The Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute, known for its scholarship endowment and cultural programming, delved into increasing the college attainment pipeline by hosting a College Prep Workshop for high school students and their families. The event was a resounding success, with the room being filled to capacity with families motivated to learn about the college application process.
"When I heard about the College Prep Workshop from another high tech high school parent, I signed us up," said Joseph Fung, one of the parents at the workshop who brought his daughter and her friend.
The program began with a presentation that was delivered by Mr. Carroll Alston, Associate Director of Enrollment & Counseling of Seton Hall's Educational Opportunity Program (EOP). Fung spoke on Director Alston's session, stating, "I have to note that every single item on the schedule was worthwhile, starting with the FAFSA/HESSA session led by a spirited Mr. Alston."
Director Alston discussed ways on how to maximize financial aid from the FAFSA and take advantage of Seton Hall's scholarship opportunities. During the course of his presentation, he broke down the complexities of the financial aid process and gave tips for families to meet the costs of college without bearing too much of the burden. Fung remarked, "Every high-schooler should have a Mr. Alston. He was full of pragmatic and useful tips and is a great advocate."
Next came an essay writing workshop delivered by a Seton Hall and Unanue scholar alumna, Professor Naomi Shuyama, currently a master's degree candidate in English with a concentration in creative writing. Professor Shuyama illustrated how to construct a narrative that is personal to a student and shows their unique passions to admissions officers. What was also distinctive about Professor Shuyama's talk was her use of actual essay prompts from upcoming 2019 college applications. She presented prompts from Cornell University and Seton Hall's own common application to better prepare students for the writing process. Fung highlighted the importance of Professor Shuyama's presentation, expressing, "I found her session packed with tips and was grateful that she could share them. Aside from the essay topic, communications is a core skill that can make or break careers regardless of occupation."
Following lunch was a panel where current students spoke on their experiences at Seton Hall and what it was like to apply for college. The five student panelists represented different student organizations including Adelante, Student Government Association, Allies, and many more notable clubs on campus. Many of the panelists also serve as executive leaders of those organizations and discussed their experiences on commuting, residence life, and finding a community on campus that they identify with.
One such student, Chelsea Dantas, a senior biology major and Unanue Scholar, stressed the importance of belonging to a group that fosters a person's academic, mental, and spiritual growth. "I'm an SGA senator and also run their PR committee," Dantas said. "I'm in Adelante, and have been in Adelante since my freshman year, so I feel like that really molded me to be who I am today."
This was the last part of the workshop which was well received as Fung expressed, "We ended the workshop with the Student College Experience Panel, which was enlightening and proved valuable in providing high-schoolers with a glimpse of college life." He continued his praise, stating, "It was particularly interesting listening to the challenges and growth experiences of the smart students on the panel. Many panels can feel boring or rote, but this was not the case with these passionate students and role models."
The Institute would like to thank all supporters and volunteers who contributed to the event, especially the event's leading co-sponsor, Adelante. We look forward to continuing to provide opportunities that assist first-generation students in reaching their collegiate dreams, living up to the vision of Joseph A. Unanue and the mission of Seton Hall to develop student leaders.
For information on future events, scholarships, and all that is #JAULI, stop by the Institute's office located in Fahy Room 246. Don't forget to follow the Institute Twitter and Instagram @JAULISHU to stay up to date with their latest news and events.