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The Path to College

The Annual Junior Retreat


Photo Courtesy of Vine Butler/Maclay Andalusian

As the second semester begins, the Maclay junior class is starting to think seriously about the process of applying to colleges. To help ease some of the stress of the incoming college applications, on Wednesday, Jan. 24 all the juniors met in Langford Hall for the annual junior retreat, where college counselors Daron Gallina and Lauren Furman introduced three senior admissions staff members from George Washington University, Florida Southern College and Florida Institute of Technology. 


“It's the opportunity for you all [the juniors] to understand a little bit more, the things that colleges and universities are going to look for in the admissions process so that you have an understanding as you seek into this yourself and pick colleges,” Service Art Director and Recruitment Outreach at Florida Southern College  Joseph Madigan said. “Understanding what they’re looking for and the things that colleges are going to review as part of the application.”


To begin, the juniors were asked to volunteer for an interactive activity. Eight volunteers came up to the stage in Langford Hall and were given a card with a GPA on the front and hypothetical information about the student on the back. Junior John Fletcher Butler then read off hypothetical scenarios, and the students would shift places in line depending on the information on their cards.


“I’m not going to lie, when I came into it I was like, this is going to be dumb, just four hours of my time,” junior Giada Price said. “But actually I ended up learning a lot. It's hard to admit that, but it was actually really helpful.”


Following the GPA activity, the students were split into three groups for the next activity. While in their groups, the juniors were given three mock applications from hypothetical students. In these groups, the students had to review each application with the intention of accepting one person, denying one person and waitlisting one person. They worked with the senior admissions staff members to make a decision on which applicant they wanted to accept, deny and waitlist.


“You have the opportunity to learn from experts that have seen a lot of applications,” Madigan said. “When we get through the case studies today, [the most important thing for a junior to take out of the retreat is] the understanding of what's inside the application before applying, how to really set yourself apart from other applicants and how to show yourself off in the application. Having this and being here at Maclay, I think that's very unique in the fact that you have support that's going to guide you in your next steps in college.”


Once all the decisions were made, the students met back in Langford Hall to present and discuss the reasoning behind their decisions on each applicant. At the end of this exercise, juniors were able to ask the senior admissions staff members any questions they had about the college application process. The day ended with a group photo outside of Langford Hall.

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Andy Poll

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