Region – Continuing a tradition, a group of Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School (AVRTHS) alumni returned to the high school to address groups of juniors and seniors and give them the scoop on the college experience.
Brittany Hutchinson is currently majoring in nursing at Mount Wachusett Community College, and will transfer to Framingham State University.
“It made sense to go to the community college and get the basic courses out of the way with less expense, and then transfer to the university,” she advised.
Eveyln Lopes, majoring in Accounting at Bryant University, said she made her decision based on available funding.
“Don's be afraid to ask for more scholarships or grants. I was debating between seven schools and Bryant University was the most generous, so that's where I am now and I love it,” said Lopes.
The pre-med biology major at Northeastern University was what first attracted Amelia Kulik, but she advised the students that they should definitely make a site visit before that final decision.
“I could see myself being happy at Northeastern, and that's what really counts.”
Priscilla Aguilar at Westfield State University and Holly Arsenault at Framingham State University echoed those sentiments, reiterating that students should definitely take a road trip and look at schools, talk to students and staff, and picture themselves as part of the campus before making the final decision. Stacy Reid, a student at Becker College, also mentioned that class size could be a factor in the decision process.
“I really liked that Becker has small class sizes, and no huge lecture hall classes. It appealed to me that way.”
Beyond choosing a college, the alumni also chatted about college life, classes, the workload, and feeling prepared. Kayla Harpin, majoring in Athletic training at Springfield College, shared that college success really has a lot to do with time management skills.
“There are way more term papers and projects, and far less small assignments. I even have a hybrid course which is mainly through emails. You have to be self disciplined and stay on track,” she warned.
Lopes agreed, saying, “You have to do most of the learning on your own, and make sure you stay on pace.”
Time management skills also come into play for those who choose to play college level sports, according to Aguilar.
“Staying organized is the key if you want to be able to fit college sports into the schedule,” she advised.
Feeling well prepared for the college level work also makes a big difference, especially in the freshman year. Kulik explained that her classes range from 50 to 300 students at Northeastern, and the professors don's get to know many students personally.
“The grades pretty much ride on the tests. Luckily for me, I already knew what I needed for my online vocabulary quiz and my midterm in Physiology, because I already had that at Assabet in my Health Tech program.”
Nicholas Mulherin is another Health Tech grad studying at Springfield to be an athletic trainer, and he agreed with Kulik.
“In my first Anatomy class, the class average was 62 and I had a 97. I definitely felt prepared,” he laughed.
Pat O”Rourke, the guidance counselor for the junior class, thought the alumni panel had started many of his students to think seriously about college plans.
“I had several dozen students asking for a pass to come discuss their college choices and ask questions about setting up visits, etc., right after the panel discussion. We'sl be planning a road trip in April to visit some area colleges with our juniors,” he reminded.