On Wednesday, October 17th, Mountain View High School held its annual College Awareness Day to educate all students about college opportunities and prospects for future success. Students, while enthusiastically cheering for the minimum day, were also able to first-handedly experience the preparations and challenges required to attend college. For staff and faculty members, this day provided an opportunity to inspire students and assist them with college decisions and the extensive application process.
Misconceptions about college may have built up over the years for freshmen, so counselors and teachers cleared the waters, while helping them create a path to reach realistic college goals. The freshmen also established their Naviance accounts, an efficient online resource designed to enrich students about organizing for college.
“… getting the ninth graders registered for Naviance is important because it [puts]in their hands a really powerful tool that they can use for college and career planning.” Mai Lien Nguyen said, the coordinator of MVHS’s College and Career Center. “On Naviance you can research all kinds of colleges, create a resume, and there are actual career surveys you can take to figure out what possible career would be good for you and what kind of major could help get you to that kind of career. So there’s a lot of really cool things on Naviance and we want to get that to the hands of students as soon as possible.”
“I like Naviance because it’s really helpful in finding your interests and how they could relate to which college you want to go to.” said Sally Moceyunas, a MVHS freshman.
Freshmen also saw presentations given by volunteer guest speakers who shared their own personal experiences in the workplace and how they got there.
“…while the guest speakers were inspirational, they didn’t really talk about college that much so I don’t understand how that related to the whole point of the day.” Rachel Ng, a freshman, added.
Meanwhile, sophomores and juniors were given the opportunity to take the preliminary SATs– a way to get an estimate of the score one might receive from taking the actual SATs. These practice tests are funded mostly by the MVLA Foundation and give students at MVHS a chance to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship during their junior year, a program where the highest ranking students can earn up to a $2,500 college scholarship from National Merit or a scholarship award sponsored by a corporation or college. From a student’s perspective, some find the PSATs beneficial, while others believe it to be exorbitant, seeing that it can be significantly different from the SATs.
“I like the PSATs because it’s an early practice for the SATs and you can get feedback on it before you take the real test,” Yazmin Lancaster, a junior, said.
However, Lauren Gong, a junior thought differently, “I think because [the PSATs]are so different from the real test, it doesn’t really help [someone]prepare for the actual SATs.”
For seniors, College Awareness Day was about guidance in the college application process. Counselors used this day to educate and inform seniors about applying for a university this fall or winter.
“[The seniors watched] a video to elicit a discussion about the college application process and they [had]time to work on the applications themselves [while having]counselors and other volunteers to help them actually put the application together, write their essays, and things like that.” Nguyen said.