Lani Mohan '12 (Hampshire College)Hi!
I graduated in 2012 and have been attending Hampshire College since that fall.
One of the biggest problems within American education is High Schools inadequately preparing students for college. I can say with certainty that this is not the case with Montgomery, and most importantly, we are taught writing skills so important in the college environment. I go to a very writing intensive school and can say with certainty that I was one of the few students who was adequately prepared.
The incredible guidance department made a huge difference in my high school experience. I'm someone with medical and disability issues that interfere with my academics. I received an incredible amount of understanding and support from all members of the department, not just those who specialize in dealing with that. I was given great advice not just for navigating high school, but for college as well. Already having a packet of information to provide my school with about my disabilities and their impact on my academics was awesome and really streamlined that part of the process.
As far as insight to offer to current students, I would recommend taking advantage of the huge breadth of college information that exists instead of basing choices on word-of-mouth information. In addition, it is important to keep in mind that competitiveness is only relevant to a very small portion of real world jobs. While striving to do your best is never a bad thing, preoccupation with how you are doing compared to others is rarely helpful or even at all relevant. The academically competitive environment such as the one I experienced at Montgomery may lead one to believe that reputation and competition are a lot more important than they truly are. Many schools with high acceptance rates are great, and difficult, schools, and many schools with low acceptance rates are incredibly easy once one is there.
Most importantly I would like people to remember that if they're hating high school, as I did, it does end. There is a world of people outside of Montgomery- which is not an entirely bad population by any means, but is an incredibly limited scope. There are billions of people and infinite possibilities- there are people and experiences out there that are the right thing for you.
While I have friends whose High School experiences I envy, there are a whole lot more who I'm glad to have experienced better than.Thanks,