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Senior Reflections

SENIOR ESSAY EXCERPTS                                              Writing

 
~ What the ACE experience has meant to me......excerpts from essays written by Access to College Education (ACE) Seniors.
 

 CLASS of 2014

ACE offers a great selection of workshops…and I have attended a variety of them. The…ACE events I have attended taught me what to expect at college and…to ask questions now that will help me down the road. The panel of college students at certain workshops that…answer questions and tell us about their experiences…helped me greatly.  ACE helped me prepare for college with a sports management workshop at SUNY Cortland. If I had not attended that particular workshop I wouldn’t have chosen my currently planned major in Sports Management. …also taught me the importance of visiting many campuses. This was important because the first college I visited I disliked, the next was a better school…next, best of the three, and the last…I absolutely had to go to.  This along with the college visits to schools affiliated with ACE taught me that college life differs from campus to campus. ACE has also properly equipped me with different learning techniques that will help me in college. Some of the workshops taught me better note-taking, mnemonic devices for memorization, and how to come up with new ideas for different problems.  Not all of the activities….were learning based. There were also activities like {College Plays} and Pizza & Bowling. I was fortunate enough to see ‘Legally Blond’ at Ithaca College and ‘A Christmas Carol’ at SUNY Cortland. This impacted me by teaching me the importance of balancing out what events I attend. This is similar to how I should divide my time at college. These events, like all ACE events, encourage you to go out there and meet new people. This is just like what you need to do when you go to college and have to meet a variety of people.    Overall, the entire ACE experience has prepared me very well for college. I believe that, thanks to the ACE program, I will be very successful at the college level. This will transition me to being a successful adult and will help me the rest of my adult life.
Jake Tinker (Cortland 2014)

The ACE program has helped me prepare for college in many ways. Over the past four years I have attended many programs offered through ACE. These included college fairs, college visits and classes to help prepare me to take the SAT and lean Study Skills.  These skills will help me succeed throughout college and have helped me in high school tremendously. I found the college fairs the most helpful. They allowed me to interact with representatives from various colleges, ask questions and find out what they had to offer. The ACE field trips were informative and interesting and allowed me to interact with students from other schools and learn life lessons. The ACE staff was always welcoming an encouraged us to do our best. They were truly there to make sure the pressure of deciding what college to go to easier. Without the ACE program I wouldn’t have learned the lessons and skills that will help me pursue my dream of becoming a physical therapist. I would highly recommend joining the ACE program to any younger classmate as it made the process a lot easier.
Darcie Wood (Cincinnatus 2014)

The ACE program has significantly helped me through the college process. It has prepared me for college in ways that I didn’t expect. The ACE program has helped me decide what college I want to attend and has also helped me decide what I want to pursue in college. The events have allowed me to interact with the ACE staff, college representatives and students from different schools and colleges….The campus events have helped me decide what I think I want to do for the rest of my life. The student panels have also helped prepare me for college. Of course I don’t know how I will handle college until I experience college myself, but because of the ACE program, I know what I should expect. …the ACE program has impacted me in more ways than I thought it would. The ACE program has allowed me to make informed decisions that I don’t think I could have made without the program. I am very thankful for the ACE program and would recommend it to any student wanting to pursue a college education.
Danielle Wood (Cincinnatus 2014)

…the ACE program has made a huge contribution to my success in preparing for college. Being part of this program has allowed me to have a feeling that I can succeed in a college setting and in my community. Through the summer writing program with Mr. and Mrs. Lee, I was given the opportunity to become a better writer. The presentations during the fall and spring institutes taught me how to use my time wisely and to become a better organizer. Being the quiet one in school, I met other students in the ACE program who were just like me. The ACE program has shown me what to expect in college and to face the challenges that are ahead of me. The program also helped encourage me to take the step in becoming part of my school community. Whether playing on the field hockey team, volunteering at the Syracuse Symphony, or playing my violin in the pit for the school music or for the Naturalization ceremony welcoming new citizens, my participation in the ACE program has boosted my self-confidence and allowed me to come out of my comfort zone. Knowing that I am not alone with my uneasiness of leaving my parents and my school, I feel that the ACE program has allowed me to have the strength to face the challenges in the coming years of college.
Kayli Holbrook (Cortland 2014)


