WHHS holds first College Decision Day with 6 schools
WHHS holds first College Decision Day with 6 schools
Posted on 11/24/2015
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WEST HAVEN, Nov. 24, 2015 — The first college acceptance: It’s a milestone that can take months after researching and visiting campuses, submitting applications, interviewing with admissions representatives, and spending hours on essays.

But for nearly 50 West Haven High School seniors, that wait finished early last week when they received acceptances from colleges at WHHS’ inaugural College Decision Day. The WHHS School Counseling Department held the special event at the Savin Rock Conference Center so that representatives from six local colleges and universities could meet with seniors who matched criteria for their schools and give immediate, on-site admissions decisions.

Counselors worked with schools they already partnered with in the past to give seniors an opportunity for early news on acceptance and scholarships.

“Students who apply for early decisions to schools of their choice don’t normally start hearing until December, and the majority don’t hear until the spring, which is when most colleges announce acceptances,” said WHHS School Counseling Department Head Rose Paolino.

“So we’ve used our relationships with area schools to bring Decision Day to life and give Westies a chance to meet with multiple college representatives in person in one spot, while getting a head start on gathering all the information they need to make the best choice for their future.”

The six schools that participated were the University of New Haven, the University of Bridgeport, Southern Connecticut State University, Western Connecticut State University, Central Connecticut State University, and Albertus Magnus College.

WHHS has held on-site decision days for individual schools each fall for the past few years, but this was the first time School Counseling held one decision day for multiple schools. Parents also had a chance to attend and celebrate with their student, and UNH donated money for breakfast and lunch.

To be eligible for participation, students needed to consider one or more of the attending schools as a top choice, submit an early application for pre-screening by counselors and college representatives, and earn a certain grade point average and SAT scores.

On Decision Day, school buses brought the WHHS students to the conference center, where they had an interview with admissions counselors from one or more of the schools attending. Then came the sighs of relief.

“It was nerve-wracking, but they were ready for me right away. When I heard I got accepted, I was so excited. The person I met with was super nice and comforting,” said WHHS senior Maxine Carrion, who was accepted to Albertus Magnus College and hopes to pursue a career as an art therapist for kids and teenagers.

Patricia Vecellio, who earned acceptance to Southern Connecticut State University and plans to major in biology before attending medical school to become a trauma surgeon, said Decision Day was a good experience because it removed some of the mounting pressure of awaiting college responses.

Some Westies had prior involvement with schools at Decision Day. WHHS senior Andres Pacheco was accepted into UNH at the event and had already spent time on campus this past summer in the school’s summer biology academy.

“It’s really amazing because a lot of kids don’t get many opportunities like this,” said Pacheco, who was also accepted to SCSU and wants to eventually become a physician. “I talk to other kids at different schools and they don’t have this opportunity to know where they got in, and they will have to wait until this winter or spring. It was a really happy moment, and there was a lot of joy. My parents came and they’re really proud.”

While students were able to learn more about the schools while visiting with representatives, they also shared plans for their future and what may be influencing their choices. WHHS senior Olivia Bolliger was preparing to explain her career plans to a representative from SCSU, as her goal to become a nurse stems from watching family members pass away from cancer. Scholarships and financial aid will play a key role in her eventual college choice, so having information on aid eligibility early will give her more time to make a decision.

As each student celebrated a successful interview and college acceptance, they took photos with friends and family, thanked WHHS counselors, and wrote down names of their potential alma maters on miniature paper graduation caps. Senior Delaruelle Tarpeh, a member of the WHHS Student Government who wants to study political science, wrote the names of four schools on her blue graduation cap: UNH, SCSU, CCSU and WCSU. Now comes the fun part—narrowing that choice down to one.

You might have seen the event featured on TV--click here for a news piece by WFSB on Decision Day.

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