Education

Watchung Hills Regional High School Seniors Kick Off College Application Season With Senior Night and College Essay Writing Workshop

cfccc3ca27b8dcc07352_image.jpg
Guidance Department Supervisor Catherine Angelastro, left, welcomed Senior Katie Remington of Gillette, center, and her mother, Karen, to Senior Night  Credits: Denis J. Kelly
cfccc3ca27b8dcc07352_image.jpg
WARREN, NJ - Seniors at Watchung Hills Regional High School kicked off the college application season last week with two evening sessions sponsored by the Guidance Department: Senior Night on Thursday, Sept. 18, attended by students and their parents; and a College Essay Writing Workshop on Tuesday, Sept. 23.
 
The essay writing workshop, attended by about 100 students, was a pilot program offered for the first time this year. It was organized by Guidance Department Supervisor Catherine Angelastro, Curriculum and Instruction Director Mary Ellen Phelan, and English Department Supervisor Marlene Stoto.
 
 
English Department staff will continue to be available at various times in the weeks and months ahead, at lunch times, and before and after school, to give assistance to all seniors who seek help in composing, reviewing, revising and polishing their college application essays, Stoto said.
 
If the pilot workshop proves to be widely popular and useful, the school may consider scheduling a second workshop or a larger workshop in future years, Phelan said. Phelan said the workshop was conceived of as a true working event, where students spent some time discussing what makes for a good essay, reading several typical essays, thinking about possible essay topics, and possibly sketching out a rough outline for their own essay. They also received pointers from English department teachers on what college admissions officials are looking for in an essay, and some pointers on how best to write a succinct and powerful essay for applications.

 
The College Application Season
There are some 550 students in the senior class this year, and many will be involved in the college application process. Some of the first deadlines in the process loom as early as Nov. 1, and the application process typically lasts well into January. Several other special college application-related programs have been scheduled for the next several months, including the annual Financial Aid Night on Tuesday, Nov. 11, Angelastro said.
 
There are also nearby college fairs in Bridgewater-Raritan on Tuesday, Oct. 14, and Summit on Wednesday, Nov. 12. There are also test dates for the SAT Test and SAT Subject Tests during the next three months, on Saturdays Oct. 11, Nov. 8, and Dec. 6. The next ACT Test dates are Saturdays, Oct. 25, and Dec. 6.
 
Guidance Department Support
At Senior Night, students and their parents reported directly to one of eight breakout rooms, where Guidance Department staff walked them through some five broad areas of discussion, including: How to choose the colleges to apply to; where to research colleges; the application process; financial aid and scholarships; and dates to remember.
 
In one of the groups, Guidance Counselors Glenn Graham and Robert Carmenini urged students to take an active role in completing their college applications. Graham and Carmenini said they had heard of instances where a student is asked in an interview about something in an application the student clearly had not filled out. It is embarrassing, and it doesn’t make a good impression, they said. Angelastro said that as many as 105 college representatives will be stopping by Watchung Hills Regional High School this year to speak to students about their colleges and universities.
 
Carmenini said that figure is significantly higher than when he started on staff eight years ago. He added that, likewise, the student attendance at these college representative visits has increased dramatically in recent years. That leaves a good impression on Watchung Hills in the eyes of college representatives.“The college representatives who come here, want to come back” because of the response they get from Watchung Hills students, said Carmenini. Students who have alerted the Guidance Department of their interest in certain colleges and universities will be notified electronically when representatives from those schools will be visiting Watchung Hills.
 
Graham and Carmenini assured students and parents that the Guidance Department would do its part to ensure that all required accompanying documents to the application would be assembled and sent to colleges on time. They said they want students to complete the application in a timely fashion, and then rely on the Guidance Department to do its part, so that the students can concentrate on their studies and maintain good grades. Colleges receive the complete grades of first semester senior applicants once the grades are finalized in January, so maintaining good performance in the classroom is important, they said.
 
Like many other high school students, Watchung Hills students have been compiling a resume on the electronic site, www.connection.naviance.com, since Freshman year. Through that web site, they also complete a common application, and can access a variety of other web sites with information pertinent to the application process. College applications are virtually paperless at Watchung Hills at this point, according to Carmenini, and many colleges require that.
Guidance Counselors assured parents that Guidance will be available to answer questions, trouble shoot problems, attach key documents, and help manage stress.
 
