On Wednesday, December 4 in the CCHS auditorium, guidance and the Broward Advisers for Continuing Education (BRACE) hosted the first Junior Night. This informational presentation was for parents and students that wanted to know more about the college application process.
The first speakers of the night were guidance counselors Ron Ziccardi, Maritza Baez-Valldeperas and Beatriz Dominguez. They spoke about a multitude of resources, such as Canvas, Virtual Counselor and Naviance, all of which students can use to their advantage when applying to college. Then, BRACE Adviser Christine Siwek gave a brief overview of the different types of schools, graduation requirements to get into those schools, the application process and financial aid and scholarships.
“I think many parents had questions and even though we [hold] information sessions for students through their personalization classes,” Siwek said.
Most of the information that attendees came to learn about was addressed by these first speakers.
“I came [to Junior Night] mainly to learn more about the application process and financial aid,” CCHS parent Kelly Kern said. “There were a few things that I didn’t know [beforehand] so that’s good.”
In addition to the speakers from CCHS, there were also speakers representing the variety of schools available. Madeline Schmees (from Florida State University) represented state universities. Nicole Jobson (from International College Counselors) represented highly selective universities. Lauren Siwek (from Nova Southeastern University) represented private 4-year universities and Tron Lippett (from Broward College) represented 2-year state colleges.
Each representative shared the unique qualities from the school that they represented, so the audience could learn more about each post-secondary option and choose the one that is right for them.
“I found Junior Night pretty helpful,” junior Jada Pallagi said. “I enjoyed the speakers and all of their individual stories [about] the application process.”
After each representative spoke, they sat down at a panel and answered some predetermined questions so the audience could see the differences between each of the different types of schools for specific parts of the application. After the question and answer portion ended, parents and students were welcomed to approach the speakers and ask them questions.
Though students like Pallagi found the event beneficial, some other students did not. Since some students have already met with Mrs. Siwek in personalization, have done their own research or have had a sibling already go through the college application process, they already had some knowledge about what was being discussed.
“I already knew the information they were talking about based on my own prior research and because it’s often discussed at other college events,” junior Adrianna Luna said. “ [However,] I do recognize that the information was still really important and useful especially for those who are new to this college process.”
This was the exact reason the guidance and BRACE offices decided to hold an informational Junior Night. The counselors often supply students with information, however, that information rarely gets to the parents. So, Junior Night offered a chance for the counselors to give important information to the students and the parents at the same time, without having to depend on the unreliable middleman.
“I think many parents had questions and even though we [hold] information sessions for students through their personalization classes,” Siwek said. “This was something [where] we were able to reach the parents directly with their questions on post-secondary education.”
Photo by Genna Nordling