Alumni Return to Share Their Important Tips for College Life with Graduating Seniors

On Thursday, Jan. 3, eight Academy alums visited the Class of 2019 to share the important lessons they have learned on their journey through higher education. Touching on everything from the importance of going to class to the proper way to handle all kinds of issues, these young men and women gave a priceless assemblage of knowledge.

Alumni Participants:

Vijay Prasad ‘16
Georgia Tech

Zach Moore ‘18
Duke University

David Singh ‘17
Nova Southeastern University

John J. Thurber ‘17
University of Florida

Victoria Emerick ‘15
Cornell University

Maria Baller ‘15
Ringling College of Art and Design

Max Stepanets ‘15
Alma College

Hannah Szarko ‘16
Montclair State University

Here is some of what they had to say:


  • Time management is key.
  • The best thing you can do is have a set schedule for yourself.
  • If you know that you are not a morning person, don’t take morning classes.
  • Academy definitely prepares you for college. As long as you are willing to put in the work you will be fine.
  • Your syllabus is your lifeline. It breaks down everything you need to know about the class for the entire semester.
  • Use your syllabus to plan out your semester. From the beginning, you know when your assignments are due, so if you have three assignments and a test due in the same week you can start working on it ahead of time.
  • Skipping class is like throwing money away.
  • Even if you know the material being discussed and you think you can skip class, you can’t. Most teachers add showing up to class as a “participation” portion of your final grade.
  • Classes last a semester, not a year, which is something that you have to get used to.
  • Get help when you first feel yourself falling behind.
  • Professors have office hours that they want you to go to. Not only do you get help with the subject, but it shows your professor that you care about doing well.
  • If there is a writing lab or study center at your school, utilize it!
  • Pay attention to the writing techniques taught at Academy. It prepares you for college level writing.
  • Do the work. It’s awful to see competent kids that just don’t do their work.
  • Do your work in the given timeframe. Do it in the first few days of it being assigned so that if you get bombarded with other work you won’t get overwhelmed.

The alumni gave lots of other advice on the topic of homesickness, roommates, involvement, and getting the most out of the college experience. Our senior listened and clearly absorbed much of the information, making the annual Alumni College Panel another great preparatory experience for their futures.