Seniors Offer Expert College Search Advice to Fellow Students

Form 4 dipped their toe in the college advising process with a question and answer forum with some veterans -- four members of KO’s Class of 2020 who are ready to head off to college. Kathryn Westrick, Troy Gostyla, Cai Kuivila, and Ethan Pinkes shared their insights on extracurricular activities and internships during the summer among other topics in Tomasso Hall. Another group of seniors comprised of Juanita Asapokahi, Ethan Brown, Nick Traver, and Jenna Blocher spoke to additional Form 4 students in the Roberts Center for Leadership.

Director of College Advising Jami Silver and Associate Directors Peggy Clark and Matt Waldman asserted that they do not intend to accelerate the college process but to introduce themselves to the class. The office is available to support students through the entire process. In reference to the concept for students to pad their resume to gain entry into selective colleges, Clark said, “This is not about checking boxes on classes and activities but to take the most rigor for you and be successful. This means to get enough sleep and to lead a balanced life with academics and extracurriculars.”

Silver advised the students to push the pause button on their ACT and SAT test preparation. She recommended that the students take the test two times or at most three times. Generally, students submit the scores to the colleges from the spring of their junior year or the summer or early fall of the senior year. She cautioned, “Early and often is not always better.”

The student panelists offered their educational path as a means for the students in the audience to think about their career at KO and what they hope to achieve. Pinkes shared that when he entered KO he believed he wanted to pursue medicine. However, after taking history courses he found a passion for political science. Gostyla heavied up on art electives like filmmaking and photography at KO and expanded his creative side. “Keep an open mind and be willing to adapt to change,” Pinkes said. Kuivila focused her first two years on her academics. As she became more efficient with her time management, she involved herself in more after school activities. “Even if you are busy but you are invested in it and it makes you happy, then it’s worth it,” she said. Westrick felt the more she explored extracurricular activities, the more she learned about herself in the process.

The students were open about their challenges, from not enjoying a particular sport or dropping a particular class that was not to their liking. “You’ll always face compromises in order to take what you think you’ll enjoy. Only you can decide what’s best for you, but you need to be thoughtful in making those choices,” Pinkes said.

The evening prior to this event the College Advising Office hosted an “Introduction to the College Process and College Advising at KO,” for parents and guardians. They received pertinent handouts, including their child’s college advisor assignment. The forum included an overview of the college admissions process, what to expect from college advising, and a timeline for students. 

For a recording of the evening, visit this link.
Located in West Hartford, CT just steps from Blue Back Square, Kingswood Oxford is a private school inspiring co-ed day students in grades 6-12 with a college preparatory curriculum. Empowered students become clear confident communicators, resourceful problem-solvers, and ethical leaders. KO: where unlimited potential meets endless opportunities.
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