January 2019
Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant

Holy Angels Alumna Provides College Planning Advice to Juniors

Demarest, NJ: Isabelle Shea, a 2018 graduate of the Academy of the Holy Angels, recently shared her college planning tips with a group of AHA juniors. This alumna presentation, which was arranged by the AHA Office of Academic and College Counseling, covered the importance of maintaining contacts and working with mentors, ways to personalize a college application, the value of exploring your intended field before declaring your major, and more.

Shea is currently a sophomore nursing student at Boston College. In addition to her work with the Boston College

Student Admissions Program, Shea serves on the board of the Massachusetts Student Nursing Association, a chapter of the National Student Nurses Association.

During her talk, she included information about Boston College’s varied educational programs, service opportunities, clubs, activities, and athletic teams.

While she was a student at Holy Angels, Shea played varsity tennis and lacrosse and served on the Dean's Council and the Yearbook Committee. At the time, Shea was interested in becoming an obstetrician/gynecologist. She was able to shadow her own pediatrician to gain insight into a doctor’s life, but eventually decided to take a different career path after she attended a summer program at Georgetown Medical School. Shea explained that she did not enjoy the program and discussed her experience with teacher Patricia Prucnel, the current chairperson of the AHA Science Department. During their talk, Shea realized she wanted to pursue a career in nursing so she could be more involved in patient care.

OACC Director Rachel M. Jackiewicz, who attended Shea’s presentation, pointed out that Shea had greatly benefitted from talking with her mentors. Jackiewicz recommended that the students retain Shea’s contact information.

“She is your inside source and ally,” Jackiewicz told the Angels.

Shea told the Angels to meet with their college counselors more often than is advised so the counselors would get to know them. Developing these working relationships, she said, gives the counselors the ability to write meaningful, personalized recommendations.

“Start your résumé now,” Shea counseled, adding the importance of recording awards and educational experiences as they occur so it is not necessary to try to remember and reconstruct details later. While a college application might ask for just a few educational highlights, Shea pointed out that an entire résumé can be included in an area where students are asked for “anything else they would like to say.”

“Your major is not binding,” Shea reminded the Angels. “If you have an idea of what you want to do, start there,” she said, noting that it would still be possible to make a change.

Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious high school serves young women from a broad spectrum of cultural and religious backgrounds. Over time, thousands of women have passed through AHA’s portals. Many go on to study at some of the nation’s best universities, earning high-ranking positions in medicine, government, law, education, public service, business, arts, and athletics. The Academy’s current leaders continue to further the SSND mission to provide each student with the tools she needs to reach the fullness of her potential—spiritually, intellectually, socially, and physically, by offering a first-rate education in a nurturing environment where equal importance is placed on academic excellence, character development, moral integrity, and service to others.

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