SUMMIT, NJ - Preparing for college can be one of the most difficult times in a young adult’s life and for Spanish-speaking families, it is sometimes an even tougher task. Because of Summit’s high Spanish-speaking population, for the past decade Summit High School has held a College Information Session for Spanish Speakers.

On Wednesday night, Nov. 28, approximately a dozen families with their children attended the event in the library at the high school and met with representatives from five different universities. The entire evening was conducted in Spanish and Summit High School Bilingual Coordinator Arturo Lopez ran the session.

The representatives from the schools included Elena Lopez an alum of Franklin and Marshall College; Jose Melendez, an academic advisor of the Spanish program at Kean University; Marcie Rosas-Straley, assistant director of admissions at  Rutgers University;  Ilona Castro, director of international admissions at Stevens Institute of Technology; and Victor Alvelaez, a recruiter from Union County College.  Each representative shared information about their institution of higher education and questions and answers with the audience followed.

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Some of the topics discussed included life after high school, college costs, major choice, whether to stay on campus or live at home, class size, how and when to apply, the importance of standardized tests, G.P.A., and grades in the selection process, availability of loans and scholarships, as well as the activities and different programs avaialble at the schools.

Lopez, who has been in his position for several years and prior to that was in admissions at Rutgers University, said events like this are extremely important.

“I am convinced that doing this in their native language is very important,” Lopez said. “By bringing everybody together, we feel we can provide much greater support for our Spanish-speaking students.”

Lopez said while some parents may have attended college in their native country, the process is quite different here. Since its inception, the event has been successful and each year they try to invite different schools, he said.   

Junior Kelvin Torres said he feels much more relaxed now after attending the session. With college around the corner, he said he is definitely excited for life after high school.  

“I think this was really a big help,” Torres said. “It was really informative.”

Luz Rico, whose daughter is a senior, said all of this new information she learned really calmed her nerves. She said now the application process will be much easier.

“Tonight, I’m so happy that something that I don’t understand is now clear,” Rico said.