Who better to give advice to our current students than those who walked the same halls and sat where they sit? On Monday, May 24, six Chapin alums joined a Zoom session with Class 11 and our College Guidance Department to discuss their college experiences and the application process.
The virtual panel followed a similar format as the one held in early January for current seniors. Each panelist* gave a brief introduction and shared where they go to school, their major and their extracurriculars.
To kick off the discussion, Duke University freshman Emma Balber opened up about the difficulty of being deferred. “I applied early decision and I had a lot of emotions. I didn’t imagine I wouldn’t get in.”
Yet, Emma explained, she became excited about other options that she had long ignored. “I had way more of an open mind. I promise it’s not the end of the world!” She said, smiling from her Zoom box. “I know it can be hard, but try to keep a positive attitude.”
Mioko Ueshima, a Georgetown freshman, agreed. “Everything will work out in the end! Even though Ms. Boals and the College Guidance team always say this, it can be hard to believe.”
Mioko also encouraged the students to make use of Chapin’s college alum directory. With Covid restrictions, visiting college campuses has continued to be challenging. She, along with her fellow panelists, agreed that any alum would be happy to talk about their school environment and opportunities after Chapin.
“We care about you even if we’ve never met you!” added Swarthmore sophomore Kayla Nieto.
When reflecting on the process of selecting a college, Eve de Muheto, a senior at Amherst College; said, “It’s important to think about what you love at Chapin. What do you want to bring to your college experience?” She noted that, personally, she loves a small school and really enjoys the small class sizes at Amherst.
Middlebury sophomore Constance Gooding nodded along with Eve. “The college process is really personal. Put on blinders and focus on yourself,” she said. “Think about which school is best for you not just which school is ‘the best.’”
Alice Shinn, a Pomona College junior, underscored her peers’ comments saying, “When I stepped foot onto Pomona’s campus, I had a gut feeling that I belonged here. I wanted to be here. Don’t put yourself in a box of what other people want or think you should have.”
Each alum also touched on college life, noting that applicants should check out the clubs, affinity groups, and other opportunities that are available.
When asked about their experience with college professors, Kayla said, “Create relationships [with your professors] and be an active participant!” She explained that she felt that her professors greatly appreciated her continued participation even in virtual settings.
Constance shared that she took classes with professors that were so inspiring that it pushed her to do things she never thought possible. Emma agreed, saying that she was able to shed certain expectations and delve into other passions, which helped her grow as person.
Next, the panelists turned it over to the juniors to ask questions. One student expressed her worry that she didn’t have a major in mind and wasn’t sure what she wanted to pursue in college or afterwards to which Mioko responded, “I went in undecided. Take classes you know that you’ll be interested in and some you’ve never heard of before. It’s all about variety!”
Ms. Boals asked the former students how they dealt with any negative attitudes toward the colleges they were interested in.
“The bottom line,” Eve began. “Is that when you go to college, it’s you and the college. You won’t see people who have negative things to say.”
Others offered similar notions: “Look ahead, not at those next to you,” and “No one really cares about college rankings.”
“I know the process is stressful,” Constance said. “But there is so much you have to look forward to.”
Ms. Boals and her team, along with all of the students, expressed their thanks and gave the guests a round of applause. As always, this informative panel helped ease some of our juniors’ worries and provided unique insight into the complex college process.
Emma Balber ’20, Duke University (freshman)
Constance Gooding ’19, Middlebury College (sophomore)
Eve de Muheto ’17, Amherst College (senior)
Kayla Nieto ’19, Swarthmore College (sophomore)
Alice Shinn ’18, Pomona College (junior)
Mioko Ueshima ’20, Georgetown University (freshman)