Alumni Give Advice to Current Seniors

By Ting Ren ’17

Eager to go off to college, students are excited to explore what college life is about. However, seeking advice is worth considering as it may be helpful to students in the long run.

While some students may already have a clear vision of what college they are going to, not all students know what to expect in college or know where to begin. Advice can be valuable as it could help students face different circumstances as well as doing well in college.

Annie Li ’15 who just graduated last year and is now a freshman attending Hunter College, suggests that students should make sure to read the class syllabus carefully and see how the professors grade students. Unlike high school where classwork and class participation play some role in a student’s grade, in college, often times these factors are meaningless. Grades are based solely on students’ performance on exams, assignments, projects and essays. Therefore, it’s crucial to do well on them.

“Don’t procrastinate on assignments. Especially if you are planning to work part-time while also going to school or participating in other activities after school, you want to have everything assigned done and completed by the due date or else you will be sleep deprived trying to make up for these assignments,” said Li.

In addition, Li states that students should check for websites such as to have a better understanding of the professor teaching particular classes. A website like this provides reviews and ratings on professors from anonymous former students which provide insight on the way professors teach the class, the grades that they have given and their performance in teaching. This information could be used to help incoming freshmen to decide on the classes that they want to take. Sometimes it’s just complaints by disgruntled students, but it can be helpful.

Li plans on majoring in education and suggests students who already know what they want to major in to research and start to apply to courses that are required for their particular major.

According to Eniola Abdul ’15 who attends Stony Brook University, he feels that it is important for students to manage their time both academically and socially.

“I get my work done early. I do the work the moment it was assigned and usually finish the same day that I started. As a result, I have very open days in the week and I could do pretty much whatever I want. It’s always good to be on top of your work,” said Abdul.

Abdul states that having good work ethic is something great to have in college because without it, most of the work will end up overlapping, and students will be overwhelmed by the number of things they will have to do in a small amount of time. Studying for exams varies by person, but Abdul suggests taking practice exams consistently and going over wrong answers. In college, Abdul states that students are on their own, and it’s up to the students to explore and try to figure out who they are and what interests them.

“My experience in college has been pretty nice so far. You are free to do what you like for the most part but it’s really what you make of it,” continues Abdul.

that they are difficult but not unbearable. Professors vary as much as the people on campus. When it comes to exams, the textbook is a student’s best friend. Abdul plans on majoring in computer science and math.

According to Helen Wong ’15 who also attends Stony Brook University, it’s nice to make friends with upperclassmen as they will give students advice about the classes they will be taking as well as giving helpful tools to students such as old exams or textbooks.

Wong plans to major in biology and minor in writing. She strongly suggests students take advantage of professors’ office hours and ask questions or have a talk if students need help with homework or are struggling to do well in the class. Wong also advises students who plan to dorm to not pack too much belongings since college dorms are small and students may have to share with one or a few roommates.

According to Lisa Chan ’15 who attends City College of New York, college is different from high school.

“You are given a lot more freedom and independence while at the same time, you hold a lot more responsibility and you also learn more about yourself in the process,” said Chan.

Chan states that doing well in high school does not mean that students will do well in college. It’s critical to know the content as well as understand the concepts and utilizing textbooks and online resources. Meanwhile, it’s also important to seek out opportunities. College isn’t just about work Chan claims, but it is also about meeting new people and exploring new areas of interest. Chan is working her way through college and plans to major in physics.

A freshman attending Binghamton University, Tracy Chiu ’15 believes that it’s necessary to study every day and students should use the study rooms and library to their advantage. Chiu does not recommend students to pull all-nighters, be close-minded or take any drugs to enhance studying.

“Immerse yourself in clubs and find a job that you are interested in to build connections and meet new people. I found a job on campus working in the field of behavioral neurogenetics. I plan on majoring in neuroscience and minoring in Chinese studies and business,” said Chiu.

Allison Lo ’15 who attends a private school in Massachusetts called Northeastern University, believes that students should expect college to be tough and not be so surprised.

“You can’t have the same study habits as you did in high school if you studied the night before because it doesn’t really yield any good results. Go to a tutoring center or talk to your professors if you need help,” said Lo.

Lo recommends students to join clubs and events since students are paying it as part of their tuition and finds it as a great way to make friends. She believes that students should step out of their comfort zone because there could be important things that students might miss out on. Lo plans on majoring in biology and minoring in business.

When going off to college, students won’t have the time to socialize as much, and it will be difficult for students to hang out with one another since they are going to go to different colleges or have completely different schedules and classes even though students may be going to the same college. Therefore, while school is coming to an end, Li suggests that seniors should cherish and make the best out of their last year in high school.

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