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Annual Alumni Forum Brings College-Age Ravens Back to Campus

Each year, the College Counseling Department and Upper School administration invite several college-age alumni back to participate in a panel on their experiences in higher education. With college counselor Bill Pruden moderating, the alumni share advice and anecdotes about many aspects of their college experience so far. The Ravens asked to sit on the panel come from a variety of majors and are attending different types of colleges across the country, providing students with a variety of perspectives and information. The alumni then join senior advisories for a more personal Q&A session. 

Several departments help pull together this special event. College Counseling works closely with Upper School administration, while the Advancement Office’s alumni affairs staff coordinates lunch with the panelists and senior advisories. 

We asked Lia Prugh, Co-Director of College Counseling, and Dan Ressner, Alumni Engagement Officer, about the annual alumni panel. Here are their responses. 

Why is it important for us to engage with our recently graduation alumni? 

“The College Counseling office looks forward to the Alumni Forum every year because we get to hear from some of our alums about their college experiences. It is a chance for them to share their wisdom and advice with our Upper School students. Every year, the alums share that they felt so prepared for college because of our excellent teachers and the educational foundation that their Ravenscroft education provided. They give great advice about time management, how to get involved on a college campus, how to succeed academically, and so forth. Instead of our students just hearing from teachers and their college counselors about the preparation they receive, we think it is helpful to hear from young alums who are currently in college because they offer the most recent perspective.”  — Lia Prugh

“Our alumni are critical as we continue to tell the story of Ravenscroft. Without those that came before us, we would not be the amazing school that we are today. Engaging our alumni community ensures they can share their memories and experiences with the current community. One of the greatest benefits of a Ravenscroft education is the lifelong connections you make with your friends, teachers, coaches and others within the school. We want to provide opportunities for alums to enjoy those relationships and connect with the school at the same time.”  — Dan Ressner

How was this year’s panel and lunch different?

“This year, we asked the alums to stay for lunch so that they could speak to our senior advisories and give the seniors even more time to ask questions. Even though we have the program every year, each year we ask different alums, so the students are always hearing different advice. I feel like I learn new things about college every year!”  — Mrs. Prugh

“The smaller lunch sessions provided a setting that allowed the seniors to plug in and hear more in-depth information about the alumni’s experiences in college. I think that they really valued the realism and honesty of those interactions.”  — Mr. Ressner

How do you select the alumni that invited to come back to talk to the Upper School?

“Each year, we try to pick alums that are studying a variety of different majors and attending different types of colleges across the country. This year, we had alums who were majoring in everything from nursing to accounting to fashion and textile design and attending colleges in North Carolina but also in New York City and California. By inviting alums who have had such different experiences, we hope to give broader exposure to the range of majors and colleges that are options for our students once they graduate.” — Mrs. Prugh

Why do we ask the alumni to come back every year? 

“The information is most relevant for our seniors who are preparing to go off to different college campuses in just a few short months because our alums talked about everything from how to get along with your roommate to what it was like to manage the free time in college, as a college schedule is very different from what they experience every day at Ravenscroft. We love to hear how our alums are doing and whether or not they would have done anything differently in their college search. We think their advice is extremely relevant and helpful, especially for our juniors and seniors who are in the middle of their college application process.” — Mrs. Prugh