Class of 2022 Young Alumni Panelists. (L-R: Alphonse Sinlao, Gerome Pabilonia, Christopher Iori, Max Machado, Gianluca Viscoso, and Patrick Bowe)
On, January 4th 2023, six alumni from the Class of 2022 returned to Fordham Prep for the Young Alumni Panel to talk to students about their first semester of college.
The panel included Max Machado (Princeton), Patrick Bowe (NYU), Christopher Iori (Clemson), Gianluca Viscoso (Fordham), Alphonse Sinlao (CUNY School of Medicine - Sophie Davis), and Gerome Pabilonia (College of Mount Saint Vincent).
Moderated by College Counselor Erica Keough, alumni on the panel were asked a series of questions to give Prep seniors tips on how to decide from their list of college acceptances and survive their first few months of college.
Choosing the Right College
With the impressive amount of college acceptance letters received in December 2022, narrowing down options is top of mind for some Prep seniors. But how will they know that they’ve made the right choice come College Decision Day in May?
Making a list of non-negotiables might help students sort through their acceptances. Figuring out scholarship information, the type of environment they want to spend 4 years in (rural, urban, or suburban), intended major, and other factors can help weed out places that aren’t a good fit.
“The College of Mount Saint Vincent was one of my top choices,” said Pabilonia, who is studying Nursing with a minor in Philippine Studies. In addition to a full-ride scholarship, he ultimately decided to attend the college because it’s close to home and he felt a connection to the community of Filipino-American students.
“I feel like I fit in very well with everyone,” he noted, later adding that the unique Philippine Studies program helped him learn more about his heritage.
Fordham Prep’s STEM program and English classes help to prepare students for college academics, Viscoso and Pabilonia mentioned. The Prep also helped them figure out the best ways to manage their time.
“In college, you have a lot of free time— more than you can even think of,” said Sinlao, a Biomedical Science major at CUNY Sophie Davis. “I have a Google Calendar set up with all my classes. After I put all my classes in and the other things I have to do for the day, I set up study blocks. This helps decrease procrastination,” he added.
The panelists noted that being an adult in college comes with its perks, but only if you take your studies seriously. Iori, an Engineering major at Clemson, warns about the dangers of skipping class “just because.”
“I know people who skip weeks of class and are super behind and failing because of it,” he stated.
Iori also noted that it is easy to fall into productive procrastination, such as trying to clean up your dorm room when you have a paper due in a few hours.
As an only child, transitioning to college was exciting for Bowe, who dorms with five other students at NYU. However, separating social life from his studies isn’t always a choice he likes having to make.
“It’s very different not having time to yourself,” he said. While he likes hanging out in the lounge with other students in his building, having 8am classes doesn’t lend itself to staying up late.
“I really ruined my sleep schedule,” Bowe stated. “I would stay up late with them and not get any sleep.”
All work and no play isn’t a real college experience, though, so it is important to find opportunities to socialize and network.
“Try to find clubs that don’t interfere with your class schedule,” said Viscoso, who studies Political Science at Fordham. He joined the Pre-Law Society Club, which allows him to meet other students while preparing for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Viscoso also advises that students start their coursework early to have more time to enjoy campus life.
Machado, who studies Mechanical Engineering at Princeton, is taking advantage of niche clubs that aren’t available at every college.
“I joined an Electric Speedboating Club and a Solar Entrepreneurship Club,” he stated. “I also joined the Rugby Club, which is a ton of fun even though it’s just a club sport.”
Machado got a job in the Princeton University Makerspace as well, which is a great way to meet other students in STEM while earning extra cash.
When touring campuses, ask about special interest housing, which can place you in a dorm with other students that enjoy the same topics or are studying similar majors. For example, Iori mentioned that he lives in the Honors Student Living & Learning Community at Clemson, which has several benefits, including free coffee!
After the panel discussion, seniors had a meet-and-greet session with the panelists before going to their next class.
We wish our 2022 alumni a great spring semester!