College Alumni Panel advises students on how to succeed in college


Photo by Kayla Johnson

Photo by Kayla Johnson

College—the serious, overwhelming, exciting, scary, inevitable topic that high schoolers regularly avoid discussing in the cafeteria and at home. While the knowledge of counselors and parents is essential to the process, those conversations often leave students with one question: “What about someone my age?”

To address this issue, the counseling department has scheduled its first College Alumni Panel. The event will take place in the auditorium on December 18 at 2PM.
The idea stemmed from a counseling conference. Other schools found success in inviting current college students to hold a panel. Additionally, recent alumni have expressed a desire to share their knowledge of college admissions and attendance.

“The goal is to shed light on recent alumni in college, what to expect in college counseling, how to transition to college, and how to be successful in college,” said college counselor Mrs. Kelly Dutmers.

The panel includes three graduates from Class of 2015, and each panelist represents a distinct major and college environment. Ben Paolelli majors is majoring in history at Northwestern University. Eilis Finnegan in majoring in architecture at Auburn University. Megan Balas is majoring in business marketing at Clemson University.

“I think the panel could be a beneficial experience that allows students to better understand what paths they could possibly take as they look forward to college,” said senior Colleen McMahon.

Including such a broad range of colleges and majors, the counseling department hopes to help students explore all their options. High school students often do not have the opportunity to experiment with niche careers paths, such as architecture or aviation, so the panelists will discuss how they selected their majors.

“They have the opportunity to speak to their own experiences on what they felt made them successful, give some reflection, and discuss what they would do differently,” said Dutmers. “They will impart wisdom based of their experiences. Their advice will be helpful for people anywhere in the college process.”