Graduating Seniors Impart Wisdom to 11th Graders

IMG_4032 Last week, members of Ross School’s Class of 2017 met with the 11th grade to share their best tips for success during the final year of high school, with advice about navigating stressful situations like college admissions, Senior Projects, and applying for financial aid.

The presentation, which was led by Isabelle Rowe, began with a discussion about balancing a rigorous academic workload with extracurricular activities. Amanda Mintz and Noa Langleben emphasized the importance of good time management, and both encouraged students to dedicate themselves to activities and classes about which they are passionate to avoid being spread too thin. Jared Goldsmith shared with students how helpful taking full practice tests was in preparing him for the actual SAT and ACT. Additionally, he shared that a preparation course offered by Ross School’s Test Prep Coordinator Lisa Rattray helped him to cultivate skills that ultimately boosted his final score.

The majority of the presentation was spent guiding students through the college admissions process. All of the students emphasized the importance of starting applications early, suggesting that students begin working on the personal essay and Common Application, which is accepted by nearly 700 schools worldwide, during the summer before the stresses of senior year fully take hold. Leila Murphy and Sam Grossman informed students of their options when evaluating whether to apply early decision or early action. According to the students, those with their sights set on a particular school and a competitive admissions profile should consider applying early decision (binding) or early action (nonbinding).

Jadon Han and Anna Popova shared their experiences writing personal essays for their applications, advising students not to have so many people edit the piece that it no longer truly reflects their personality and experiences. Jadon shared that he struggled to finalize his essay early in the year but was able to find focus by working with Director of College Counseling and University Placement Andi O’Hearn. He and Timur Yuldashev encouraged students to remain true to themselves during the admissions process, especially when receiving outside help. For students applying to studio art programs, Ryze Xu and Lucy Wu shared tips for assembling a strong art portfolio that showcases a wide variety of skills and techniques. They also encouraged students to use their free time over the summer before senior year to complete as much of their portfolio as possible.

Jordyn Moncur concluded the presentations with her segment about applying for financial aid. She encouraged students to factor in the cost of attendance when narrowing down the list of schools to which they’d like to apply. Jordyn also urged students to begin researching and applying for scholarships as soon as possible, as there is a lot of strong competition for aid.

Following the presentations, the junior class was treated to a panel discussion about Senior Projects, moderated by Dale Scott, dean of Senior Projects. The 10 students on the panel began by providing overviews of their Senior Projects to the audience. Then they shared their best tips for success. Among the most popular pieces of advice were to choose a project you have a strong connection with, to begin work on the project over the summer, and to anticipate lots of hard but rewarding work as you close out your high school career.