 CLASS of 2013

 Way back in my freshman year of high school I did not know anything about college or my future…  While ACE does teach you things about college, how to get in, and what to do when you’re there, it is also much more.  It also helps you prepare yourself before college through its many classes about how to study and how to get involved in your classes during high school. Classes like these do not directly help you get into college or even decide what you want to study in college. These classes help you in the long run, preparing you for what you’re going to be facing in college. Practicing ‘studying techniques’ like those the ACE programs push is beneficial for several reasons. One is you get time to practice different techniques to see what works best for you before you get to college where the work gets even tougher. It also helps you improve your high school grades.   …I have attended programs which helped me find out what I enjoy doing and what might be a good job that I will enjoy for the rest of my life….The college visits helped show me what different colleges had to offer: some were small…some large…Without ACE it likely would have been harder to decide which schools I wanted to visit and apply to. …ACE has given me access to college students that are willing to answer the questions that I have about college…There is nothing like getting answers from people that are currently experiencing what you’re asking about.
…ACE has helped me in many ways both in my search for the right college, getting into that college, and throughout my H.S. career.  Without ACE I would have never learned the best ways to study or about how students feel about colleges they are attending. I feel that through the many programs I have attended put on by ACE, I am much better prepared for my future at college and in my life after that.
Sean Herman (Homer 2013)

I’m the third child in my family…introduced to ACE … I’ve experienced a total of 22 events including 5 Campus Visits… The college visits have really widened my view of how I believe college would be if I lived on campus. I’ve taken into consideration the size of the campus, the number of students attending that college, and how I would feel going there for the next level of my education.  During my time with ACE I’ve experienced many beneficial aspects such as Plays, Regional Institutes and Field Trips… The activity that I enjoyed the most was the Plays. I’m a very theatrical person and I love witnessing how much work and effort the actors, stage crew…put into their production. There are a lot of people involved that put in hard work to make that production possible and it’s the same way for college. Everyone works together to get ahead in life and succeed with whatever you do.  I also enjoyed the regional institutes I attended. …I learned new things about college like how much it costs and what classes they provide for each different school. I also learned that college is a challenging and stressful time for many individuals. But, with the faculty and friends there along the way to help you it becomes less of a challenge and more of a learning experience. I have benefited from ACE by being introduced to new aspects of life that I’ll be experiencing very soon.  …ACE has shown me how hard college can be and how determined you have to be to succeed. …When I graduate from H.S. I plan to leave for the military…I swore into the Army Reserves to be a Military Police Officer. On July 26th I am signed to ship out for basic training and advanced individual training. Once I complete my duties I will be attending SUNY Canton. There I’ll be working toward a 2 or 4 year degree in law enforcement, with a minor in psychology. If I wasn’t introduced to the ACE program early in my H.S. career, I’m convinced I would have been intimidated and nervous for college. With all the help I’ve received through this program I’m prepared and mentally ready for college and whatever else life throws my way.
Krista Lake (DeRuyter H.S. 2013)

When I was in 8th grade, I got a letter in the mail. It was asking me if I wanted to join the ACE program as a way to help me become better prepared for college. The letter was the start of a flood of information about college. I was given access to countless student panels, financial aid seminars, and SAT/ACT prep classes. I can’t begin to imagine figuring out which college I wanted to go to without this program. The ACE Program has had a profound effect on my preparedness for college.
…I didn’t know where to go, what my college budget would be, or even what I wanted to major in.  …different seminars I could sit in on, college visits, and admissions counselors I could probe…  I think the one thing that helped me understand what I wanted out of college experience was the Student Panels …talking about their lives and answering our questions ignited passion and excitement for college, it made it seem real. I never would’ve realized that college would be a glorious adventure without the ACE program.  ….All the prep courses in the world aren’t any good if you have no idea what it is you’re preparing for, which is exactly the position I was in about a year ago. I knew how to get into college, and that I had access to many of them. The one thing I still wasn’t sure of was what I wanted to study.  The thought of having to choose one thing to do for the rest of my life paralyzed me with fear. So, once again, I turned to the ACE program. On a college visit with ACE, I got the opportunity to sit in on actual college classes, which made choosing a major less of a shot in the dark. Being in a real college environment helped me to realize that Nursing is my passion, and having that plan in place made the leap into college a lot less intimidating.  After all of the seminars, visits, and informational meeting I attended through ACE, I now know that I am ready for college. I never would’ve discovered this without the help of the ACE Program and all of the resources it made available to me.
Hannah Armstrong (Lansing 2013)

