Alumni Panel Offers Advice High School Students

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EDISON—Not so long ago, Mark Badalamenti of Scotch Plains, Chris Georgevich of Elizabeth, Manish Kewalramani of Edison, Amanda Mosner of Westfield and Doug Pivnichny of Plainfield were grappling with the stresses of applying to college and transitioning from The Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison into a brave new world. They returned to Wardlaw-Hartridge on Jan. 5 to share what they have learned since their graduation with juniors and seniors during Alumni College Day.

The event, which was followed by a Young Alumni Pizza Party, was organized by Plainfield resident Susan Swenson, director of college counseling, and Fanwood resident and 1983 Wardlaw-Hartridge School graduate Rudy Brandl, who now serves as the school’s director of alumni relations/annual fund.


Following introductions by Swenson, the moderator, and Brandl, the alumni/ae advised the students about the importance of staying focused during the college application process.

“Don’t let senioritis affect your applications,” said Georgevich, a freshman at Boston College. “Use your resources at Wardlaw-Hartridge to help you with the applications and the essay-writing process.”

Mosner, a freshman at Reed College, added that students should get a jump start as early as the summer before their senior year to complete the basic portion of the common application.

Andrew Webster, head of school, also underlined the importance of strong writing skills and focus when crafting the college essay. “Students must carve out the appropriate amount of time to write their essays and give it time to ‘marinade’ in their minds. You may need to write seven to eight drafts before you are done, but you should always write the essay in a way that it shows you at your very best.”

How is college life different from life at Wardlaw-Hartridge?

“Your time here at Wardlaw-Hartridge is much more structured,” said Pivnichny, a junior at Oxford University. He stressed the importance of time management and utilization of resources at the school to build study skills and make the most of one’s time.

Badalamenti, a sophomore at Miami University of Ohio, added that students need to become their own advocates. Since they are on their own and not living under the guardianship of parents, students must take responsibility for their own needs, actions and future, he advised.

Passing On Their Experience
—Doug Pivnichny of Plainfield, a junior at Oxford University, shares his advice with juniors and seniors during Alumni College Day as fellow panel members Amanda Mosner of Westfield, Manish Kewalramani of Edison, Chris Georgevich of Elizabeth, and Mark Badalamenti of Scotch Plains look on. Photo by Michelle Daino/Wardlaw-Hartridge School

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