Alumni Advice from College

Compiled by Sophie Hansen and River Chen for Silver Quest

What are some differences between high school and college?

Ashley Thomanna '22 (Penn State): “In college, you have so much more control over your schedule. The independence to choose how to spend your time is awesome. You can schedule your classes and activities in a way that fits your lifestyle, which definitely was not the case in high school.”

Clark Zhang '21 (Vanderbilt): "In many ways, high school and college are very similar, especially coming from Blair. Academically, Blair magnet is one of the most rigorous and intensive education programs in the state, if not the country. There is no shortage of work at Blair or at college, between juggling due dates for various classes and studying for midterms. Even as an engineering major, there were times when Blair workload seemed greater.  But that is where the similarities end. Your time at college is completely dictated by you. Every day is up to your discretion. You decide when you do work, which extracurriculars to join, when to hang out with friends. You even decide what and when your classes are. There are dozens of choices to make and there is no right answer. "

Do you have any advice for college applications?

Ryan He '22 (U.Penn): "Don't be afraid to be weird. People reading the application will appreciate your individuality and expression. Write thoughts and opinions you wouldn't write in your English classes."

Angela Tu '22 (Univ. of Texas, Austin): “I’m not sure if this counts as college apps advice, but I don’t think this is said enough. Choose colleges that fit you. College is more than just the prestige that comes with the name or the popularity that it has. It encompasses the entire experience that you will have and there are a lot of factors (academic programs, location, social scene, student population, financial aid - please sit down with your parents and have this conversation) that will impact the experience that you’ll get at a particular college. Ultimately, think about what you want your college life to look like and do your research to find places that you think will make you the happiest.”

Do you have any advice for incoming freshmen?

Rohan Ohja '22 (Purdue): "If you are interested in research when you get to college, reach out to as many professors as you can asking for open research positions. Some may be skeptical about accepting freshmen, but try your best to secure an interview and you’ll be sure to make a good impression. Learn about the school’s undergrad research programs and whether they will pay for undergrad research, as labs will be more likely to hire if they don’t have to pay you."

Has Blair prepared you for college?

Anika Darbari '22 (UMD): "It definitely has in terms of managing workload and imposter syndrome. Rather than focusing on those around me, I’m able to hone in on my assignments. I think it helped with how to approach problems and looking at theory rather than direct memorization, which makes a lot of classes such as orgo more manageable."

Asher Labovich '22 (Brown): "It’s difficult to explain how much easier college is than Blair was to be honest. Homework load in college is almost the exact same as in Blair except I have twice as many free hours and I always have the opportunity to work with friends, which generally means I’m more productive. Finals are hard, but Brown has a reading period which means we’ve got a few weeks before finals to study and read materials for essays which makes my life much easier. I’m in finals right now and I’ve got one on the 3rd and nothing until the 18th, so I get to do pretty much nothing for two weeks straight. So, yeah — Blair definitely prepared me well!!"

Jocelyn Hao '22 (Carnegie Mellon): "Probably depends on school and major, but college has definitely been harder than Blair in terms of course content. I think that Blair classes have prepared me a lot in terms of both work ethic and content."