Before I joined ACE, college was an intimidating subject for me and I never really knew what it would be like… By attending many of the Regional Institutes…it has helped me a lot in building my confidence with college and getting accepted into colleges. I would have to say that the Regional Insts. were the most beneficial to me because there was always a great variety of activities going on that suited many different people.  The programs at these events gave me a lot of information on financial aid, how to write an admissions letter, tips for taking the SAT and ACT tests, and a better understanding of what campus life would be like.  The information given at Reg. Insts. played a big role in how I prepared for college over the 4 years of high school. Learning about what campus life would be like and talking to some of the college students at different colleges helped me get a better idea of what college would be like and helped me feel more comfortable with the idea of going to college. I also went to various colleges, such as TC3, Cortland, and Ithaca. These visits were beneficial to me because they allowed me to see what type of college I would like to attend and what the college student thought of campus life. …going on these trips helped me overcome some of my fears about going to college and allowed me to see what it takes to get into certain colleges.  …ACE has been an amazing, helpful program to have been involved in and I would recommend this program to anyone else who is unsure about college or has fears about college.
Laura Dart (Homer 2013)

…ACE has had an impact on my decision-making throughout my H.S. years.  Not only has it helped with future plans but making present decisions for the better.  ACE has helped me make new friends that have had the similar questions and concerns as me.  As an eighth grader college seemed so far away and scary, I didn’t want to think about it.  ACE helped me see that college is the better path to travel and it’s not as scary as it seems. Having professors and college students come in and talk about life experiences, college life, and how to manage your time has helped a lot to open my mind.  I would have never known that playing sports would help time management. Learning how to balance and prioritize school and outside activities is a great life skill. ACE has also given me the opportunity to sit in college classes. Sitting in a college class was nothing like I imagined it would be like. Having college tours from libraries, courtyards, dorms, cafeteria foods, and blue lights showed me how college life was and what to expect.  …ACE also taught me to work hard to reach my goals. Learning study skills and writing tips has increased my high school grades.  ACE also has ‘career fields’ classes you can take.  That was one of the main reasons why I went to ACE was to find an interesting career.  ACE is a way that has helped me find the right path for my career.  …ACE is a valuable program and I am very glad to have been a part of this program …
Cayla Aitchison (Cincinnatus 2013) 

ACE has been a great experience throughout my H.S. years.  Every year I have attended several ACE events, both required and elective. The events I have attended have taught me priceless skills to not only help out with future years in college but also skills that have aided me in current H.S. classes as well.  Many skills I have learned include Time Management, Research Skills, Communication, and one of my favorites, Study Skills.  When I first joined ACE I wasn’t’ sure what I would really gain from it. I not only gained skills to use in H.S. and college, I had fun while doing so.  ACE has provided so many skills I’m able to utilize for the rest of my life, including how to write this essay. Teachers and professors only teach certain information along with the content that they must cover to complete their curriculum. ACE seemed to fill the blanks for me. This program has taught me how to deal with all different kinds of teaching styles and how to adapt, hence the Study Skills and Learning Style programs. Learning Styles was a single class I attended through ACE. It taught everyone the optimum way to focus and learn from almost any type of professor. Without such classes …I would have sat through a lecture in years to come and been completely lost and overwhelmed. Another great experience I have gained through ACE is being able to visit several different college campuses. Doing so has helped me decide more on my future as a whole and where I would like to attend college. ACE also helped me realize I could make it through college. Before and even during the program I was thinking about joining the military after high school. Now I plan to obtain a college degree first.  After being a part of ACE as a whole, I am no longer worried or afraid for the years to come. ACE was an amazing confidence booster and I would strongly recommend it to anyone with the opportunity.
Lucas Pratt (DeRuyter H.S. 2013)

