The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

Class of 2023 offers college transition advice

Ella Koenig prepares to move into their freshman dorm at Loyola Marymount University. (Photo permission granted by Ella Koenig)

As the high school journey comes to an end, many students embark on a new adventure: college life. However, the transition from the familiar hallways of RM to a new college campus can be equal parts daunting and thrilling. The Tide talked to the RM 2023 graduates about their advice on all things college.

Deciding which college to attend and apply to is a significant decision that is by no means easy. Samantha Wu, a freshman at Harvard University, encourages high school students to find schools that align with their values and goals. 

“Just kind of take a step back, take a deep breath and find the school that’s best for you. Only apply to places that you really want to go to, not just like, fill up a list,” she said. 

Wu was highly involved in extracurriculars during high school, including the math team, debate and DECA. While she was applying for colleges, she was undecided on what she wanted to do, so she chose math or philosophy for her intended majors depending on the school.

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“I kind of just picked and chose what I wanted to write about at the moment, because most of it isn’t binding,” she said. 

Wu says that college is a resource for students to help them study what they want. 

“Something that people always say is college is what you make of it, as is any institution, any opportunity,” Wu said. 

Anna Lee, a freshman at University of Maryland College Park, agrees with Wu. 

“College is what you can make out of it,” she said. 

Right now she is pursuing  a double major in Information Systems and Music Performance. Initially, however, she applied for a marketing major. Lee has some advice based on her experience with changing majors.

“Transferring eventually, it can be kind of annoying,” she said. “When you’re applying to colleges, make sure you pick your major, give it a lot of thought, because at the end of the day, it’s what you study at the school that matters.” 

Lee makes the point that the reputation of the school should not determine where you apply. 

“You would go to a really fancy school, but like, if you don’t know what you’re studying there, then it’s like, what’s the point?” she said. 

Of course, passion and hobbies are not the only determining factor while choosing a college. Various considerations such as the campus’s community and location, the opportunities available, and the tuition also play a big part when a student selects where they want to go. 

Ella Koenig, currently studying film and television production with a potential minor in technical theater at Loyola Marymount University, describes how they ended up going to LMU. Initially, LMU was not in Koenig’s radar at all when they applied. 

RM’s seniors can benefit from talking to their friends who are currently in college about advice on the transition process. (Jasmine Chen)

“On the tour, I think I kind of just fell in love with the place, which is a cheesy thing to say,” Koenig said. 

In the end, for Koenig, it came down to New York University and LMU. 

“And for me, it was kind of a no-brainer to go to LMU for many reasons,” they said. Scholarships as well as the location in Los Angeles were the two big reasons that led Koenig to choose LMU. 

Wu also says scholarships played a role in her decision. 

“For me, at least, there’s consideration of money and scholarships. So word of advice, definitely apply to scholarships really early in your senior year,” she said. 

However, the campus’s community played an equally big role. 

“And I think after like going to events and meeting other students, I was really excited to go here, because I felt like it was a very diverse, collaborative, interesting, every single person there had a unique story,” Wu said. 

For college freshmen, Koenig emphasized the importance of putting oneself out there in the first weeks, understanding that the initial loneliness will eventually give way to finding like-minded individuals. 

“As long as you’re making the most of your experience, you will get the most out of it,” they said. 

Wu agrees, and also points out that everyone is coming from different backgrounds. “You’ll find your people,” she said. 

The way to put oneself out there is by joining clubs. 

“This is the same thing for high school, but just like, join every club that you think that you might want to and then you can always drop things,” Wu said. 

RM alumni not only share advice for newly adapting college freshmen, but also for students right now at RM. Especially for students pursuing the arts, Koenig says that college is not entirely dependent on grades or clubs. Instead Koenig demonstrated she had something to offer to college by her passion for arts. 

“I would invite a bunch of my friends over to hang out in my basement, and we would have a little photo shoot. Like, we would set up some fun little LED lights, and we would have a photo shoot,” she said. 

Additionally, Lee tells RM students, especially juniors and seniors, to not procrastinate. “I feel like that’s something that everybody says but like, really don’t procrastinate your college apps,” she said.

One more aspect of the transition RM alumni talk about is the general comparison between high school and college life. 

Lee mentions how often in college, attendance isn’t even mandatory.  There is a lot less hand holding as compared to high school. 

“In college, you’re really out by yourself,” Lee said. 

“You’ll find your people.”

— Samantha Wu

Wu agrees with this sentiment. 

“You really build your own schedule,” she said. Nobody is stopping students from skipping classes, and so it is on the students on how much they are making out of college. 

Not only is there greater freedom, there are many more resources and opportunities in college. Koenig expresses how everything is on a much bigger scale in college. When she was on her first MFA grad film, an advanced graduate-level program that focuses on developing and showcasing students’ skill and knowledge in filmmaking, they had 45 people on crew and an entire set built on the Soundstage. 

“And just like watching the scale of things was so overwhelming in a positive way,” she said.

Overall, RM alumni agree RM does a good job preparing students. 

For Wu, the different club opportunities in RM helped her develop her skills regarding working with people, time management, and qualities that help candidates overall. 

“I think [RM] prepared me really well, for both the rigor of the classes… and the student body itself, where I feel like I was really surrounded by teachers and students who were passionate and motivated about learning and wanting to be there,” she said. 

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About the Contributor
Samriddhi Agarwal
Samriddhi Agrawal is a sophomore at Richard Montgomery High School. She is super excited for her first year with The Tide as a Feautures writer! When she's not busy writing for the Tide, you can find her most likely hanging out with friends or swaddled in blankets with a book in hand. She loves learning and teaching, and has a knack at always choosing the unpopular opinion, such as how pineapples on pizza is in fact the best topping.