July 20, 2019

HMMS Team Polaris 6th Grade College Fair

HMMS Team Polaris 6th Grade College Fair DATE: 04-23-2015

April 23, 2015- Team Polaris sixth graders, led by the terrific-teaching-trio Tristan Upson, Joan White, and Kara McKeever, are looking ahead to their academic careers. Polaris hosted a college fair poster session, inviting high school sophomore and junior students to attend. The fair was set up in two sections: New England colleges and schools farther flung nationwide. For this interdisciplinary project, each student researched and selected a college that offers majors in a field of study that the student might like to pursue. They then printed out the “Common App” and completed it. I visited the fair with a group of high school students, and we spoke with the middle schoolers about their school choices.


I asked students what they found most surprising or challenging about the Common App process. One student was surprised that they asked so many personal questions; a few explained that they needed to use a lot of White-Out to correct their errors, because they had to write in pen; another could not believe how much time it took. As we visited with students, the high schoolers and I remarked upon how impressed we were at the sixth graders’ knowledge of their school choice’s course offerings and culture. They had also researched GPA & SAT requirements, as well as tuition costs, and asked great questions to me about scholarships and loan opportunities to fund their future ambitions.

Of course, one of the most infamous part of the college application process, the Personal Essay, was included in the project as well. Students responded to one of two Common App prompts that had been selected by their teachers from the five possible 2014 options:

Option #1: Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

Option #2: Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?

I was struck by how many students in both rooms, New England and National, chose to respond to Option #2, and wrote about their homes and families as the place that they feel most content.

Reflecting upon the fair, I am inspired by this group of enthusiastic scholars and their innovative instructors. The opportunity that these teachers have provided to their students to jumpstart their interest and provide direction for the remainder of their secondary school studies is invaluable. I am eager to see where this experience leads them as they complete their high school careers and undergo the Common App process for real!

-Alexis Nelson