… as a member of ACE, I have not only gotten to meet many new people from surrounding schools and see interesting art exhibits, I have learned a lot about college that has helped me greatly in the transition between H.S. and college. In the beginning, I barely had a clue about how to apply to college, and felt as if that time was so far ahead that it was nothing to worry about. …as a Sr., I have realized how much the information I have gotten has helped me. All of the different programs hit many of the things that are important for applications and college…and because of this I feel comfortable with the idea of college, and not intimidated...   …the financial aid process was very useful for my parents… I had to decide…which major I wanted to take…ACE helped me understand the difference between majors and minors, and how different combinations could lead to different occupations… Knowing this allowed me to really think about what I want to do in the future, and how to mold my college experience to what I need to know for my dream job, being a manga artist.  I have always had an interest in art and Japanese.  …I have learned that I can have a double major, so I can study both areas.  One of the ACE events allowed me to sit in on a psychology class. There, I realized that I also want to study psychology. Listening to the lectures has made me realize that college is not just a place to train to get a good-paying job, but it is also a place to branch out and explore a lot of different areas. …I began searching for colleges with flexible curriculums, so I could explore other fields of study. Knowing the important parts…allowed me to know what to ask at college visits...I knew to look for places that had good depts. in fields that I wanted…and…financial aid. I now have a clear idea of what I want in a college, and which colleges I would be the most comfortable at. Without ACE my decision would have been made without looking into as many things as I have, which could have resulted in me spending four years of my life somewhere that does not suit me.
Erika Harper (Lansing H.S. 2013)

A.C.E. (Access to College Education) is an amazing program in which high school students learn about what they will need to know to survive their college career. Whether it is stressing the importance of time management, the necessity of choosing the right college for you, visiting colleges, and reminding students that out of school activities do matter.  Instead of having someone not related to college talk about the importance of future education, the ACE program uses real college faculty and students to help teach and guide high school students  with their choices about their academic futures. The importance of using {college students and faculty} is key, as students get true grit opinions and tips... The importance of time management in college was highly stressed in ACE and from college students. Time management is an essential key to success in college, and in life in general.  Being organized, staying on top of school work and making sure you understand the subject material, like in high school, becomes prevalent throughout life as well... 
Ian Chan (Lansing H.S. 2013)

CLASS of 2012

I have learned many valuable things by being involved in the ACE program since eighth grade. When I started thinking about college I was very confused and had no idea what I was going to do. It was too overwhelming to think about at first. ACE changed that for me. I started learning things about college, and life that my peers didn’t know. I felt myself feeling more confident about my future.
Like any kid, I had many ideas of what I wanted to be when I got older. I thought mostly about common things and never knew how many careers there were out there. ACE opened many new doors to careers and programs I never knew existed. The more I learned the more questions I had. As I grew older and attended more ACE events I learned the answers to those questions. As I went to the events I started looking at the campuses. After the first couple of events, SUNY Cortland caught my eye. Every time I return to Cortland I am excited because of ACE. It helped me decide the college I wanted to attend.
Without ACE I would still be nervous and my parents wouldn’t know exactly what to expect. ACE opened doors to new careers that I never thought about when I was younger… Eventually at one event I was introduced to the idea of law enforcement. Since then I have done more research and decided to major in criminology at SUNY Cortland. If it wasn’t for ACE, I would probably be undecided and stressed out about my future and decisions about college.
Travis Rheinheimer (Cincinnatus 2012)

Taking the initiative in high school to gain knowledge about the next steps in your life is vital to achieving success down the road…As my next step dawns, attending a 4 year university, I am able to reflect on the impact that ACE has had in preparing me for college. ACE provided a plethora of knowledge through the many workshops and opportunities that were presented. In these workshops everything from study skills to financial aid was interpreted by college professors, advisors, and students. Working with professionals in their field, and current students attending each university, really was one thing that made an impact on me because these individuals had firsthand knowledge. Also, the many seminars and Regional Institutes helped to prepare me for college by enhancing skills that I already had and really showing me that college isn’t harder, it’s just different.
This year I particularly enjoyed “We Didn’t Learn This, Why Is It On The Test?” at “Keys to College Success” {12th Grd. ‘Campus Visit’}…In the activity I discovered ways to study material more effectively and interpret ideas differently, which is not only applicable in college, but also in life.
After being…in ACE, I feel much more prepared to enter college because I have reaped so many rewards… Not only have I been able to gain insight…but also have learned study skills which will help me to achieve success. ACE has assisted me in learning how to bridge the gap that exists between high school and college, and make the transition easier. This is something that I hope students presently, and in the future, can gain from being a part of this program.
Marissa Travis (Cortland 2012)

