Finishing high school is an emotional time when you prepare for college. You’re saying goodbye to a group of people and sense of familiarity you’ve grown up with for years while also starting a whole new life in an environment unfamiliar to you. There are many reasons why a student, most likely leaving home usually for the first time, may get anxious about being in a new place.
To ensure that the goodbye is done in a way that students will remember, SUNY in collaboration with the College Bound Initiative (CBI) hosted the first “First Annual SUNY Senior Send-Off” at the end of the summer. The purpose of this event was to get groups of students going to the same SUNY campus the chance to discuss majors, programs, campus resources and any other challenges/goals they have about going away to college.
These students benefit from this event because it encourages the importance of a community, reiterates the value of a SUNY education, and more importantly, celebrates their pursuit of a higher education at a SUNY institution.
Many SUNY campuses were represented, such as Buffalo State College, University at Albany, Old Westbury, and Oswego, who all had high numbers of students in attendance. Meylin Andares, Director of Enrollment Management & Student Success in SUNY’s New York City location, was a key player in making this event an overwhelming success. Part of her job at SUNY is to not to only enroll students but to make sure they are successful when they arrive at a campus.
“Events like these are great ways to get the word out and spread the SUNY message,” Andares said. “For students in NYC, it can be harder to get them excited about the option of SUNY when they have neighboring schools in their backyard in CUNY. They have grown up hearing CUNY and now there is this larger than life system available to them. One of the goals of the NYC office is to promote SUNY throughout the city.”
She also noted, “This was the first time we did this type of event! I had SUNY admissions counselors attend and we had a student panel, ice breakers, and open discussion about fears they had about going away to college.”
This Senior Send Off event will continue into the future, providing more students with a warm welcome and preparation to their new adventures in college. Thank you to Meylin, the SUNY staff, and the high school students and their families for coming out and participating in this year’s great event. We can’t wait to see all the great things our new students accomplish in the future!
Sarah Petrak is a student assistant with the Office of Communications and New Media for SUNY System Administration. She is a studying Public Policy at the University at Albany.