St. Joseph Academy’s (SJA) College and School Counseling Department hosted its College Panel Night on Sept. 28. Dean of College Guidance Michael Sherlock, SJA President and Head of School Stephen Cappuccio and school counselor/registrar Cathleen Sanders were joined by representatives of six universities to inform parents and students on educational opportunities. These schools included Bowie State University, Mount St. Mary’s University, King’s College, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Scranton University and Stockton University.
Sherlock began the proceedings by expressing how grateful he and SJA are to work with so many distinguished schools.
“We are very fortunate right now in our office, in the College and School Counseling Department right now with regards to what’s happening with our college partnership program,” Sherlock said. “Several schools that we have here tonight are schools that we’re partnering with from an admissions standpoint, so there are some great opportunities out there for kids with these partnerships.”
Expanding opportunities for SJA’s student body was the theme of the night, as many of the university representatives detailed the flexibility of today’s admissions. Whereas a high grade point average (GPA) and test scores were once the end all be all, there’s now more consideration placed on the person and less on the numbers.
Maura Frischmann from Bowie State University explained why these changes are so important.
“We only require a 2.5 GPA and the high school transcript, that’s it. It’s all about removing barriers, making it a much smoother and easier process for the student,” Frischmann said.
After each school introduced themselves, Sherlock opened up the Q&A panel so parents and students could get answers to their burning questions. Some focused on specific financial details, others had to do with available programs, and each answer came with useful insights from each school. One point of contention for many students is the importance of extracurriculars when it comes to college admissions, and Maria Ramos of Scranton University shined some light on the topic.
“It’s okay if you’re not the president of every single club in your high school. Club experiences aren’t 100 percent what your application is riding on,” Ramos said. “But if you’re consistent, if you’re passionate, and if you show that to us, I think that’s significant.”
That passion is something Sherlock stressed to those in attendance, as it’s ultimately up to students whether they succeed. No matter where a student wants to go, the only way they’ll be able to reach those goals is if they put in the work now. This message carried clearly through the SJA Media Center.
A college’s environment is another bit of essential information that the panel covered, with each school offering a wide range of experiences. While Stockton University is well-known among Hammonton residents and many who attend SJA, the others were more than a stone’s throw from town. Mount St. Mary’s Josh Karlheim explained how, although students may be far from home, they’re never far from a fun and welcoming environment.
“We are very intentional about bringing stuff to campus on the weekends, given that we are a rural location. We have comedians, concerts, all kinds of stuff. So there’s lots of ways to get involved and stay active while you’re on campus,” Karlheim said.
Sherlock concluded the Q&A by thanking parents and students for coming out, and relayed that there will be another College Panel Night in the spring. He emphasized one last time how important this information is for those looking to further their education, and how invaluable it is to know what opportunities are out there.