Meeting of the Minds: Recent Alumni and Students Connect at College Previews

How challenging will the coursework be? What did you do to make friends at first? Was your financial aid package easy to understand? How have alumni helped you to get internships or jobs? Those are some of the questions that current Punahou seniors and juniors asked recent alumni when they connected at the College Previews event, held Dec. 20. 

The interactive happening, hosted by the Punahou Parent Faculty Association, the College Counseling Department and the Alumni Relations Office featured more than 82 Punahou alumni from the classes of 2020 – 2023, who were on hand to impart insight on their ongoing college experiences. Collectively, they represented 45 domestic and international colleges.

“Our alumni come back with a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to share with our current students going through the college process,” says Director of College Counseling Ryan Scudder. “Most importantly, alumni share that everything will work out and that Punahou has prepared them well for the transition and demands that college will bring – which is important for students to hear for peace of mind.” 

The event, which was moderated by Punahou’s college counselors, opened with a presentation showcasing alumni panelists currently attending college. Following the chat in the Chapel, students were able to talk one-on-one with alumni at interactive booths set up in the PE Pavilion.

Junior Academy student, Kaila Schiffl Jr. ’25 appreciated hearing directly from the young alumni. “Their experience is similar to what I am undergoing currently, and they know what classes and pathways to pursue,” she says. “Having recent alumni made it feel less abstract because they were only a few years older than me.” Schiffl believes this format leads to more authentic conversations. “I thought the college previews were useful to know what the programs are actually like instead of what they are advertised to be.”

The College Previews event is traditionally held in December because it is when many alumni return to Hawai‘i for the holidays. “For the recent alumni, this is their first opportunity to gather since their graduation in the spring so it is a nice reunion of sorts for them,” Scudder says. 

Alumni speakers are a powerful tool to help current students make informed decisions for college. “It just clicks when they hear it from a peer, someone who walked in their shoes,” Scudder says. “Their insights about the application process, to making their final decision, to the courses they are taking for their major, to the clubs and organizations they are involved in, and to the social opportunities their college has to offer are all invaluable.”

– By Gina Gelber

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.