The high-school class 2023 has just embarked on its last secondary-school academic year, and likewise, the class of 2024 has begun steps toward a more distant but just as compelling milestone. As senior and junior students across the region seek to solidify their what-next academic plans, Gwynedd Mercy University Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Aimee Huffstetler offers college-search advice.
Huffstetler’s expertise comes from a decade of experience in admissions offices, most recently with GMercyU.
Identify What’s Important
“First things first,” she advised. “Think about what is important to you.
“For example, is financial aid most important? Is getting involved on campus important? Is it conducting research or having access to a tutor?
“Ask yourself these questions and make note of your answers.
“When you choose what colleges you want to visit, these questions will be in your back pocket, ready for answers.”
Categorize the Priorities
Huffstetler next recommended step in the enrollment process is to categorize the items identified as important.
“Determine the things you absolutely can’t live without, the things you’re neutral on, and the things you definitely don’t want from your future school,” she said. “Color-code your priorities is beneficial if you are a visual person.”
Once that list is complete, Huffstetler explained that it’s time to reflect and review.
“If a school has proven to contain more than one of your must-haves and/or neutral things, then it’s time to set up a visit to see how the campus feels and if you might want to apply.
“If you notice that more of what you don’t want from a school is checked off, then it might not be the right fit for you. If you’ve decided a school isn’t the right fit, you may want to opt out of their communications.
“Find ways to narrow your list to make sure you don’t get too overwhelmed; you can always come back around,” she reminded.
Schedule Those Visits
Armed with this introspection in place, it’s time for the college-bound high schooler to identify schools to visit. It’s a juncture in the process that Huffstetler said is ripe for discussion.
“To help refine your search further,” she stated, “ask as many questions as you need. There are no dumb ones. Asking questions will help you feel more comfortable and informed about your college decision.”
Answering them is one of Huffstetler’s responsibilities during fall and spring visitation season. It’s an exercise she looks forward to each year, welcoming potential students to the Gwynedd Valley campus as they audition sites for the next step in their educational journeys.
“My team of admissions counselors and I will be there to answer all questions and show you what it’s like to be a Griffin,” she concluded.
More information on enrollment at Gwynedd Mercy University is online.