VICTOR — Nick Cook wants to study chemistry in college. The soon-to-be high school senior at Victor High School has already visited the University of Buffalo and Boston University.
"I really liked Boston University. I’m thinking about visiting it again," he said.
Nick’s sister, Emily, who will be starting her sophomore year at Victor High School, has already starting thinking about what she wants to do when she graduates in two years.
"I like working with kids and I like history," Emily said. "I think I want to be a history school teacher."
Both Nick and Emily, along with their parents, Jennifer and Rick, spent the evening of May 20 inside St. Patrick Church’s parish center, thinking about those next steps. They attended a free presentation led by parishioner David Mammano and organized by St. Patrick’s youth minister, Nora Bradbury-Haehl. Mammano is founder and CEO of NextStepU, which helps students find the right path after high-school graduation.
In his presentation, Mammano addressed 10 tips for successful college planning. He encouraged the students in attendance to consider taking both the ACT and SAT exams, noting that "good scores are like tuition equity."
He spent some time talking to the students about choosing the right major. While the Cook siblings have already given some thought about what they want to study, Mammano said that many students have a hard time choosing a major.
"Deciding the rest of your life, no pressure," Mammano said with a laugh. "We are all good at a few things, and we are all bad at a lot of things. Find out what it is that you are good at."
Mammano told the students that while they are in high school is the time for them to be investigative reporters. It is never too early to start thinking about the future, he said. In doing that, he encouraged the students, no matter what year they are in high school, to take advantage of college fairs and to visit colleges.
"Take a campus tour, see the dorms, make sure you like the food, " he told the students. "Colleges have good food these days."
Halfway through the presentation, Mammano spoke to the concern of many of the parents in attendance on how to pay for college. When looking at the price tag for a college education, Mammano told the parents to compare it to buying a car.
"Colleges are in a predicament. They are hurting," he explained. "They have a difficult time making ends meet. Very few people pay sticker price."
Mammano also reminded the parents and the students to take advantage of the many scholarships that are out there.
While the Cook siblings say they are ready for the next step, they admit they are enjoying the comforts of high school.
"I don’t want to leave high school, " Nick said. "This (college planning) was all pretty scary at first, but it is getting easier."
"I love my school," added Emily. "I don’t want to leave it."