Essay Workshop
English Department teachers on Tuesday night gave key pointers on what college admissions officials are looking for in college application essays, what types of themes are best to write about, and how best to write the essays. In today’s market, with so many applicants and applications, essays must be kept relatively short, must be well-written, and must be on-point, said Phelan. Roy Bumiller and Mike Porter, English Department teachers, said that in writing their essays, students should, “Keep it anecdotal. Keep it interesting. And keep it real.” While the college applications and other materials, including test scores, resumes and lists of extra-curricular involvement, provide college admission officials with the numbers needed in making the decision of which students to accept, the essay puts a human face on the data, Bumiller and Porter said. A strong essay helps to answer the question: Will this student make a difference on the college campus? The essay should also answer the question: Who is this person applying? Bumiller and Porter said that through the essay, students should try to come across as thoughtful, in both senses of that word: They want to show themselves to be considerate, sure, but also insightful, able to consider topics at a college level of insight and scholarship.
 
Students should be positive in their essays, should use their own writing voice, and avoid writing yet another listing of their resume. That material is already covered in the application, resume, transcript and test scores. The essay is the opportunity for students to reveal their personality. In breakout workshop sessions, the English teachers covered principles of good essay writing for college applications in greater detail. Phelan, who had been English Department Supervisor and English teacher last year, and who has taught at the college level, led one of the workshops. She picked up on what Bumiller and Porter were saying about making the essay interesting right from the start. College admissions officers have to read many essays. They are looking for compelling essays that address the topic posed by the application, that are succinct, that avoids clichés and being self-serving, and that reveals the person behind the application.
 
Once written, students should ask several readers, such as parents, teachers, and a good friend, to read the essay, and make helpful suggestions, Phelan said. However, students should be careful to not ask too many people to review the essay. Sometimes too many readers and suggestions can confuse the process.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Warren

It’s Official: Closings, Cancellations and Postponements and No Call in Warren, Watchung Hills Sending Districts and North Plainfield

February 7, 2018

WARREN, NJ - School is open on Wednesday, Feb. 7. The Watchung Hills girls basketball game scheduled against Phillipsburg on Wednesday has been postponed since Phillipsburg has called a snow day. 

In anticipation of inclement weather, the following senior centers operated by the Somerset County Office on Aging and Disability Services will be closed Wednesday, ...

WHSA TOPSoccer Registration Is Now Open

February 21, 2018

WARREN, NJ - Watchung Hills Soccer Association (WHSA) TOPSoccer registration is now open.

WHSA is excited to announce that the program will be free of charge this season. The season is scheduled to begin on Saturday, April 28. To register as a player, visit www.whsa.org and click on the “Log In” tab and then follow the registration steps.

TOPSoccer is a ...

A Celebration of Black History- Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future in North Plainfield

Councilwoman Keiona R. Miller will host the 2nd Annual North Plainfield Community Black History Month Event: ‘A Celebration of Black History.’

KEYNOTE SPEAKER:  The Honorable Ronald L.  Rice, New Jersey State Senator and Chair of the New Jersey State Legislative Black Caucus.

SPECIAL ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_2e2e4830042112095f66_94f09724857a937db1ac_d6404e0a-7afd-4279-b56f-19b0f9b2138c

Sun, February 25, 10:00 AM

Camp Riverbend, Warren

Camp Riverbend Open House

Carousel_image_fa4fe163698ac5321450_warren_summer_pic

Sat, March 10, 3:00 PM

Spring Academy Warren, Warren

Spring Academy Warren Camp Open House

Education

Tue, March 13, 9:30 AM

Congregation Beth Israel , Scotch Plains

Crisis listening line volunteer listening and ...

Education Giving Back Health & Wellness

Obituaries

South Plainfield – Joanne Gallo, 68, of Palm Beach Gardens, FL and Warren, NJ, passed away ...
Read more

Low-Income Families Who Need Safe Cribs Have Nowhere to Go

February 16, 2018

One recent email came from a pastor in East Orange, sharing the struggles of a young couple who have no safe place for their baby to sleep.

Then, there was also a phone call from a Newark hospital, making its fourth request in two years, as well as a frantic text from Puerto Rico, for a family who lost everything in the hurricane.

They all pleaded for the same thing: A safe crib for a ...

WHRHS Girls Basketball: Watchung Hills Tops East Orange, 44-40

February 12, 2018

EAST ORANGE, NJ - Julia Cunningham recorded a double-double for Watchung Hills with 21 points, 16 rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block to lead the Watchung Hills girls basketball team over East Orange on Monday, 44-40. 

Jayden Baltuch finished with seven points, four assists and one rebound. 

Watchung Hills is now 19-1 on the season and next plays at Newark ...

