College visits demonstrate applied interest, neglects students without free periods


Abby Nevin ’23

Students with free periods are able to attend college information sessions, which is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate interest in a school. *Graphic is adapted for article usage, Naviance is not displayed on the Saturn app.

At most American high schools as rigorous and competitive as Staples, college preparation is a strenuous process. In order to perfect the application, many Staples students struggle; they work to maintain straight As in five AP courses, stay up until 3 a.m. for the sake of a perfect ACT score, join every club imaginable and arguably one of the most time-consuming parts, demonstrate applied interest to colleges.

Whether applied interest is in the form of college visits or obsessively refreshing a university’s homepage, this new aspect of the application process has become more important than ever. Naviance recently came out with a schedule that allows Staples students to attend college representative visits in the College and Career Center or via Zoom. Although this provides the perfect opportunity to exhibit interest in a school, it is not adequately accessible to all interested upperclassmen.

I, like a minority of juniors and seniors, do not have a free period. While choosing my schedule during a COVID and watered-down version of sophomore year, I did not see merit in designating another 50 minutes of my school day for homework. I viewed choosing to have a free period as a missed opportunity to participate in an additional elective course that interested me. Little did I know, this simple decision would prevent me from attending meetings with college representatives and potentially discovering a school to which  I would want to apply .

In no way am I suggesting that students should skip important classes or use said visits as an excuse for delaying a testñ I’m simply observing that I was not made aware of the fact that a free period was more valuable as an upperclassman. Aside from the extra time to do homework, free periods are vital to attending these college meetings. Had I known that I could have attended information sessions during school hours, maybe my sophomore self would have omitted an extra elective from my current schedule.

That being said, for those who are able to attend, these information session meetings prove valuable. Not only do they provide prospective students with important knowledge about the school, but they also give a slight advantage in the application process. Especially with some colleges shutting down campuses for tours due to COVID concerns, virtual information sessions are becoming increasingly valuable.

Due to the fact that it is unreasonable for me to miss class every time I want to attend an information session, I believe that the administration should find an alternate solution. All students, whether they have a free period during a meeting that they would like to attend or not, should be able to receive a video recording of the session at the very minimum. Although students who watch a recording do not get the “credit” for showing interest, information sessions are one of the most helpful tools for navigating colleges’ specific qualities. No student should be penalized in their college search for taking an extra class instead of a free period.  College visits demonstrate applied interest, neglects students without free periods