College Planning Night Prepares Students For Application Process

Priyunka Maheshwari, News Editor

   On October 21 the first Junior College Planning Night will be held at VHS. The night will consist of a panel of eight representatives from different colleges that will answer questions posed by juniors and their parents.

   “We’ll ask them pre-made questions that were planned in advance, and then the audience can ask some questions,” said Mrs. Wilson, a guidance counselor at Vandegrift.

   The college night is being prepared as a forum where a panel will answer specific questions and address concerns. Vandegrift is the only school in Leander ISD to hold a college night in this fashion.

    “Other schools have tables that colleges set up where they can get information,” Mrs. Wilson, counselor, said.

    Rather than have students go from representative to representative, Vandegrift has decided to create an environment in which all the juniors and their parents can listen to general questions about admissions.

    “We decided at the beginning of the year that we wanted something that students could take information away from and learn and listen to the admissions advisors,” Mrs. Wilson said.

    After the panel is held from 6 PM to 6:50 PM, the college night will be devoted to breakout sessions. These will be held by college counselors, financial aid officers, and other members of the college admission team to discuss things like financial aid, writing essays, getting recommendation letters, campus visits and scholarships. Those with a special interest in the arts will have the opportunity to go to a specific breakout session for the performing and visual arts.

    This unique combination of a general panel and tinier sessions of about 25 people is something that other schools in Leander ISD have been paying close attention to. If the other schools like the idea, they may copy the process in their own college nights.

    With about 125 juniors expected to attend college night, it is clear that Vandegrift students are getting close to college application time. College night is one of many projects at Vandegrift desgigned to prepare students for college.

    In January, there will be a planning evening for junior athletes who have questions about playing sports in college. From how they are recruited to what they need to be eligible to play, athletes who are interested in college sports should attend the session.

    Leander ISD holds a district wide college fair with representatives from different colleges every year. Vandegrift also encourages students to take advantage of the college planning resources on the school website.

    College night is expected to be a big event because of the wide variety of representatives present. Austin Community College, Texas A&M University, Southern Methodist University’s Meadow School of the Arts, Texas Christian University, Austin College and St. Edwards University will all have directors to speak at college night.

    College planning in advance is extremely important, which is why counselors urge students to take advantage of the opportunities provided. Students who will be applying to college soon should attend the event. Other opportunities to speak with colleges include the college visits during PIT. 

   “The most important part of college planning is to take time to think about what you’re looking for. Visit the schools, because sometimes something looks good on paper but feels different when you get there. You’ll know when you’ve found the right college,” Mrs. Wilson said.