Mountain View Student Flies to New York to Get to Know Union College
Tejal Kanabar is a high school senior who in one day, first plans to take the SAT, the standardized test for college admissions, and then fly to New York for the “Get to Know Union Weekend” scheduled for Saturday October 6th through Monday, October 8th, 2012. The college flies selected students to campus based on the recommendations of counselors.
In Kanabar’s case, Elizabeth Paulus, director of College Bound Mesa, visited Union College and then recommended her for the school. Paulus designed College Bound Mesa to prepare students to graduate from high school in order to graduate from college. She meets students and their families starting in seventh grade to encourage them to stay in school and graduate. Monthly meetings on Saturdays are further encouragement for college preparation and working with a mentor, a professional from the community who takes an interest in the student before college and during college. Paulus has students she visits at both Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University, with plans for Union College in the future.
“We received over 130 applications for the program, so it ended up being a relatively selective program,” comments Aaron Ray, Union Class of 2010, who is now both Assistant Dean of Admissions and Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment for the school located in Schenectady, NY. “Students who were selected have something to be proud of.”
With over 130 applicants only 62 students were chosen and they represent 13 states. Due to limited space, the college committee sought qualified students with a genuine interest in Union. This started for Kanabar by completing an online application and sending a high school transcript. She wants a degree in Psychology and in Law, both offered at Union. Recently she was accepted into the Law Mentorship Program at Arizona State University.
High school counselors across the country were sent a list of academic criteria for Union College. The most successful applicants have a B+ average or above in coursework and may be ranked in the top 20% of their graduating class. They are taking rigorous courses through Honors, Advanced Placement (AP), and the International Baccalaureate (IB). The top students are involved with extracurricular activities such as, clubs, community service, organizations, sports or employment. Finally, they have a genuine interest in learning more about the academic and community experience at Union College.
“Get to Know Union Weekend” provides high school seniors from diverse cultural backgrounds with lodging, food, and a weekend of events. Students residing outside of the Northeast are provided with air fare, while those from Boston and New York City are driven to Schenectady. They all gather for the two night three day program that concludes with a Columbus Day Open House.
These prospective students receive an introduction to the academic and student life at Union College. First, they will be attending the Union Men’s Hockey Season Opener which is Division I and ranked fifth in the nation. The next day they will tour campus, eat in the dining halls, attend a student panel. An important aspect is in taking part in “All around the U,” where they learn about the college admissions process, writing effective college essays, being impressive in college interviews, obtaining financial aid and scholarships, and participating in the multicultural affairs. Union Faculty and Administrators have dinner with the prospective students who are encouraged to ask questions of them. The evening event includes a game of bowling for students. On Monday morning they will attend the Columbus Day Open House that includes local high school students and their parents as participants.
Students have choices of hearing, “The Union Approach to Academics,” attending classes, financial aid presentation, pre-law or pre-medical advising. Union prepares students for medical school through an eight year Leadership in Medicine Program. Students can learn about global education through Terms Abroad from Australia, Ireland, Cambodia, to Mexico. Student can intern with The Global Child School. Six out of ten students have an international experience. The Political Science Department arranges for studying in Washington, D.C.
More than 60% of all Union students receive financial assistance and more than $32 million in scholarships are awarded from Union yearly. Merit awards average $10,000 and need-based scholarships average $29,000. The average SAT score for enrolled students at Union is 1940 from 640/660/640 for critical reading, mathematics, and writing.
Specific disciplines will have sessions and tours, beginning with Arts, Humanities, Social Science, Science, Engineering, and ending with Computer Science and related disciplines. Career Outcomes and Success can be explored since Union has a history of leaders in arts, media, entertainment, engineering, science, medicine, law and politics. Their illustrious alumni include an Olympic Gold medalist, Nobel Prize winners, seven Cabinet secretaries, a secretary of state, 13 governors, 90 college presidents, 200 judges, and the 21st president of the United States.
Union President Stephen C. Ainlay will address the group. He established The Presidential Forum on Diversity that brings notable speakers such as poet Maya Angelou, journalist Soledad O’Brien, faith leader Eboo Patel, and activist Morris Dees. He is in stride with the first president of Union, Eliphalet Nott, who purchased the freedom of Moses Viney, a runaway slave who had reached Schenectady by way of the Underground Railroad, resulting in the two men becoming lifelong friends. One focus at Union is to connect ideas across disciplines and form enriching connections with people and communities.
Union College was founded in 1795 as the first planned campus in the United States. It is built in downtown Schenectady on 100 acres with a woodland, formal garden, and an organic farm that gives produce to the inner city mission. It is conveniently located near New York City, Boston, and Montreal. Considered one of the nation’s top colleges, Union is recognized as being a small, independent, and highly selective liberal arts, engineering, and science college.
After a full day of Columbus Day Open House at Union College, Teal Khanabad will fly from New York to Arizona, and be ready for her classes at Mountain View on Tuesday. She will likely ponder the pros and cons of attending Union after high school. Spending the weekend there, meeting professors, and interacting with students will help her in making the decision. If she does go, she will be there to host students coming for the Columbus Day weekend. Some may be from Mesa if Liz Paulus has anything to do with recommending them.