AP Classes: a Necessity for the College-Driven

Mr. Samuel Knox

With college on the seniors’ minds, everyone is wondering if their SAT scores are high enough, if their GPA is up to par, and whether or not their essay says what they intend it to. However, one thing that students tend to put in the back of their mind is the number of Advanced Placement (AP) classes they have taken and how they will have performed in those classes.

At Champlain Valley Union High School there are 10 AP classes offered: Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Calculus, Statistics, U.S. Government and Politics, Studio Art, Music Theory, Human Geography, and English. All of these classes are yearlong and the demand for enrollment is high. For classes such as Human Geography and Government, it takes as many as three blocks to fill the demand, and even then there are many students stuck on the waiting list. Although it is great that so many students are interested in these classes, it is quite upsetting for many to hear that CVU cannot meet their demands– all students should have access to these critical college-level classes.

The big question is why are students so intent on taking these classes? Ben Wetzell, a CVU junior taking two APs, explained it perfectly. “When I went and toured at Tufts [University], they said that you should definitely be taking AP classes! For them, it is an indicator of your work ethic.” Bay Foley-Cox, a senior who has taken a total of five APs, elaborated on this idea, “In a world where attending college in incredibly important, students in high school should gain some exposure to what it is like to take a college course. I think AP classes encompass a lot of the values in terms of education that we treasure at CVU. Also, every single admissions session I have attended has said that they are looking for a difficult class load and a good performance in those classes.” Wetzell and Foley-Cox have captured the very reason APs exist: to give students the opportunity to experience college level work before attending college. This is something that colleges love to see as it gives them a sense of how students deal with average high school courses as well more challenges ones.

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Planning For The Future: What to Look For When Searching For The Right College

Ms. Charlotte Willis

With seniors gearing up to graduate and juniors starting their college search, many teens are left wondering what they should be looking for when trying to find the right college for them. While searching for colleges can be hard, there are some things to consider about a school to make the picking process easier.

One of the Chittenden Guidance Counselors, Sarah O’Hara- Hughes, says a few things to think about are the size and location of schools. Where a college is located is one of the most important things that a person should take into account. Another important trait of a college is majors. If you know what you want to major in, you have to make sure that the college you choose offers it.

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A sample Naviance “scattergram”

Hughes commented on what she thinks is important in finding the right school. “The size I think is important too. Are they looking for small, medium, large? And this can all be done in a college search, particularly the one [CVU] uses is Naviance.”

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College Tuition: “A Never-Ending Trend Toward Absurdity”?

Ms. Greta Powers, CVC Culture Correspondent

With the recent CVU College Fair, students have the years after graduation on their minds. Questions on tests, applications, and final decisions are occurring even to 9th grader’s. A main worry is the unavoidable fact that college is expensive and getting more expensive every year. It’s well known that college will make a larger dent in one’s wallet than it used to, but just how much extra stress is being put on college students these days? According to Forbes, as of 2013, the total loan debt of students graduating from American colleges is $1 trillion. To say this is an outrageous amount of money would be an understatement. But will college ever be less expensive or are students’ tuitions on a never-ending trend toward further absurdity?

Matthew Seklecki is the Senior Associate Director of Admissions at Saint Michael’s College in Vermont and has seen firsthand the effects of a large price tag on college enrollment. He explained where St. Michael’s gets its funding: “We receive the mass majority of our funding from tuition dollars and that runs our funding budget. College is costing more than it used to.” The latter is clear, but it can be hard to understand precisely why college expenses are rising.

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Students Explore Different ways to Fill In the Gaps

Ms. Koko Vercessi


Photo courtesy of Campusbound.com

The deadline for college applications is fast approaching, and for those students applying for early decision, that deadline was this Tuesday, November 1st. According to the U.S. Department of Education, more than 20 million students apply to colleges each year and there were over 21 million students attending American colleges and universities in the fall of 2014. However, what many students are discovering is that there are many more options available to them in terms of future plans and opportunities than the regular college experience that most experience the fall after their graduation. Students now have the option of taking what is called a gap year. The American Gap Association defines it as “an experiential semester or year, typically taken between high school and college in order to deepen practical, professional, and personal awareness” and they also have estimated that around 30,000 to 40,000 students in the U.S. take such time off annually. So what exactly are the benefits of taking a year off between high school and college, and what are the negatives of this unique, yet increasingly popular choice?

The American Gap Association states that 90 percent of students who took a Gap Year returned to college within a year in 2015. This seems to be a promising number and leads many to believe that gap years are actually a way to encourage hard work and focus in preparation for college and the rigorous experience it provides. Among the benefits of taking a gap year is that fact that it gives students time to take a step back and take a breath after years of working hard on getting good grades, being involved in extracurriculars, and establishing leadership roles within your school environment. The College View also states that a gap year also gives students time off to think about the academic direction and career path they want to pursue, the work and volunteering opportunities that many students use this year to become involved in provides them with invaluable experiences and strong additions to their resumes, students that work full time are able to save money for school tuition and other college costs. In addition, a 2011 study conducted by former dean of admissions, Robert Clagett at Middlebury College concluded that students who had taken a year off had consistently higher GPAs than those who didn’t. Princeton’s Bridge Year Director John Luria also said that “A lot of our students say when they enter as freshman that they have a greater sense of purpose in their studies”.

