Finding the Right Fit: The College Counseling Office Hosts Panels about Women’s Colleges, LGBTQI+ Friendly Colleges, and HBCUs

         Throughout February and March, the College Counseling department hosted three panels on colleges for different affinity groups. As said by Mrs. Mishra, director of Hun’s College Counseling department, “[The College Counseling department] needs to be equipped to best serve our diverse student community and part of this process is to introduce them to the range of potentially “good fit” institutions we have in the United States.”

         Suggested by Mr. Murray, the panels had a “two-fold” purpose: “one, to highlight these institutions, their USP, their academic and social prowess and the populations they serve, and two, to introduce certain not-so-well-known institutions to the Hun student and parent community, thereby extending the repertoire of institutions which they might consider in the application process,” said Mrs. Mishra. Apart from admission officers, some Hun alumni and faculty were able to participate as well. 

         Let’s hear what students say about these panels!

Women’s Colleges Panel: Nia Oparaji ‘23

         The Women’s Colleges panel, hosted by Hun College Counseling on Thursday, March 4th, shed a lot of light on the benefits of a women’s college and cleared up some misconceptions about the women’s college experience. The panel invited Dean Dixon, from Smith College, Dean Lopez, from Barnard College, two Hun alums: Tasneem Ebrahim ‘16, who went to Barnard College, and Aly Walsh ‘11, who went to Bryn Mawr College, and two Hun faculty: Ms. Kennedy, who attended Bryn Mawr College, and Mrs. McNulty, who attended Douglas College at Rutgers University.

         A highlight from the panel was Dean Lopez’s description of  women’s college as “not the absence of men but the presence of women.” I think that oftentimes when we think about women’s spaces, we think about it through the lens of men, asking questions like “does the absence of men decrease the quality of that space” and “why is it necessary or important that there be no men in this space.” While these women’s colleges do not completely eliminate men from the equation, evident in their collaboration with co-ed schools, they emphasize  women and their perspective, education, leadership, and academic excellence. Rather than completely excluding men, they work to make more space at the table for women. The panel encouraged me to think about the potential benefits of being in an all women’s institution, and how competition can turn into cooperation.

 

LGBTQI+ Friendly College Panel: Daniel Brugger ‘22

         On February 11th, 2021, the College Counseling Department and the Gender and Sexuality Awareness club collaborated to host an admissions workshop called “The LGBTQI+ College Search.” The objectives of this event was to connect Hun students and families with higher education professionals and provide insights into the LGBTQI+ college experience.

         The workshop featured a panel with three admissions counselors from Emory University, University of Richmond, and Vanderbilt University, and Grey Simon’20 who currently attends Wesleyan University. The panelists talked about inclusivity within their college campuses, resources, and initiatives that exist to empower and protect LGBTQI+ students, inclusion in their universities’ curriculum, and more. The panelists’ welcoming attitude encouraged attendees to participate and engage in the workshop as a safe space to ask questions.

         One of the most interesting questions asked by an attendee to the student representative was “how has being a person in the LGBTQI+ community shaped your college experience and college search process?”

         For me, the big takeaway of the event was that there are resources available at Hun, online, and college admissions offices to help LGBTQI+ students navigate the college process. Although the Hun College Counseling Department has never hosted an LGBTQI+ centered event before, I hope that this event can encourage planning of similar events in the future and more resources for the LGBTQI+ students regarding the college process.

 

HBCU panel: Eilah Wahlin ‘21

         During our HBCU panel we talked about greek life, extracurricular activities, campus life, and traditions at the schools represented, which were Lincoln, Morgan state, Howard, and Spelman. We were joined by 3 amazing admission representatives and 2 Hun alums, Myles Bostic ’19 and Karen Douyon ’18. I really enjoyed hearing about the strong close-knit communities that always support each other at each of these schools. They specifically talked about homecoming week as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at an HBCU, filled with music, dancing, marching bands, step teams, and great food.

         One thing I admired the most was that everybody there spoke with immense pride about their schools. I learned that one of the biggest advantages of going to an HBCU is that you are offered a great range of mentorship and networking opportunities through the school and alumni. For example, people may see you outside of school with a Spelman hoodie on, approach you, and give you their contact information! I think the school-wide pride brings people together in order to help everybody succeed, which is beautiful. I really loved our panel and I would highly encourage anybody considering an HBCU to apply! Going to an HBCU is truly a unique and diverse experience, which we are all lucky to have.