BSM Juniors gather in the library for a seminar on writing college essays, and the college application process. (Alice Petty)
BSM Juniors gather in the library for a seminar on writing college essays, and the college application process.

Alice Petty

Students react to Building Your Future Day

Build your future day is a required event for juniors in order to get students acquainted with the college application process.

April 25, 2019

A Junior’s Perspective

Every year, the guidance counselors sponsor the “Building your Future Day” for all juniors. The day centers around helping students prepare for the college search process, and their future careers. The day takes the place of all regular classes and features three different stations, all of which are designed to help juniors deal with the stress that comes with these decisions. Opinions on whether or not this day is helpful are varied, but I personally thought it was a helpful experience. 

Going into the day, I wasn’t sure of what to expect from the presentations. Past juniors shared mixed experiences with me. I didn’t know whether I would be bored out of mind or intrigued about the future ahead of me. I tried my best to keep my mind open and keep an unbiased opinion.  

The day was divided into three topics: preparing for college essays, applying to colleges using the common application, and deciding which college and future careers are best. All three topics are important parts that all students will have to deal with in the upcoming year. 

We were placed in groups based on last names, so my group started the day preparing for college essays, and adding extracurricular activities to your application. Representatives from St. Olaf College spoke about strategies on writing a quality college essay, and what activities to put on your application. They showed everyone good and bad examples, and everyone was asked to create their own as well. I think this was a successful part of the day, to know what activities to include and how to format them. The essay portion was also insightful, as it helped me to learn tips of how to get the perfect one. 

The second station of the day covered the most important part of college applications, the Common App. Part of the portfolio, which is due at the start of April, includes filling out part of the application, so it was important to discuss it during the day. The counselors helped us to get a start on the applications, and figure out what was important to include. This was probably the most helpful part of the day, since I had no idea what the Common App included or required. It also helps that we are pushed to get a start on the application now, instead of leaving it as an added stressor for senior year. 

The last part of the day was a lecture on choosing the right college and future occupation. A representative from the University of Minnesota used a creative metaphor to describe the college selection process. This didn’t seem as helpful as the other parts of the day, as I had already known about the factors regarding this decision. The final part of this section included speakers from St. Benedict talking about ideas for future occupations. By this time of the day, everyone seemed to be tired and zoning out, so this wasn’t very helpful. 

Overall, I thought “Building your Future Day” was very beneficial, despite its length. While the presentations were long and at times, boring, the information that they contained was extremely helpful. I think to make the day less boring, they could split the day up into more stations and make them more interactive. Overall, I feel more prepared and ready to take on the college application process and what it brings. 

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A Senior’s Perspective

 “Building your Future Day” is something that all juniors at BSM participate in every year. On this day, students go around to different stations and start to prepare for the college application process. They are also given a packet with assignments, like getting teacher recommendations, that need to be completed for a pass/fail grade.

During the second semester of my junior year, “Building Your Future Day” and the work to do after it were not things that I wanted to do. However, reflecting back on during my senior year after the college application process, I realize that “Building Your Future Day” was actually very helpful.

Although I do think that this day is important, I don’t think that all of the assignments were necessary. For example, I had to create a résumé that I never ended up using for any of the colleges I applied to.

However, there were many parts of the packet that I found to be very beneficial. For example, I got the opportunity to do a job shadow at an environmental engineering firm, which was something I most likely would not have done if I didn’t have to. I think it is important to get teacher recommendations as early as possible, so getting them taken care of during junior year will help relieve stress for teachers and students next year when they are busy applying to schools.

However, reflecting back on during my senior year after the college application process, I realize that ‘Building Your Future Day’ was actually very helpful.

— Aiden Luebke

I think learning about how to write college essays during this day was very helpful for applications. I wasn’t exactly sure what I needed to do for the essays, but the college reps who spoke to us gave me some ideas on topics to write about. One of my biggest regrets during the college application process was not starting any essays over the summer before senior year.

Getting a jump start on the Common App was also a huge help. I definitely wouldn’t have started it before senior year if I wasn’t required to, so in hindsight I am thankful for that. Filling in the information wasn’t difficult, but it was time consuming.

Overall, I think that “Building your Future Day” is very useful despite how annoying it is. I had to start many different parts of the college application process, and I wouldn’t have taken initiative on my own. In the long run, whether they realize it or not, students benefit from “Building your Future Day.”

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