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Pelham Parents Hear From College Admissions Reps

PELHAM, N.Y. – Pelham Memorial High School juniors and their parents filled the auditorium Wednesday for “Junior College Planning Night” to hear from college admissions professionals on tips and strategies for when the students begin to apply to colleges next year.

The college admissions representatives at the event were Jeanne Holzmann of Fordham University, Kevin Cavanagh of Iona College, Chris Milton of the City University of New York (CUNY) system, and Stephanie McCaine of State University of New York's (SUNY) Purchase College.

The event started off with the four college representatives reviewing three different mock transcripts and delivering their opinion on what pieces of information stood out, whether that student would be admitted to their school, and how they would analyze each student.

Milton brought up that the CUNY system is different than the other three colleges at the event because a transcript is put through a machine first to determine whether a student is accepted or not. The transcript does not get sent to that individual CUNY school to be looked at until afterwards and a student can appeal a denial.

Then the program broke off into two sessions in which parents could leave and go to different informational programs. The first session offered “The Rest of the College Application Student: Activity Profiles, Supplemental Materials” and “Educational Opportunities at Public Institutions CUNY and SUNY.”

Holzmann and Cavanagh urged the students to demonstrate interest in a school that they would really like to attend by visiting, meeting with the admissions representatives and going to informational sessions run by the college or university.

During the SUNY/CUNY session, students learned about the special programs at those institutions and the best bargains in the New York State system.

The second session involved “Interview Skills” for the students only, “Exploring and Applying to Colleges with Art Programs” and “The Application and Essay as Evaluated by Admissions Staff.”

Nancy Brennan, an independent counselor, ran the interviewing session and helped students overcome the fear of the interviewing process. They learned what the college interviewer wants and how important a first impression is.

McCaine, Pelham Memorial Art Coordinator Rebecca Schwarz, and music teacher Michelle Zanky led the art programs session. The students learned about different career options, portfolio and audition requirements, and what the selection process is like for performing arts programs.

Cavanagh and Holzmann told the students not to stress over the common application essay, but also reminded them of how important it is. They each remembered unique essays written by former applicants to their schools. Holzmann’s favorite had to do with an applicant writing why Swiss cheese was their favorite.

Gene Farrell, director of counseling services at Pelham Memorial, said he thought the night went well.

“I think this is a very important night,” Farrell said. “I think this is a night in which it’s a little bit of follow-up to our individual sessions in which we really bring together professionals from outside who give us added or supplemental professional information to hear about the other side of the desk.”

He was hopeful that the parents received helpful information from the event.

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