After high school, I plan to major in Biology at LeMoyne College, and then continue my education to become a Pharmacist. ACE has had a huge impact on my preparation for college. One example occurred at the Regional Institute at Homer high school when I was in 10th grade. The guest speaker was SUNY Cortland President, Mr. Erik Bitterbaum. He stated that students should apply at LeMoyne College because of a 5 million dollar donation given to them by an alumnus. This interested me in LeMoyne and caused me to explore this school. The other events were beneficial too. The campus visits alone helped me to look at and see different college areas and the people on campus. The other workshops and activities that were held better informed me and made me more knowledgeable about what I can expect going to college. I would definitely recommend students to participate in ACE and be sure to take advantage of all the opportunities it can provide.
Alex Clark (Cortland 2012)

…The ACE program has allowed me to learn and grow with the different things that I have learned at each event. The Campus Visit field trips...all have shown me how each college is different… ACE has made me realize…ways of studying and learning processes that colleges are looking for. The Regional Institutes…gave me the opportunity to learn and interact with the college students and professors, to hear their perspective on how they live and what the colleges are looking for from the student… This allowed me to get answers to my questions about college and the way things work. Social interaction is a key part of ACE that helped me personally. Having to work with other students in the activities truly helped me develop not to be shy. …ACE has given me opportunities to learn about financial aid for college. The information that my family and I have received…has been very informative on what we needed to do and when. It made my dream to go to college real…I have been accepted to SUNY Cobleskill for Equine Studies…I was able to find the colleges that have the career field that I have chosen to take. I have used the skills that I have gained from going to the different activities…to help qualify myself to be accepted. …You have fulfilled my dreams!
Trista Willis (Cortland 2012)

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PREVIOUS ACE SENIORS...

ACE is an extremely useful program for students looking to get a head start on preparing for college, and college life. The many activities and events…are both entertaining and informative, giving students information and answers to their college questions. … I have been to many events, learned many things, and have had many of my college questions answered.  Not only has ACE helped me, but it has also been one of the best and most enjoyable experiences in my life.  On my senior College Visit at Cornell, the speakers there gave us information and tips…such as what to do and where to go if you are having issues balancing college activities and classes, social do’s and don’ts, and different study tips. These answered many of my unspoken or previously unanswered questions, such as “How do I make friends in college?” and “Who do I talk to if I don’t think I can handle something?”
If it wasn’t for ACE I wouldn’t know what I know about college, and I would be completely lost in the entire process. ACE has given me the opportunity to experience things that I haven’t before, such as College visits and the Dessert & Dramas.  Every event that I have gone to within these 4 years, all of the Regional Institutes, Dessert & Dramas, and all the College Visits have been absolutely wonderful experiences. They have enriched my high school experience and they have given me crucial knowledge for college and college life.
Ruthanne Lake (DeRuyter 2011)

ACE has prepared me for college and college life in ways that I would never have imagined…In fact, in 8th grd. I wasn’t even concerned with getting into college.  Thankfully, I signed up for ACE. The Regional Institutes, summer programs, plays, and discussions with student panels revealed to me both the serious side and the fun side of college. Without these opportunities, I would have gone into the college selection and application process largely unaware of the implications. 
At each Regional Institute I was able to focus on one small part of the entire college experience in detail. The financial aid seminars were very practical and, even though I was the only actual student among a throng of parents, I learned enough about the process that I was able to complete it entirely on my own.  I learned a lot about scheduling from the student panels over the last four years, especially about how credits work in college. They also taught me that it isn’t always wise to load your schedule… with unnecessary electives because free time (and study time) will be much more valuable. By 11th/12th grds. I had learned what questions to ask …speakers and student panels. I now know that there is more to college than the major and the diploma.
Before the Campus Visit in 9th grd. to Ithaca College, I had never been to a college campus. Thanks to ACE, I was able to begin experiencing what a college was like. The program made me start thinking about where I wanted to go, and how I was going to get there.
Whether or not Cornell’s participation in ACE was my “ace up my sleeve”, the knowledge I garnered smoothed the way to my ultimate acceptance in Nov. of last year. I would go so far as to say that ACE’s contribution to my college-bound journey was the most significant of all factors.
David Harris (Homer 2011)

