner also discussed the new system this year of assigning college counselors.
A week prior to College Weekend, Class II students received an email explaining that, after 30 years, the College Office has decided to begin assigning specific counselors to each student, instead of having all counselors available to all students. In the email, the office described this switch as necessary, because “this fall, a convergence of various factors made it clear that, as much as we love the no-assignment system, it is no longer sustainable given the present-day realities of the college admission process.”
“I was definitely caught off guard when I got the email from the College Office,” declared Michael Davis [II], and many agreed. As Mr. Skinner explained on Saturday, each Class II student will need to meet with their assigned counselor twice in the spring of the year and twice in the fall of next year. This new system is not something the school is used to, but the College Office hopes to “preserve as much of the team aspect of our work as possible. Experience has shown time and time again that teamwork serves students and families best.”
Even with the new process, Maggie Bland says, “Overall, I thought College Weekend was a huge success.” After this weekend, she adds, “the process seems more real now, [but] I have confidence that Milton provides a realistic and supportive approach to the junior class as we are guided through the big year ahead.”
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