APA alums give 'heads- up' to next crop of college applicants
Arendell Parrott Academy Headmaster Dr. Bert Bright, right, asks returning graduates about their college experiences: from left, Alex Urban, Connor Bright and Megan Singleton. Submitted photo
Arendell Parrott Academy kicked off January with ”In with the old, out with the new.” Old, in this case, referred to last year’s graduates who returned to campus on Jan. 2, while new were the experiences and advice about college which they shared during a 45-minute panel discussion.
In what has become an annual tradition, APA college counselor Mitzi Moye and guidance counselor Kristin White reached out to alumni from last year while they were home for the holidays. Those alumni, now college freshmen, were invited back to school Jan. 2 to enjoy lunch in their old cafeteria, have conversations with their former teachers and share firsthand college experience with their former classmates.
During the final class period of the day, high school students divided into two groups for a frank Q-and-A with the alumni, who represented schools as diverse as Emory, University of South Carolina, Meredith, Davidson, and two military academies, as well as ECU, N.C. State and UNC-Chapel Hill.
“How do you manage to find a ‘small group’ to be part of on a big campus?” one student asked. The answers included joining clubs, intramural sports, doing something new and not being afraid to engage.
How about tests and quizzes, asked another junior. Are they as bad as in high school? All agreed that APA helped them be well-prepared for their college assignments. But several of the college freshmen said tests were fewer and farther between … and that’s not necessarily a good thing.
“Time management is key,” two girls asserted, and a lot of their friends were nodding in agreement.
“You don’t want to be writing that 10-page paper after midnight on the date it’s due,” Trang Le, last year’s salutatorian, said.
Two of the returning alums are halfway through their first year at service academies: Hannah Scott Avery of Greenville, who attends the U.S. Naval Academy, and Connor Bright of Snow Hill, who’s at the Air Force Academy. Both spoke about the long, difficult process of applying and getting a military academy appointment. Both also said they were challenged but thriving in the intense, disciplined environment.
In a final twist, the returning collegians offered advice to their former teachers: Don’t go too easy on your charges, don’t give multiple reminders of homework assignments or push back a due date because the students say they need more time.
“That’s not what my professors at ECU do,” Caleb Turik said. “They tell us about an assignment one time. After that, it’s up to you.”