Coalition Day helps students prepare for college

Megan Krenek

Coalition Day allows students to meet with different schools and look at options while learning how to make the best choice about which college fits their specific needs. Bryan High hosted its first Coalition Day this year and partnered with Altice to bring in colleges from across America.

A panel of representatives answered questions in a community forum setting and then hosted tables in the commons to talk one-on-one with students about their specific campus.

“Coalition Day allowed students the opportunity to see some out-of-state colleges that they might not otherwise be exposed to,” lead counselor Justin Estes said. “The entire event wasn’t just about learning about a specific college, but instead it was more about explaining the application process and leading up to how to apply and find the right school.”

Representatives from across the United States talked with students about setting goals, researching schools, and making a plan for their secondary education.

“We encourage students to start planning for college as early as possible,” Michigan State representative BJ Selfridge said. “The earlier students start, the less stressful senior year will be and the more educated their choice will be when they ultimately decide to go to school.”

Texas A&M representative Marcus Cooper attended Coalition Day to reach out to students who may sometimes overlook A&M because many view it too close to home.

“It’s important that students continue their college education beyond high school,” Texas A&M representative Marcus Cooper said. “That’s why I’m here. I want to provide as much information to the students of Bryan High as possible to help them achieve a quality education. I want to be a part of the outreach to all students.”

Private colleges can create financial hurdles that are initially intimidating to students. Coalition Day allowed some of those institutions to speak to students to help them understand their options and the help they can find financially.

“Affordability, success, and accessibility are all three pillars of an institution,” Trinity University representative Gayle Roberson said. “We want to make sure our institution is accessible and an option, but if it’s not a good fit for the student, then I want to be a resource for other options.”

Having an opportunity to speak to kids one-on-one and answer questions in a less formal setting empowers students to research their options and learn what will work best for them. Representatives from the colleges present at the event all talked about the privilege of being in attendance and communicating with students to help them make a decision about their future after high school.

“Rice is a proud school with a lot of Texan students,” Rice representative Jesse Tomczak said. “As representatives, we get to sit on panels and answer questions that make students nervous and stressed about the college process. I like to come talk to students and explain that as long as they have the right information, they should be okay.”

Working with students and colleges to make sure they have time to spend together on secondary education is important to the staff at Bryan High and Estes believes things like Coalition Day are a great step in connecting the two.

“The nicest thing about the event was that it was during the school day,” Estes said. “When we host College Night, a lot of times we have a hard time getting great attendance, so it was great to do during the school day when our students didn’t have other obligations.”

Students agreed that the event was beneficial, and hope that it grows next year and that more colleges and more students are able to attend.

“The colleges told us what was required for each institution along with explaining what activities they offered,” junior Mackenzie Luna said. “I think it was a great opportunity for students to gain exposure to schools and I hope they do it again next year with even more colleges in attendance.”