2021 Pathway Senior Celebration
On May 16th, Pathway interns and advisors held a meeting to celebrate the recently graduated senior, and to discuss some important topics surrounding college admissions, college application essays, and what to do in high school to help students prepare for college. The graduating interns also shared some of their lessons and tools to help younger interns understand the importance of civic engagement.
Pathway had 11 graduates this year, including Gloria Shen, Xinyi Liu, Kevin Shi, Yueyan Zhao, and Lara Yao, who are all going to the University of Washington. Kevin Yang and Richard Yang will be attending the University of Chicago, Eric Shi will attend the University of Maryland, George Wang will be attending West Point, and Jiawei Hu will be going to Harvard.
After announcing the graduates and where they will be attending college in the fall of 2021, a senior Q&A was held where helpful topics such as college apps, extracurriculars, the overall high school experience were discussed. Afterward, a general Q&A for anyone to ask any questions they had. One of the first questions to begin the Q&A was: “How many schools did you apply to?” The answers varied greatly, anywhere from one to 24 schools. Some in-between numbers were five, 17, 20, and 12; it all really depended on what the graduate wanted in a school and what they were looking for. Because there are thousands of colleges and universities across the country, the seniors had to narrow their choices down, and many did this through school visits, online tours, and examining the school’s culture, finances, aids, and much more that their various universities had to offer.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the college application process was extremely altered. Many schools did not require an ACT or SAT score submission for the 2021 graduates, many schools were closed and did not allow visitors, and many more changes made the application process much more difficult. Some seniors turned to online sources such as Reddit, or their university’s website as a way to virtually “tour” their prospective colleges. This was because various aids such as school counselors or specified college admissions counselors were unavailable, due to the pandemic. Some seniors said they procrastinated more than they should have, simply because the application timeline was thrown off. On the bright side, many seniors said that they had more time to work on their applications; since the pandemic forced us all to stay at home, they had more downtime to work on their essays and other application processes.
Another important aspect of college applications is the extracurriculars columns. For many high school students, this is an area of stress on college apps because of the weight that extracurriculars play in the admissions process. In order to avoid “overdoing it” in this section of college apps, the seniors suggested only putting down extracurriculars that you actually spent time, energy, and effort doing. Do not put every little volunteer hour or club or project that you joined just to do so, add extracurriculars that you were truly invested in, and ones that you believe will help your application in the long run. Some examples of some extracurriculars that Pathway seniors put down were Boy Scouts, Pathway internship, and various club presidents (Jaiwei Hu and Lara Yao).
As the structured Q&A was coming to a close, one of the last questions was asked about the Pathway internship, “What are some examples of growth as a result of the Pathway internship?” All of the seniors had amazing answers that were specific to them and their project within Pathway, but some main themes emerged throughout all of the responses. One of the main ones was that Pathway pushed people out of their comfort zones. If previously, they were shy and unconfident, Pathway helped them flourish. Pathway helped them learn better soft skills such as communication, effective group work, and team building, and team bonding. These skills are crucial for beginning college and entering the workforce, therefore, being a part of Pathway will definitely aid the seniors in their college careers and beyond. In a broader context, the seniors were able to share some of the most valuable lessons they learned throughout their four years of high school. Again, the answers varied from senior to senior, but some themes that emerged from each answer were to always ask for help when you think you need it, utilize all your school's resources, (counselors, teachers, peers, clubs, etc.), and to not stress too much about the future. It will all work out, you just have to wait and see.