MILLBURN, NJ — As part of the process of college selection process, Millburn High School hosted its annual College Night this past Monday.
Representatives from dozens of schools came to speak with prospective students. The event is an important night for high school students in town, especially the juniors, who are looking to apply to college the following year.
For soon-to-be high school graduates, the importance of figuring out which schools are a good fit is not something limited to only those attending Millburn High School. Students from other nearby schools will also sometimes attend the college fairs.
To that end, Millburn High School has initiated an outreach program in connection with Community Congregational Church, the Imani Institute and the Irvington Board of Education. As part of the program, the Millburn guidance department brings a group of Irvington High School students to town for the night.
Explaining why she believes this connection is important, Reverend Jennifer Testa Hrynyk said: “the point of [College Night] would be to empower students to think about what they want, to think about the places that would most benefit them and their own future… Expanding their sort of exposure to different schools that they may not have exposure to.”
Following the event, all students are then served dinner from a local Chinese restaurant. The atmosphere is light and conversational, not focused on the stress one would expect comes with any event involving college. While the visiting delegation eats, the Millburn student representatives speak to students from Irvington, sharing mutual college plans and tips about which schools are best to visit first.
One Millburn representative, Junior Ethne Laude said she chose to help out despite needing to attend College Night herself because “there’s more than enough time to cover both aspects of what I want to do tonight.”
And for Irvington High School Junior, Mark Abarah, who plans to major in engineering, he saw this event as the opportunity to look for colleges that offer “track and full scholarships.”
For all students attending, regardless of their high school, College Night was truly about the idea Abarah expressed: learning about the aspects of schools beyond majors and the information that could be found on the internet.
This idea of helping all students possible take control of their futures was further expressed by Nancy Siegel, head guidance counselor at Millburn High School. During her speech to Irvington students, she offered advice.
Siegel admitted that the college process is stressful, but that didn’t mean students should be willing to let themselves fail due to fear. As long as they work hard and are willing to better themselves, colleges will accept them. No student should discount him or herself from even the top colleges in the country. It comes down to believing in yourself.
Siegel also focused on financial aid and the possibilities it can open. Needing financial aid shouldn’t be limiting potential and she encouraged students to not let that be the controlling factor in college decisions, especially considering the willingness of most schools to help today.