THHS Guidance Team holds in person Junior College Night for the first time since remote learning


Ryan Young

Representatives from The Cooper Union, Hofstra University, Macaulay Honors College, and Stony Brook University speak to Townsend Harris families about the college application process.

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Last week, the Townsend Harris Guidance Team held Junior College Night in the school auditorium, where panelists from multiple colleges attended to inform students and their parents about the college admissions process and give them the opportunity to ask questions about it. Speakers from Hofstra University, Macaulay Honors College, the Cooper Union, and Stony Brook University spoke to students and families.

The school has hosted multiple events like this in the past to help students learn about the college application process from actual college representatives. This event, described as a THHS tradition, was the first college night held since pre-COVID. The auditorium was filled with students and parents eager to learn more about college admissions, and the event had a large turnout. Despite the cold and rainy night, the auditorium was almost packed.

For the duration of the night, the four panelists were seated on the auditorium stage, giving remarks and participating in a follow up Q&A portion, with a list of questions being presented by Junior Class President Hellen Oliveira. Parents and students in the audience then had the opportunity to ask questions.

Junior Christelle Diab said that the panelists “were very open and willing to answer many questions parents and students had, even going over the allotted time to get to every question they could. It’s nice to see this process from the admissions perspective as a rising senior because it helps you understand who they consider a qualified candidate.”

Hellen explained that her role for the evening was mostly acting as a student representative and relaying the questions of the attendees to the panelists for the duration of the event. She also coordinated with The Classic’s media department to ensure the event was being filmed, gathered a couple student volunteers to usher in the guests, parents, and students, and marketed the event.

Assistant Principal of Guidance Veronica York said, “Hearing college admissions perspectives from the college side is really helpful when [juniors] are applying to colleges. [They] hear a lot from [guidance] and meet a lot with [them]… we have all these different resources from school guidance counselors, but I think hearing it from the college side is also an important perspective.”

“I think that Townsend students are conditioned to believe that they’ve failed if they don’t make it to an Ivy, so introducing them to other amazing options is definitely something that I believe will ease the stress of college applications,” Hellen said.

Some students suggested that they would have liked to see more focus on students who actually got accepted into these colleges. Junior Quinnlan Burke said, “It would be nice to walk through a successful applicant and show what they did that worked for them. A lot of the talk was more general, and I would have liked to see a real world example.”

Given that it took place in the midst of SAT season, with pressure rising for many juniors as senior year approaches, some students found that this event helped them relieve some of their anxieties about college applications, easing the transition into senior year.

“It was certainly a great way to transition into the college admissions process that we will have to endure for a while, becoming a reality for many in a few months. They told us a lot of insightful information the average person could not confirm, like the common mistakes students usually make, misconceptions, what to avoid, and what to prioritize,” said Christelle.

Ms. York said, “The feedback we had back from parents and students was overall very positive. I think people really enjoyed coming back in person and going back to having the normal events that we had [prior to the pandemic].”