By HANNAH STEINLAUF ‘22 and SAMHITHA SANGARAJU ‘22
Nervous students sit in front of their computer screens after a long day of school, their parents dutifully behind them. Normally held in the Edison High School auditorium, Junior Parent Night 2021 found its place in students’ living rooms on January 14, 2021. This annual event allows parents and students to hear “information directly from the professionals who are making college admissions decisions valuable to our Edison families,” says Nicole Panaro, a member of Edison High’s Counseling department. Like many other events that COVID-19 changed, this year’s Junior Parent Night involved blank Zoom screens instead of hundreds of eager students. But despite the restrictions, students still received crucial information regarding their college journeys. The night was broken up into three parts:
Part One: Princeton Review Information Session
The first part of the night was an optional information session from the Princeton Review, which advertised its SAT products to students. Aside from advertising their study materials, they also talked about the differences between the SAT and ACT. They discussed the difference in time per question, common mistakes in answering questions, and many more SAT/ACT strategies. These tips can help students improve their exam scores.
Part Two: Junior Parent Night Slideshow
During school, students had the opportunity to view a college preparation slideshow with their guidance counselor. However, their parents could not attend this “in school” information session. Fortunately, the Edison High counselors shared this information with the parents during the second part of Junior Parent Night. Parents learned about college applications, the SAT and ACT, and Edison High’s college application platform, Scoir. Since Scoir is a novel and involved platform, administrators took time to go over certain aspects of the platform and answer questions.
Though the juniors had already received this information from their counselors, for parents, the session was “very informative, and a great way to learn about college applications, especially when so much has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Venkatesh Ramanathan, an EHS junior’s parent. Overall, this presentation allowed parents to understand the college application process and the pandemic’s effects on the process.
Part Three: College Admissions Representatives Q&A
During the final event of the night, parents and students were able to chat with admissions representatives from colleges in and out of state, and hear their stances on common admissions questions. This year, the Counseling Department brought in representatives from Kean University, Ramapo College, Rutgers University, Middlesex County College, The College of New Jersey, and the University of Notre Dame. The event covered a wide range of topics, including extracurriculars, costs, and declaring majors. With this direct contact with colleges, the final part of the night allowed students and parents to become comfortable with the complicated college admissions process.
Even though the turnout was small compared to the pre-COVID-19 auditorium setting, attendants of the Junior Parent Night still benefited from the presented information. Edison High’s counselors “hope that students and parents recognized just how many resources are available and gained a better understanding on how to utilize them as well” through the event, says Ms. Panaro. This year, the college counselors, administrators and admission officers worked hard to ensure that students and parents received adequate information about college and the college application process. The administrators involved in Junior Parent Night even extended the Zoom link to Edison High teachers with high school students, allowing a wider audience to have access to this relevant information.
The Eagle’s Eye would like to thank the Edison High Counseling department for putting together this event and helping students navigate their future in the midst of these unprecedented circumstances. If you would like to access information from Junior Parent Night 2021, please visit this link.