As I started high school, and the pressure to get into college and to be prepared for it rose, so did my fear…ACE began to become more important to me. It provided plays, institutes, and summer programs that aided me through high school and the process of growing up. The plays give me a chance to escape the pressure, and to see how college could still be fun and was not always work. The summer programs allowed me to hone my writing skills, and prepare for the changes in learning and studying that I would soon be experiencing in a few years. The institutes and the workshops gave me the confidence to tackle the dreaded SATs and ACTs, and they were the first places I heard of tell me I could have a second chance. When many of my friends were panicking and trying to study, convinced that if they failed they would end any chance of their getting into college, I was panic-free and confident that I could handle the tests, and if I did poorly, I could take it again. Without ACE, I would have stressed out and been unprepared for the realities of the tests.
Not only did my participation give me an edge over others on my college applications, it taught me to make college visits, how to choose a college based on what I wanted, and that it wasn’t as terrifying as I thought. Without ACE, I probably would not have made an important visit to the college I’m going to and wouldn’t have chosen to go there. ACE taught me that asking questions is a good thing, and it gave me more insight into the way colleges work by allowing us to speak to panels of college students. Asking about dorm life, the food, what they do for clothes gave me insight into what I can expect this coming August. While many of my friends are still unsure about college and what is going to happen, I am prepared and feel confident about making this huge step in my life….ACE is important to me because now I can truthfully say I am ready to take the next step in my life, and it is thanks to the ACE program for giving me everything I needed, even before I knew I needed it.
Alexis Clark (Homer 2011)

ACE has taught me many different things over the past four years.  All of it will help me in the future.  Some of my more memorable and helpful workshops were the SAT info. Life on the College Campus, the 10th grd. field trip {Cornell’s Statler Hotel Sch.} and the writing workshop over the summer.  The SAT info. was great. It helped to prepare me for the SAT test, even though I did better on the ACT. It was nice to hear from a Kaplan advisor since they know so much about both the SAT and ACT tests. “Life on the College Campus” was really nice to go to since we were able to hear from actual college students about what life is like in college. Being able to ask questions and hearing everyone else’s questions were really helpful in understanding what college is like. Also, it was great that they told about the general college experience, things that do not really change between colleges. The students were great and I learned a good amount pertaining to both living on the campus and students who commute. Personally for me the most valuable event in ACE was the 10th grd. field trip to Cornell concerning the culinary field. Getting a little firsthand experience making cookies and hearing more about the field was invaluable….Even though I had an interest in the field I never really would have known how much without this trip. Learning as much as I did about the availability of jobs, and what you could expect from the field all really interested me. I knew after the trip that I wanted to go into the culinary world…It really made the field more appealing for me and y interest in culinary increase more and more.
Trever Rounds (Lansing 2011)

…I went to many regional institutes, where I learned many different things about college and school in general, such as life on campus, test taking tips for the SAT, how to write an admissions essay… Also, I attended many ACE field trips, which were not only helpful, but fun too. I enjoyed exploring the campuses, and participation in the fun activities that were offered. I would have to say my favorite trip was the eleventh grade trip to TC3. I chose to go to the broadcasting production class. It was so much fun being able to use all the equipment, and getting to experience some of the careers in that field; such as newscasters, directors, camera operators, and video editors. This class fascinated me, because I have an interest in digital media and animation, and I want to pursue a career in this field….My ACE experience throughout all these years has helped me prepare and get to know more about college, before I graduate and go off to college myself. I find that ACE is very helpful and it is such a great program that is made available to students in our area. I have learned a lot from ACE’s programs, and I am thankful that I was selected to be part of ACE so I could take advantage of their programs and be better prepared for college.
Sarah Dart (Homer 2011)

