BETHLEHEM — Bethlehem Opportunities Unlimited (BOU) invites college-bound students and their parents to join them for a panel discussion with recent BC graduates about college, work, internships and more at Bethlehem Central High School on Thursday, Jan. 4, at 7 p.m.
While the event is geared toward juniors and seniors, any district student is welcome to attend and learn more about academic, social and residential life at college and after-college options. The panel will be moderated by BCHS Guidance Counselor Ryan St. John, and will feature graduates attending SUNY schools, private schools, and community college. Topics will include things such as:
Dorm Life and Roommates
How to Make Friends and Become Involved
Navigating Campus Safety
Social vs. Academic Balance
Established in the 1980s in response to concerns about wayward local youth, BOU has a volunteer board, made up of teachers, parents, community members and a student representative. It eventually evolved into a not-for-profit in order to offer grants and free educational programming. In addition to this event, BOU offers a fall program titled “Talking with Your Teen,” which has covered such topics as how to talk to your teen about drugs and alcohol or how to help your teen use electronics and social media in a safe and positive way. They also hold an annual group spelling bee to raise money for programming and scholarships.
BOU has hosted Life After BC for more than seven years, according to BOU President Cindy Ferrari.
“From the feedback we get year after year, we know that this candid discussion is interesting and helpful to students and parents,” she said. “There are always lots of questions and the BC grads do a great job telling it like it is in a way that is relatable for students and parents alike. The facilitated panel has covered such topics as roommate issues and how to get along, when to change colleges if you find it isn’t a good fit, and figuring out which clubs to join or whether to continue with a sport. The returning students offer a unique perspective that allows current students to get a glimpse into topics like how much homework there really is and the importance of time management, approaching professors, how the college cafeteria food tastes, living off campus, financial aid, switching majors, and much more.”
The event is organized in collaboration with the district’s guidance counseling department, which works year-round to prepare students for life after graduation.
“The stories aren’t just about current life at college,” said Ferrari. “Each Life After BC event, there have been some really practical tips about college visits and tours, how many colleges to apply to and how to make that decision, writing the college essays, and the process of actually applying to colleges and how best to use the services from the district. This is important information to have, especially if parents have never been through this process before.”