Young Alumni Panel Drop Wisdom on Juniors and Seniors



Who better to give Williston juniors and seniors a taste of what college is really like than recent alumni home from school on winter break? On January 8, a dozen students from institutions near and far gathered at Williston Northampton School to confer wisdom on their peers.

Here’s a sampling of some advice:

Couper Gunn ’18

  • While at Williston: Founded Couper’s Quads, Capitan of boys varsity soccer team
  • At Colby-Sawyer College: Studying History, Political Science, Education, and Coaching

Advice: Do an overnight visit. I met with the soccer coach and because of a two hour conversation I had with him, I knew I wanted to play for him.

Did you interview? Think of reasons why this school should accept you. If you have trouble, write a list of your achievements and activities.

What I wish I did differently: I wish I took it more seriously. I was low key. There is a school for you somewhere. Put the effort in.

Natalie Romain ’18

  • While at Williston: Student Council
  • At Barnard College: American Studies major with a French minor

What I wish I did differently: I wish I toured more colleges. I had my heart set on one college and when I didn’t get in, I realized I never toured my safety schools.

Did you have interviews? I did an interview with an alum at a coffee shop. I overprepared. I wish I had taken the time to get to know the interviewer.

Catherine King ’19

  • While at Williston: Captain of girls varsity cross-country and track and field teams, Editor-in-Chief of The Log
  • At Lasell College: Fashion Merchandising and Management

Did you have interviews? I didn’t interview but I did participate in the mock interviews with College Counseling. It was helpful. It’s good to get experience interviewing, whether for a job or for an internship. Take advantage of that opportunity while you’re here.

Advice: Don’t set your heart on just one school. You need to have other options.

How was your experience with College Counseling? College Counseling was helpful for me. They know so much about all the schools. They helped me see the point to it all when I was stressed out. It felt like a lot of pressure, but they helped me see reality. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Enjoy your last two years of high school.

Ellie Wolfe ’19

  • While at Williston: Editor-in Chief of The Willistonian, Writing Tutor
  • At Bates College: Spanish major, Sociology minor

Advice: Whenever you travel to a town, if there’s a college there, take a tour, even if you’re not interested in that college. It will give you a better sense of what’s out there. Also, eat at the dining hall. You’ll get a sense of the student body.

Sophia Flores ’18

  • While at Williston: Played field hockey and lacrosse
  • At Syracuse University: Studies Political Science and Pre-Med

Essays: I wrote about how I flushed my phone down the toilet in the airport bathroom and spent 10 days in London without a phone. You want to write about something different, something that distinguishes you.

How was your experience with College Counseling? College Counseling was helpful and supportive. They have your back. They want to help you get into the schools you want to go to. Also, they’ll be realistic. They’ll steer you in the right direction.

Bryan Soder ’18

  • While at Williston: Captain of boys varsity cross-country and ski teams
  • At Lafayette College: Studies Psychology and Writing

How to handle college tours: Tours at every school are pretty similar. Ask specific questions of the tour guides.

Essays: I turned an unfortunate event—being very sick in my sophomore year—into something funny in my essay. Use your resources: English teachers are great. College Counselors are awesome. Also, revise.

Also attending were:

  • Bryan Bates ’16, Providence College
  • Natalie Aquadro ’17, Providence College
  • Jack Phelan ’18, Holy Cross
  • Sophie Carellas ’18, UConn
  • JJ Celentano ’16, Elon
  • Bina Sweet ’17, Umass Amherst
  • Ava McElhone Yates ’17, Vassar College