Once joining ACE I had the opportunity to visit campuses, participate in “Campus Events”, and go to “Regional Institutes”. I recall one summer....This event had many helpful qualities. While I was there I was able to open up and meet new people, learn a college campus, and I was provided with helpful ways to manage my time and stress….they started off with a few activities to get to know each other. There were many other students, in different age groups and different schools, attending this event. Being paired with students from different schools forced me out of my comfort zone and showed me that life can be more fun, and hard times can be more easy, when you reach out.  This has greatly helped me in preparing for college in that when I attend college, it will be easier for me to make new friends and meet new people. It has helped me to reach out and not be so shy. I have already applied these techniques to my life giving me the friends I have today.  The impact from ACE on my preparation for college was great. Between learning studying tips, time management skills, how to open up and get to know people, and learning how to find my way around a campus without stress, I was able to overcome my fear of choosing my career and going to college.  I will be leaving the ACE program with a good outlook on my future and more confidence towards going to college. With the information I have gained through the ACE program, I will have a good college experience, and will graduate from college encouraging others of the benefits of ACE. I hope every student who is accepted into the ACE program leaves with the same outstanding experience I will hold through my life, with college and my career.
Kadi Hendriks  (Cortland 2011)

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PREVIOUS  ACE SENIORS

ACE is meant to help students learn about college. It is also meant to make it less frightening for high school students to explore the possibility of going to college. …Everything I did in this program has helped me prepare for college and my future.  …..Perhaps the most helpful events were the summer program and the Regional Institutes. The summer program helped me get a feel for being on a college campus in a very realistic way. It gave me a feel for being “away” from home. The Regional Institutes helped me in multiple ways. The college students {“Life on the College Campus” workshop} gave a more realistic idea of college than an adult talking did.  The students gave stories that were realistic and blunt. They did not try to sugar coat the experience. To me that was the key to removing all the fears of college that I had.   Although many people see the Desserts & Dramas as not very helpful, I saw it as a lesson that there can be down time in college life.  There is a place to escape and just get a moment or two to relax. It also shows a way that I could get involved in college. By joining the case, crew or pit of a musical, I can make my college experience more enjoyable by getting involved. It’s also a good way to meet new friends.
Emma Capps (Homer H.S. 2010)

Before I became a part of the ACE Program I had no idea what college was like. I didn’t think I would like it; I didn’t think I would fit in; I thought it was going to be scary.  However, once I joined the program I met other people from local schools that felt the same way I did. Together we learned what college was really like and how to prepare for it. ...Some of the programs I benefited most from were on how to pay for college and the application process. My parents and I had no idea how we were going to afford my college....However, when we attended a Financial Aid workshop we learned all about {FAFSA, TAP, different loans and scholarships available} When we left ...I felt like we could actually afford a good college education...Next I went to a college application workshop. While there, I got to read actual applications and work with a group to figure out if I would accept or deny that person.  It was such a great experience.….While there I listened to multiple speakers speak about how colleges are set up and what to look for in a college. Another helpful part of the day was having the college panelists.….This made me realize that everyone did things differently and wanted different things -and that was ok.  For example, one student applied to two schools; while the other applied to seven and they both agreed they did the right thing.  At Regional Institutes I attended {Life on Campus} It is always interesting to see the different students from different colleges...by talking to them I learned about the different styles of living, how distance to home affects you and all the activities that are available. They told me that no matter how close or far from home I was, as long as I was 'out of my house' I would have the same experience. This helped me decide that I wanted to be about 2 hours from home..…The ACE program has helped me understand all aspects of college.  Because of the ACE Program I feel like I have a better understanding of college compared to anyone else.
Julie Spaulding (Cortland H.S. 2010)

