A group of ninth-grade students from Whitehall were given the opportunity last month to experience a college campus.
Sixty-one freshmen and a handful of seniors attended an open house at SUNY Adirondack on April 20. The event was hosted by the school’s Office of Enrollment Management inside the campus gymnasium.
College faculty and students presented hands-on demonstrations and interactive presentations featuring SUNY Adirondack programs and a variety of career fields available to students, including business, health sciences and technology.
Students were given the opportunity to tour the campus, including the library, and walk through of the school’s media center where its digital photography labs and graphic art classes are held. The group even had a chance to eat lunch in the student union.
Topher Montville, the junior high guidance counselor, said the school takes a group of ninth-graders to the event every year.
He said the trip is the first time many of the students have ever stepped foot on a college campus.
“It provides them with a sense of what the college experience feels like,” said Montville.
Although it may seem like a student’s freshmen year in high school is a bit early to start visiting college campuses, many students begin the process of applying to schools in their junior year. And many universities and colleges will look at the entirety of a student’s body of work in high school, and not just their last two years, when they consider an applicant’s admission.
“Ninth grade is a great transition year to start to get them thinking about it,” Montville said. “They learn what it’s like and they have a chance to think about the questions they need to ask these colleges later on: how does it fit, and how do I determine if it’s the right school.”
“It makes the discussions of where they want to go easier.”
The trip was also helpful for the half dozen seniors who were still undecided about their plans for next year.
Montville said those students had expressed some interest in possibly attending the school but were still undecided.
“Their interest peaked after they had a chance to see the school,” he said.
The program also introduced students to a number of two-year programs they may not have considered otherwise.
For instance, Montville said there were several students who were very interested in outdoor recreation, but had resigned themselves to the fact that those interests would remain solely recreational. However, while on the trip they learned more about the school’s Adventure Sports: Leadership and Management program.
“They didn’t realize that was something that was offered. The students were surprised by the diversity of the program,” Montville said.
“It really opened their eyes.”
Although Montville views SUNY Adirondack as an excellent resource for local students, the trip was intended to be a tool students could use to help make informed decisions about their future.
“Personally, I pitch it as their opportunity to use it as a reference.”