The benefits of taking a gap seem to be both substantial and convincing, but are the negatives equally as conceiving? Continue Reading

Seniors offer advice on applying to college

Ms. Lucy Anderson

As April draws to an end and May begins, there are many changes. The days grow warmer, students start participating in spring sports, and everyone looks towards the promise of summer. However, the greatest change for many CVU seniors is the knowledge of where they will be attending school next year. After months of hard work writing essays, gathering recommendations, filling out applications, and finally receiving admissions decisions, the members of the class of 2016 who have chosen to attend a college or university know what school they will next year call home.


The process of selecting a college is arduous and in most cases, extremely stressful. As the long ordeal draws to a close, many seniors want to share their wisdom with juniors and underclassmen. In order to do so, CVC caught up with Lucy Pappas, CVU vice president and future Middlebury student. Pappas applied to Middlebury early decision, which means that she sent in her application early with the condition that if she got accepted, she was binded to that school. Pappas recommended early decision for any student that has “truly fallen in love with a school, because knowing where you’re going so early is really nice. However, if you’re not completely sure, there’s nothing wrong with applying everywhere regular decision or early action. When I went on the Middlebury tour, I had that ‘ah-ha!’ moment.”

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Poisoned Ivies

Mr. Gregory Levine

 I was too nervous to read the letter, so I scanned it for keywords. Hoping to see “congratulations,” “accepted,” and “welcome,” I was devastated to find “regret,” “sorry,” and “waitlisted” in some cases, instead. Like tens of thousands of other ambitious high school seniors, I submitted an application for fall admission to the “best institute of higher education in the world,” Harvard University. I also submitted applications to Princeton, Yale, and the rest of the Ivy League, as well as MIT, Stanford, Berkeley (the only one to which I was accepted), and the University of Chicago (to which I was waitlisted).

Image courtesy of Harvard

Image courtesy of Harvard

I come from a very intelligent family; my mother was her student body president for three years and the valedictorian of her class, and following her acceptance to MIT, Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Chicago, she and my uncle both attended MIT. My uncle went to graduate school at Stanford, and their father (my grandfather) studied at Columbia University, proceeding to become a professor of calculus, physics, and chemistry. Needless to say, I felt a lot of pressure to follow in their footsteps intellectually.

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A Tribute to Seniors

Ms. Katherine Hoechner

Time is trickling down as the days become closer and closer to June 12, 2015- the day that the Senior Class graduates from Champlain Valley Union High School.

From college, to gap years, prep schools and adventures, I’ve discovered that CVU Seniors are practically doing it all in the year to come. As exciting as the next step is however, it’s also quite scary to look back and see where the past four years have gone.

I remember walking into CVU my first day as a freshman. I even remember the exact outfit I was wearing, and if you were wondering, it was my favorite blue Forever 21 shirt and white Urban Outfitter shorts. I remember being the little fish inside a huge school of sharks, as well as being rather rattled at the random video cameras documenting our first day arrivals. It’s crazy how time flies, I mean look at where we all are now.

It’s scary to take a blast into the past and realize how far we’ve all come. Four years ago I would have never expected to be graduating and enrolling into Eckerd College in Florida with my very best friend. I didn’t expect to see one of my amazing best friends enroll herself into Cornell’s Class of 2019, and I sure as hell wasn’t expecting this year to go by as fast as it did. It’s insane where we all began and to see where we all are headed- and

I decided to walk around the school one afternoon and catch up with fellow Seniors about where they plan on going next year. I wanted to see which route students deemed fitting for themselves, why they picked the route, and what excitement and worries come with that big decision (whatever it may be). The directions that each individual students  are about to embark on are both unique and intriguing and I think this is probably the best part of this year, that is, figuring out where everyone plans to go. We all started together, and now we end in our own different ways.

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College Tuition is Far Too Expensive

Ms. Taylor Filardi

America is the land of opportunity. Anyone who is passionate and driven enough to want a college education should be given the chance to at least try. It would be great if we could make a college education free just like we do a high school education, but each of us in our right mind knows this dream will not be come true in the near future, if ever.

According to the NY Times, the soaring cost of college, a 1,225 percent increase since 1978, is far outpacing any other price the government tracks including food, housing, cars, gasoline, TVs, you name it.

Tuition has increased at a rate double that of medical care, usually considered the most expensive of human necessities, as well as crushed a generation of college grads with debt.

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Increases in College Cost

Mr. Dane Whitcomb

Between 2001–02 and 2011–12, prices for undergraduate tuition, room, and board at public institutions rose 40 percent. It seems ridiculous how fast the price of college tuition is increasing. This is a bad trend because education needs to be something affordable to everybody.

Today it is 400% more expensive to go to college in the United States than it was just 30 years ago. Obviously it should go up from thirty years ago but 400% percent is just way too much. In another 10 years, tuition averages could double, and the number of people that attend college will decrease because people just can’t afford it.

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