Junior Symposium set for Feb. 17

Guidance is holding a Junior Symposium on Feb. 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the school auditorium. School guidance along with  various college admissions representatives will present on a variety of topics, including the college admissions process, financial aid and essay writing. In addition, a panel of current seniors will answer questions and provide advice.
“We feel that juniors especially need to understand what they are getting into senior year because this is the year everything starts happening and all the things we have been talking about for years — the college preparation — you know, this is where it’s time to start thinking about it and narrowing down their college choices, understanding the selection process, understanding how applications work, how essay writing is important, financial aid. It’s a lot of information they need to start thinking about,” guidance counselor Dearmin said.
This event features a variety of breakout sessions. After an informative talk, students and parents can choose which presentation they wish to attend.
“It’s a presentation guidance is putting on, so when I say breakout sessions, I mean one overall on how to pick your colleges.” Dearmin said. “Breakout sessions are for what you’re interested in. So if you’re not interested in Ivy League schools, you’re not going to go listen to Ivy League schools. If you have a multi-million-dollar trust fund, you’re not going to go listen to financial aid. So, breakout sessions are based on your interest areas. … We have experts coming to speak on behalf of state universities and their perspective on admissions. We have got private colleges visiting to give that perspective, as well as a representative from Harvard to talk about the Ivy League, to just get them understanding what the reality is for these students and their admission qualifications.”
Presentations include “Selecting a College/the Right Fit” (Guidance), “The State University Perspective” (UCF), “The Ivy League Perspective” (Harvard), “The Private College Perspective” (FIT), “Understanding Financial Aid” (EFSC), “Essay Writing Tips” (Guidance) and “Senior Panel for Advice and Questions.”
“Last year, I had asked a lot of different people and the ones that were able to come and fit it into their schedule. “Dearmin said. “I figured UCF, because they’re local, were able to come and can speak on behalf of most of the Florida state universities because all of their admissions are pretty much similar criteria they’re looking for. With the private schools, it’s pretty similar also. They’re just giving a perspective. They’re not speaking for experts on every college, obviously.”
Dearmin said West Shore seniors typically apply to around 10 to 15 schools, while the student as most other schools target six to eight, so it helps to be informed about the process.
“It’s critical information,” Dearmin said. “If [juniors] don’t know what is going on, if they’re confused or if they have been sleeping the last five years, it’s time to wake up. And this is their wake-up call: Are you doing everything you need to be doing to start your senior year, fresh with all your knowledge, with no procrastinating?”
Senior Mary-Elizabeth Jobson said she gained knowledge about what she was going to encounter from a lot of different perspectives, like former students and admission representatives from colleges at last year’s symposium.
“I think it helped me get an idea about the huge variety of things that you have to deal with, and helped reduce some worries that I had,” Jobson said. “My favorite part was the Q and A with seniors because it gave a relatable account of the stresses and responsibilities of senior year. They talked about everything from Senior Project to college and gave me some really good resources that I’ve used this year.”
For more information, contact the guidance office at (321)-242-4741.
By Daphna Krause