Early in the 2014-15 school year, I attended an Upper School Coffee Hour that formally introduced Senior Class parents to the College Counseling Office. As the Director of Alumni, I went to show my support of Brooklyn Friends’ college team as well as to connect with parents and students before they become alumni to show them support during this critical period in their high school lives. As I sat in the BFS Quaker meetinghouse, waiting for all of the senior parents to file in, I had a brief flashback about my own college application process and how many anxiety-producing thoughts I had such as – Where do I begin?
What do colleges look for in an applicant? Where should I apply? The questions were endless. Luckily this senior class has new Director of College Counseling Terry Kung and Associate Director Tiffany Huggins to help them navigate this daunting process. After their introductions, Terry and Tiffany’s vision for the college guidance program was described in detail.
Then guest speaker Peter Johnson, Director of Admissions at Columbia University, shared his expertise as an experienced admissions officer. Following the presentation, they addressed the questions and concerns of the upper school parents.
Peter Johnson, an admissions expert and former judge on ABC’s 2005 academic competition show The Scholar, provided valuable information from an insider’s perspective, which helped to alleviate some fears and concerns. By the end of the presentation, we had all been thoroughly educated on the application process, both the basics and the changes, based on the trends in education. It is this type of pre-college preparation and access to seasoned professionals that reinforce the confidence parents and students have in the Brooklyn Friends College Counseling Office. No matter the challenge, they know their children are in the right hands.
If there was one underlying concept of Peter’s presentation, it was “find the school that best suits you and focus on your path, for that is where you will excel.” This message mirrors the Quaker philosophy of discovering and celebrating the inner light of each individual. Adopting this bespoke approach to the application process ensures that each institution the students decide to apply to will be thoughtfully selected to fit their individual academic and social needs.
I can personally attest to the importance of tailoring your college choice to your personality. Part of the reason why I loved my alma mater Wesleyan University so much was because I felt like it was not just a great school but also the right school for me. I know if any of the variables changed, I wouldn’t have benefitted as much from my educational experience.
After the Coffee Hour, I had the opportunity to speak with Director of College Counseling Terry Kung about the vision of the College Office “I would like to add that it is my imperative as the Director of College Counseling to innovate our programming. There is so much information surrounding the college process that it’s easy to be overwhelmed and be misinformed,” she said. As such, it’s my goal to help BFS families be empowered by good and useful information, not just during the junior and senior year but also throughout high school and middle school. Inviting experts in the field to share experiences and information is just the start.”
This was a great start to what is sure to be a successful year of college guidance and placement. I genuinely look forward to seeing the colleges our senior class will attend, even if it’s not Wesleyan.