Leadership for Students Activities - December 2014, NASC Edition - (Page 27)

Project Showcase COLLEGE NIGHT: Preparing Students for the Application Process M I CHAE L SANTOS O n May 1, 2014, the National Honor Society (NHS) at San Dieguito Academy in Encinitas, CA, hosted its fourth annual College Night. The event, held in the school's media center, featured a panel of students and teachers who discussed the college application and selection process in detail. Four years ago, NHS copresidents Sammy Young and Sam Housekeeper first conceived the College Night idea. Both seniors felt that they were not supported adequately by the school when applying for private colleges, and organized the event with a focus on helping students and parents better understand the application process for private schools. Over the years, College Night has become less focused on private school information, but has continued to provide a unique and personal approach. This year, seniors were chosen to be a part of the panel that could provide specific insight into various types of schools and pathways to college. A few teachers were also chosen to give advice of a more technical nature. The goal of College Night is not to take over the role of school counselors, but to show students and parents that everyone has a different experience and there is no one correct decision when it comes to college. This year, the panel began with three teachers who discussed preparing to apply, gathering letters of recommendation, and writing college essays. The NHS officers chose teachers who had years of experience helping seniors apply to college. The first teacher speaker teaches the College Application Seminar class and was able to explain how to make a list of schools to apply to. The teachers provided a chronological timeline of the college application process before the students took the stage to discuss their individual experiences applying to and choosing colleges. Each student speaker discussed a specific topic, such as differences between public and private schools, in‑state schools, out‑of‑state schools, interviews, extracurricular activities, and early application opportunities. The NHS officers made sure to choose speakers that had unique experiences as well as multiple college options, so that they could explain why they chose one school over another. Avoid Common Pitfalls San Dieguito Academy's counseling department was concerned that student speakers might misinform other students and parents by providing incorrect information. For example, just because one student got into Yale by playing soccer does not necessarily mean that soccer is the key to Yale admission. Therefore, the NHS chapter made it clear that there is no one right answer to getting into college. College Night aims to present varied approaches and successes. Speakers tended to stay away from oversimplification and direct advice in order to simply speak from their own experience. They also did not summarize technical information about standardized testing that one could find online. The NHS officers made sure that a school counselor was present at the event to provide information about school involvement. After the panel, the rest of the time was devoted to a question and answer session. This seemed to be extremely helpful to students and parents in attendance. Parents asked most of the questions, often wondering how they could help their children now to prepare for college. This was probably one of the more difficult times to navigate in that each speaker had a different opinion about the right way to get into college. Again, the NHS chapter continued to make it clear that each applicant is unique-there is no perfect recipe outlining how many AP classes to take or how many sports to participate in. After the event, there was a lot of positive feedback from both attendees and speakers. People seemed to particularly like the ample question and answer time. There was no problem with the counseling department and misinformation. To that end, the focus on personal experience was key. Michael Santos (michael.santos@sduhsd. net) is an NHS adviser at San Dieguito Academy in Encinitas, CA. december 2014 27

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Leadership for Students Activities - December 2014, NASC Edition

Editor’s Note
Questions & Answers
Take Note
Being a Leader
From the Director
Sophisticated Selfies: Looking Inward
Teaching Tolerance
Student Leaders Take Responsibility
Middle Level Activities
Lessons for Leaders
Scholarships & Awards
Project Showcase
Activities Exchange
Things to Do

Leadership for Students Activities - December 2014, NASC Edition