Getting a head start

Sabrina Hamideh, Layout Assistant and Staff Writer

The minute I walked onto the Upper School quad, it clicked. I was in high school. Grades and extracurriculars all count now. But, unfortunately for me, it had all clicked a year too late. Although this year was my first year as an upper schooler, it was not my first year as a high schooler.

As a freshman, it was easy to neglect the fact that transcripts and co-curricular activities would eventually be looked at by colleges because you were on the same campus as young, free-spirited and careless middle school students. Once you reach the Upper School, there is a surprising expectation that you should already have everything figured out. So, how can this transition to the Upper School be smoother for these impressionable souls?

As high schoolers, I think it would benefit freshmen to be in contact with their future Upper School deans as ninth graders. This would allow students to build connections with their college counselors and have a stronger foundation going into the college application process.

Currently, there is little regard for college applications as a freshman at the school. The middle school administration does not emphasize the importance of your course selection and extracurricular activities list. Connecting the upper school deans to students earlier would allow freshmen to gain a deeper understanding of the fact that they are high school students whose classes, report cards and extracurricular involvement are looked at by college admissions officers.

The lack of application awareness as a freshman could cause students to feel behind entering the Upper School. Many students who don’t receive outside college counseling help are potentially put at a disadvantage because they are not exposed to the significance of starting to build your application beginning in ninth grade. Some students are unable to obtain outside help, causing the overall foundation of their college application to be weaker than others who had the opportunity to start early on. By fostering a relationship between deans and students before stepping foot onto the Upper School, freshmen would have the opportunity to learn more about the college application process, resulting in a deeper understanding that ninth grade is looked at by colleges.

Many would argue that introducing the college application process at such a young age is detrimental to students because it puts too much pressure on them. I disagree with this argument because I believe by exposing students to the importance of their actions in ninth grade allows them to become more comfortable with the entire process as they proceed to the Upper Campus.