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Student to Student Night: College Freshman Meet Face to Face With High School Juniors

Student MainEven though high school juniors can peruse websites, read glossy brochures, and take college tours, for some, the best way to get a true picture of college is to speak to an SHS student who goes there. On Wednesday May 23, the Scarsdale High School PTA facilitated these face-to-face meetings at its annual student-to-student college night when former SHS students, who have just completed their freshman years, were invited back to speak with juniors who are in the midst of the arduous college selection process. With the blow of a whistle, juniors rotated from table to table chatting with a freshman from a college of their choice. This night gives students the chance to speak to former SHS students who have gone through the process and can help guide them based on their experiences. Topics discussed included student life, academics, extra-curriculars, and more. Below are a few of the details shared from representatives from various colleges:

Student 5Binghamton

At the SUNY Binghamton booth, food, studying, and sports were among the topics of discussion. The Binghamton students mentioned that lectures tend to be either one hour three times a week or ninety minutes twice a week, so it’s very easy for students to study a bit each night and allocate time efficiently. 

On food, the students said that the C4 dining hall is particularly popular among students due to its late night hours, allowing students to fuel up well past sunset. When they’re not eating, some students like to play or watch sports including rugby and basketball, which are popular on campus. It was also noted that there are many club sports available. They also brought up an interesting non-sports related activity REACH, a program that allows students to speak with their peers about various health issues that affect college students, ranging from mental health issues to alcohol and drugs.

Getting home from Binghamton is easy; it’s only three hours away and can be traveled via car or bus.

They concluded that overall, Binghamton is very different from Scarsdale in that the campus is much more relaxed, featuring a nature preserve. A piece of advice from a student: start conversations with people; everyone is nice.

CornellStudent 4

A cousin of Binghamton to the Northwest, Cornell came out in full force at the student night.

On workload, the Cornellians noted that the work is harder than it is in high school, but you have a lot more time to complete it, so the overall stress level isn’t necessarily higher. Additionally, the field of study one chooses to can greatly impact the amount of work one has to do. For example, the freshmen pointed out that an engineer will most likely have a greater course load than a business student. They also noted that high school work is more stressful due to its individual nature while the majority of the work at Cornell is group oriented, easing the stress.

On culture, the students noted that it was refreshing to escape the fast paced lifestyle of Scarsdale and NYC for calmness in Ithaca. Although Ithaca is more laid back than Scarsdale, there is still much to do. Cornell is home to many parties, frats, clubs, sports, and more. Also, off campus activities include nearby wine tours and bars, boating on Cayuga Lake and hiking in nearby parks.

Transportation is also easy from Cornell, with a bus that can easily bring people back to Westchester or NYC. They added that most freshman do not bring cars on campus, but there is a Cornell bus that comes every five minutes to transport students around campus.

Student 3Michigan

Michigan students addressed the social and academic aspects of life in Ann Arbor.

In their perspective, social life can vary greatly at Michigan; some weeks one might go out on every weeknight, but work the whole day. They stressed that the “work hard, play hard” mentality is very real. About 15-20% of the student population are involved in Greek life, and is an option to branch out and meet people. From gaming to student government, there’s bound to be a community that fits someone’s personality and interests at Michigan.

While Michigan is a very large school, everything a student could want is on campus, and they advised that a car isn’t necessary. From one edge of campus to another is about a twenty-minute walk. 

Typically students take 4 courses which translates into 18 credits per semester. Students are autonomous in choosing their courses, in that an advisor will ensure a student is on track to graduate/complete a major, but the student can choose which classes they want to take and what time of day they would like to go to class. Although most classes are more difficult than those at Scarsdale, the high school does a good job at instilling proper time management skills in students. While each class may have a larger workload than a high school class, students are taking less classes in general, so the overall impact isn’t too substantial.

They felt that the culture at Michigan we more collaborative than competitive. While veryone wants to do well, bit is not cut throat environment and people work together. Even in math class, students work on problem sets together to enforce the collaborative attitude.

BrandeisStudent 2

Similarly to Michigan, the Brandeis students pointed out the work is rigorous but that have more time to do it. There’s a lot to do at Brandeis, however, besides work, including more than 260 student run clubs and organizations. Specifically, a cappella groups, club sports, and dance groups are among the most popular. Additionally, volunteerism is a huge part of Brandeisian culture. The Waltham Group gets hundreds of students a year to volunteer in the area surrounding Brandeis (Waltham, MA). They said that similar to Scarsdale, much of extracurricular engagement is centered around community involvement.

A student noted that Brandeis students are very kind, more so than Scarsdale. If you meet someone new, they always say hi to you; everyone is friendly.

Student 1Elon

Like Brandeis, students said that everyone at Elon is nice. This stems in part from its diversity, as one student noted their suitemates came from Guam, Ecuador, and New Rochelle. This diversity makes it easy to make friends, and eliminates the potential for cliques. Also, due to the small size of the school, it’s a close-knit community. Since the school is not near a major city, most students stay on campus and bond with one another.

The twenty four hour dance marathon for charity is one of the most popular student activities. Students reported that it’s very easy to join any club.

In terms of workload, Elon’s is relatively similar to that of Scarsdale, but it does get harder as each students progresses throughout their years at college. Additionally, they said, the professor and major play a significant role in workload and rigor.

Although these are reports from only five schools, one can see the common thread in Scarsdale students experiences at these different colleges across the country. All the students noted that they were well prepared for college coursework and to embrace the wide variety of opportunities presented at each school.

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