Junior class gets advice about college life from alumni


Graduation of the New Berlin West Class of 2013.

On Friday January 3rd, NBW alumni within the past two years had returned to give their two cents on college life and preparation to the junior classes. Counselors were also involved, and had been the voice behind questions that the juniors didn’t ask. Topics ranging from favorite part of college to financial aid, ACT scores to atmosphere at college, were discussed among the antecedents.

Personally, I found the conversations particularly helpful in calming my nerves about the upcoming tasks at hand to prepare for college. Worrying about scholarships and my ACT scores or even where to apply are only some of my biggest concerns still as a junior halfway through the year. Understanding that everyone has these same thoughts and that it is possible to overcome them all, reassured me. Talking to new freshman and sophomores in college that had gone to NBW felt more relatable than simply discussing my options with my guidance counselor, though they are a large help too.

Class sizes were one of the most popular responses to the best part of their college from the alums. For the most part, the colleges have a very small ratio of student to teacher, giving an opportunity for more one-on-one time.

“It feels like you get a more in-depth learning,” commented new MSOE freshman James Kearn. Almost all of the speakers had been in the same AP classes that we are enrolled in now, and had many suggestions about others we should take. It was encouraged to take as many as we can handle because they will help set a better understanding of how college classes will run.

“If you’re trying to figure out your major, just try and figure out what makes you happy and what you enjoy doing. That’s how I ended up with my major and then I picked a school off the best school for my major,” said Rebecca Gasper, when asked about important aspects of the school when choosing. Touring was advised because there can be preconceived notions about a school and seeing it for yourself will help with your decision; there can even be student-given tours as they can be more honest with you than a normal tour guide. Before choosing a school, I definitely would have to check out the campus and make sure it fits me. Researching the university will also help to have a better understanding of life there.

College Prowler is definitely an option that juniors should test out to see how the college is, as it is a website that students that are enrolled there can comment on and rate different aspects of the area. Getting their opinions can change your mindset on whether it is the right place to be, including safety, transportation, classes, activities, and sports. WISCareers is still one of the best tools when trying to establish interests, picking a major, and deciding on where to go. The speakers had said that it was very useful to them in high school.

Worries about college life had varied among the freshman and sophomores, as Abby Kunz, a freshman at Vanderbilt, had said, “One of the things I was most worried about was going out of state- maintaining friendships at home … Skype’s really important, and texting. It’s really not that hard”. Being prepared for homework and tests is also important, as grades can be weighted mainly on two tests and not missing class. New roommates, whether choosing a best friend, or through college Facebook pages of strangers, is always scary.

With all of these different aspects to consider when deciding what degree to major in and where to live in the world, it can seem very overwhelming to teenagers. It is not as scary as it feels for us right now, and will be over in the blink of an eye. It is very important though that juniors and seniors pick the right university or career path that best suits them, especially with all of these factors. Selecting the wrong place can seem like a large waste of money and time and be downright discouraging. But it should be a very good learning experience for dealing with these situations once we get there.