New Providence BOE Hears Annual College Visit Report

Scott Maciag, New Providence Director of Guidance Credits: Marianne Ivers
Former locker room, now a class room Credits: Marianne Ivers
New STEM room at Roberts School Credits: Marianne Ivers

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – College visits are beneficial to New Providence students, Director of Guidance Scott Maciag told the Board of Education (BOE) on Thursday, September 14. This past summer marked the fifth year since Maciag started visiting colleges during summer vacation. This year he visited colleges in the New York Finger Lakes area as well as some New Jersey colleges.

The goal of Maciag’s college tour is to “expand the horizon” and provide more opportunities for the students. Since he started his outreach to a variety of colleges, the guidance department has recorded a significant increase of colleges visiting New Providence High School and promoting their institutions. Many colleges are also repeating their visits in the district on a yearly basis. He noted that the “impact of visits may not be seen for a couple of years.”

Maciag has also noticed that since he and other counselors started visiting colleges both the numbers of New Providence student applications and acceptances into those institutions have gone up. Maciag explained that he shares the college information gathered during the visits with other guidance counselors and students. The guidance department also features “College of the Month” which provides the students with a closer look at that particular school. Nowadays, college information available for students is only “a click away,” he said.

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During his visits, Maciag makes New Providence school district known to prospective colleges. When college representatives visit the high school, Maciag provides them with a tour of the school. The new STEM wing and renovated media center at the high school will become parts of that tour this fall. The goal is to provide college representatives a wholesome picture of the skills and interests of the students and what activities, beside academics, are available. Students should always list their specific skills and interests on college applications, he advised.

Although Maciag’s visits to colleges have opened doors to students, more can be done, he said. Maciag sends a written thank you note to admission officers in each school he visits. He now intends to follow-up with a phone call to further strengthen the relationship between the admission offices and New Providence High School.

He would also like include different or specific types of institutions, such as Champlain College which is known for its video programming or Green Mountain College that specializes in sustainability, in his future college tours. He also intends to increase contacts with Ivy League schools. Furthermore, Maciag is contemplating reaching out specific departments, such as engineering, in some colleges. He also intends to reach out to those institutions that have seen a greater number of applicants from New Providence without a proportionate number of acceptances.

Maciag noted that colleges go through waves, one year a school is “hot”, the next year not. The goal of the guidance department is to stay ahead of that curve, he said.

In other news the board had an opportunity to visit two new classrooms that were converted from unused locker rooms at Allen W. Roberts School where the meeting was held due to the ongoing construction at the high school.

Additionally, the board discussed its goals for the 2017-2018 school year and the agenda for the Sept. 28 meeting.

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