WHRHS Boys Basketball: Watchung Hills Routs Somerville, 82-54

WARREN, NJ -  Six Warriors scored in the double digits to lead the Watchung Hills boys basketball game over Somerville on Saturday, 82-54.

Mike Hopwood led Watchung Hills with 17 points, Dan Pilsbury added 14 points and eight rebounds, Steven Bressler sunk 15 points, Gavin DeFuria added 13 points, Micheal Bressler got 11 points and 10 assists and Chad Martini chipped in 10 points and ...

Watchung Appoints New Council Member

February 21, 2018

WATCHUNG, NJ - The Watchung Borough Town Council appointed Maria Alberto to fill the unexpired portion of Debra Joren’s term at the last meeting. The term expires at the end of 2018.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2ReYfGuwPE

Joren retired earlier this year and due to the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) was required to resign from any public office within six ...

Somerville Merchants Endorse Plan to Reduce Parking Lot Fees

SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Borough’s controversial parking fees are set to undergo another revision, with hourly parking reduced from 75 to 50 cents in municipal lots 1,2,4 and 6, according to a merchant-driven plan endorsed by Mayor Ellen Brain.

The $1 hourly rate for parking on Main Street will remain the same, according to the mayor.

The hours of enforcement will also be changed to ...

Somerset County Preparing for Construction of Finderne Avenue Bridge, Beginning Feb. 20

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Finderne Avenue bridge, between Union Avenue and Foothill Road, will be under construction from Feb. 20 for about nine months, according to a release from Somerset County.

The bridge will be constructed in three separate stages, with one lane northbound and one lane southbound being maintained, aside from intermittent single-day closures as required. In addition, ...

Bernards Police Locate Body of Missing Township Teen

BERNARDS TWP., NJ -  Bernards Township Police announced late Thursday afternoon that the body of a 19-year-old township resident, Lydia Comtois, had been located in a wooded area of Liberty Corner following a search by personnel and volunteers from numerous public safety organizations. 

A preliminary investigation indicated the young woman's death was not deemed to ...

From the New York Toy Fair - Travels Reveals the Toys That Will Make You the Star of Your Child’s Life - the Oscars of the Toy World - the TOTY Awards

February 19, 2018

 As you know, we are here to encourage you to travel.  Unfortunately, the New York Toy Fair is one place virtually none of you can go.  So, unless you have been tirelessly been searching the internet, you are not up to date on what toys your children will be wanting soon.

Fortunately, with Press Correspondent credentials, we were able to go in your place.

Our ...

Coast Guard Ends Search for Fishermen Lost at Sea, Fund Established to Help Family

The U.S. Coast Guard has officially ended its search for the two crew members of the fishing boat that went missing off the coast of Barnegat Light during the early morning hours of February 8.  

“We would like to extend our condolences to the families and the fishing community affected by this tragic incident,” said Capt. Scott Anderson, commander of the Coast Guard's ...

Looking for Something to Do? Weekend Events in Somerset County

Things to do in Somerset County

A weekend celebrating Warmer Days!

1. Winter Market, Duke Farms

2. The Mountaintop, Theatre at RVCC - Friday featuring the Peking Acrobats.

3. State Theatre New Jersey - nothing scheduled this weekend - next show Feb 22 

4. Heritage Trail Association - Five Generals House Bus Tour - ...

Coast Guard Ends Search for Fishermen Lost at Sea, Fund Established to Help Family

February 18, 2018

The U.S. Coast Guard has officially ended its search for the two crew members of the fishing boat that went missing off the coast of Barnegat Light during the early morning hours of February 8.  

“We would like to extend our condolences to the families and the fishing community affected by this tragic incident,” said Capt. Scott Anderson, commander of the Coast Guard's ...

Third Annual Long Beach Island Job Fair Set for Saturday, March 31

SURF CITY, NJ - Need a job this summer? Look no further. Shore Fire Grille again has teamed up with local businesses in the area for a special summer 2018 Job Fair event. 

The Third Annual LBI Job Fair will take place Saturday, March 31.  Employers will be looking to hire help for the summer season on busy Long Beach Island.  The event will be held at the Surf City Yacht ...

Guest Column: The Great "Wait" of the College Process

February 14, 2018

"The Great Wait" of the College Application Process

For all the high school seniors and their parents, we are in the stressful "waiting period".  We've just finished or are finishing applications to all the schools we might possibly want to attend next year and now sit and wait our fate after the $60-$80 non-refundable application fees to at least 8-13 schools and ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...