Alumni College Panel


Ava Morouse

Students filed into Spaulding to hear from recent alums about their individual college experiences and to get advice about college in the annual Alumni College Panel assembly on Jan. 9. Hailing from some of the country’s top liberal arts colleges from coast-to-coast and in between– Claremont McKenna, Dartmouth, Bowdoin, Washington University of St. Louis, University of San Francisco, and Pomona – each alum offered a unique point-of-view and range of experiences when it came to the questions about college.

List of Panelists:

  • Connor Curran ’15 (Dartmouth)
  • Danielle Abrams ’16 (Bowdoin)
  • Theo Berriet ’16 (Washington University, St. Louis)
  • Phoebe Madsen ’16 (Claremont McKenna)
  • Joan Curran ’16 (University of San Francisco)
  • Jackson Hurley ‘16 (Pomona)

Among the various questions posed by college counselor Matt Struckmeyer rose topics such as the transition into college, change in workload, clubs and extracurriculars in college, and the advice that the alums would give their younger selves. College athletes Phoebe Madsen ‘16 (CMC) and Dani Abrams ‘16 (Bowdoin) spoke about the balance between the social, academic, and athletic aspects of college, noting that a balance is possible, as long as you prioritize what needs to be prioritized.

Theo Berriet ‘16 (Washington University, St. Louis)  reflected on the benefits of Greek life within his college experience, noting that he has learned more from being a part of Greek life than he has in the classroom, at some times, because it is such a real world experience. His biggest piece of advice for future and incoming college students was that “upperclassmen are the best resource”; they have acquired experience and will give you honest advice about the school.

In regards to the admissions process, Dani Abrams ‘16 reminded students to “make the decision for yourself,” and remember what is important to you– not focusing on the name or reputation of the school, or outsider’s opinions on where you should be.

Connor Curran ‘15 (Dartmouth) also added his advice following this statement, which was that students should “narrow down what they want” from a school, and from the college experience as a whole, and to make sure to do research about what each school offers that’s unique.

Echoing, Phoebe Madsen ‘16 reiterated that students must “be honest with [themselves] and in [their] applications,” this statement ringing true to all of the panelists.

In closing, college counselor Matt Struckmeyer commended the panelists for their honesty and authenticity, and re-stated the importance of staying genuine throughout the entirety of the college process, and said, “The only thing you can do it be yourself.”

The students’ reaction to the college panel was a resounding agreement that it was both informative and beneficial to hear the experiences of current college students who were once Laguna students. Student Mia Humberd ‘20 said, “To hear from alumni of all different college stages and backgrounds is a great learning experience. For all of the high school students going into the college stage of their life, it is really beneficial to get to know more about the college experience than words that come straight from a college catalogue.”

Thank you to all panelists for your authenticity and candid words. We, as students, really appreciate your wisdom and advice.