Top Colleges Come to Antilles School for Info Session

Sept. 12, 2008 — High school students and their families from public, private, and parochial schools on St. Thomas flocked to Antilles School Thursday night to attend the Exploring College Options presentation by representatives of some of the nation's top universities.
Introductions to Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Pennsylvania were combined with facts on need-based financial aid and emphasis on undergraduate and liberal arts education.
“The program started in some form or fashion over 15 years ago — with that it was the deans traveling together for one or two trips a year," said Kathy Phillips, the representative from Duke, “It's probably been about five years that we've been coming to the Virgin Islands.”
The evening, which was facilitated by Antilles College Counselor Chris Teare, started with the representatives each giving a short presentation of their school, followed by general questions and then an opportunity for the students to ask school-specific questions once the admissions officers split up. This also gave students face time with the person who may eventually be deciding for or against their acceptance.
“I think sometimes students are a little intimidated when they hear our acceptance rates. They wonder 'why are you here? You have plenty of applicants.'" Phillips said, “We want to be sure that there are talented students everywhere.”
With Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Penn, and Stanford's acceptance rates being 20 percent, 18 percent, 7 percent, 16 percent, and 9 percent respectively, there is an intimidation factor.
“It's really all about educating people,” added James Colman, the representative from Georgetown, “saying hey, here are some examples of some really neat colleges, and go out and learn a bit about some other ones, because there are a lot of great colleges.”
In terms of the admissions process, the representatives noted transcripts, standardized testing scores, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular activities as key factors in applicant evaluation. Where students come from can factor in if it suggests a different worldview that can be shared with other prospective members of a university's freshman class.
“The thing with you guys from the Virgin Islands, it's a diverse place, you have a variety of people and backgrounds,” said Colman. “The folks from the Virgin Islands bring a different spice.”
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