68 Percent of Seniors Dash Into Early College Application Submissions for the ‘Application Marathon’
Gabrielle Lim '23
3 January 2022
For this year’s seniors, Ms. Tara Torres designed a friendly competition to increase the number of college applications submitted early. The Application Marathon encouraged seniors to apply to colleges before winter break and participating students of the team with the highest percentage won $15 gift cards to Dunkin Donuts.
Being an avid runner, Director of Student Personnel Services Ms. Torres designed this year’s contest to reflect her passion and encourage seniors to apply to colleges prior to the 2021 winter break. The Application Marathon allowed seniors to enjoy their break and put out as many applications as they could with the help of PV’s guidance counselors: Ms. Jennifer Shue, Mr. Kristofer Kohler, Mr. William Pantale, Mrs. Diana Pasquariello, and Ms. Danielle Vigilante.
“I know, coming back from COVID, everybody's a little behind in the process and it’s tough to get back in gear being in school full-time," said Ms. Torres. "I knew the seniors were struggling a little with motivation.”
The question many seniors face is “What do I do after I graduate high school?” The Application Marathon was just one of many unique ways that PV's Guidance Department is able to assist seniors in preparing for their futures. The in-person counseling and incentive push increased this year’s participation percentage amongst the seniors to an impressive 68 percent.
“The senior experience is interesting for kids. They get nervous, they think it's a commitment to going to the schools, but we try to encourage them,” said Ms. Shue. To aid seniors in the college application process, counselors called down seniors in their group for one-on-one meetings to discuss transcripts, what colleges worked best for them, and how to go about the process.
The senior class was divided into caseloads amongst the five guidance counselors. Whichever caseload of seniors participated the most, received $15 Dunkin Donuts gift cards. Mrs. Pasquariello’s team had the highest team participation percentage at 79 percent. “They thought it was a great thing for them to do, because they know they have to apply anyway, so why not?” said Mrs. Pasquariello. “[Guidance counselors] love to help students apply to colleges, we don’t want anyone to be afraid of it.” Ms. Shue’s team had 73 percent participation, Mr. Pantale’s had 72 percent, Ms. Vigilante’s had 60 percent, and Mr. Kohler had 43 percent.
By assisting early on, the guidance counselors took what could be a long process and contracted it into a fun 26-day competition. “The application process can be a long and arduous process, the purpose was to generate some excitement and a purpose to start and finish their applications sooner rather than later,” said Mr. Pantale.
As the seniors conclude their high school experience and prepare for the future, this friendly competition brings fun into what can sometimes be an anxious process. Heightened participation in this year’s unique event has been a testimony to Passaic Valley’s culture and student enthusiasm. “[Passaic Valley students] are really active in so many ways and so many activities. So I think they have a lot on their plate and it does show, we’re here as a guidance staff to help support them [in trying] to get everything organized for their planning of their future,” said Ms. Vigilante. Now, the seniors continue the college application process and await the news from schools they applied to during the Application Marathon.