The last thing on my mind when I was asked to participate in ACE was college. I was reluctant to attend my first year, thinking my mother was crazy pursuing me to go ….the more events I attended the more I began seriously thinking about college and what I wanted to do with my life. I realize now that it is never too early to start planning for college…The campus visits were important and have helped me narrow down what I like about a school. There is so much to consider…I got the opportunity to talk to admission counselors and professors. Now, going on college visits I meet everyone, knowing what questions to ask from what I have learned from ACE. ...My mother and I have enjoyed the plays over the years. Spending so much time with her going to ACE events, I’ve formed a strong bond with her and I have ACE to thank for that. I consider myself lucky to have been a part of ACE. I walked away learning something every time I attended an event…I think the ACE program should be mandatory for all high school students. As a senior I am looking forward to taking the next step in my life. I feel I am better prepared for it today and a step ahead of my classmates, thanks to ACE. It has been an honor to be a part of such an incredible program and I hope someday I can give back to it.
Carissa Clark (DeRuyter H.S. 2010)

I remember being introduced to the ACE program in the eighth grade by my counselor. After the presentation, I was reluctant to join the program.  College seemed so far away and it hadn’t even crossed my mind to think about college. But, with the encouragement of my mother and Mrs. Davin I decided to join. Now being a senior and looking back on it, joining ACE was one of the best decisions preparing for college that I ever made…..At Regional Institutes there were many different workshops that include how to get ready for college, preparation for ACT and SAT, but the thing that would always catch my eye, were the college exchange presentations. Eventually every time I would go to a regional institute, I would go to the foreign exchange section…Now, instead of going to college after my graduation, I will be going on a foreign exchange to Brazil. As for college, I settled on SUNY Cortland because of their modern facility, outstanding physical training and sports management program. ACE was very beneficial in aiding my decisions that pertain to my future after high school. Without it, I don’t know where I would be going next year.
Erik Sipfle (Tully H.S. 2010)

Over my past four years in the ACE program countless numbers of my classmates have asked me the question, “what is A.C.E.?”  As I reflect on my high school years, I find that my definition has changed drastically since my first ACE event, a Regional Institute, to my last days of high school. ACE has provided me with information that has made my transition to college almost effortless. I always knew that I wanted to attend college, but without ACE I would have had no idea where to start and how to finance my education.    My first response to that familiar question in my freshman year would have been something along the lines of “Oh well, it’s this college thing.” Was it a factually correct response? Yes, but definitely lacking. In my first year I would start building relationships with other college-bound students and make the college dream a reality. ….Each year I attended events my appreciation of the program grew, and my realization of its necessity augmented as well.  Junior year came quickly. I was starting to look at colleges……and also thinking about how I could realistically afford them……but that year I would learn increasingly useful strategies in the process of financial aid. My junior year I finally started telling people “it’s this really cool college prep program, you go on file trips, and learn ton’s about schools.”  ACE prepared me beyond what my guidance counselors could.  As I type…my college plans are solid…I am attending Pepperdine Univ. in the fall with excitement, and anticipation. I find that while many of my friends are worrying about living with a roommate and classes, I am not. I have sat in on classes at local universities, toured the campus of Ivy League Univ. and spoken face to face with teachers and faculty of great colleges. My response this year:  “The best program for getting ready and into college. It helped me so much!”   ACE has provided me with such a strong foundation in my commencement to college education. It has made me comfortable with the prospect of attending a university three thousand miles away, and has given me immense appreciation for those adults who commit to helping students choose their future. ACE has helped me beyond anything it can know.
Robin Presthus (Lansing H.S. 2010)

Throughout my years at Ithaca High School, I have been an active member in the ACE program. Being a part of ACE has played a great role in preparing me for college by putting together many college visits, workshops   and seminars.  Each one of the organized events had different topics including study skills, the application process, college life, how to budget time, and how to overall succeed.  In addition, the trips to different colleges inspired me to work harder in school so that I could increase my chances and opportunities of getting into colleges….Had it not been for ACE, I may not have had the influence and motivation. Although I have consistently worked hard in high school, I struggled in a few classes {Math classes} No matter how hard I tried I could not seem to get a strong hold of the topics. As a result, I often became overwhelmed. While many students gave up, I decided to stick with it and continue to ‘do the best I can’. I knew that if I wanted to get into a good school, I would have to do the best I could to succeed.  I never imagined exactly how well I would do as a result of my hard work and perseverance….I ended up getting one of the highest Regents scores in the school….. I decided to apply to Loyola University because I knew it was a good school and my hard work in school gave me the chance to get accepted there.  I was right. I got the acceptance letter in March, and in addition received a $46,000 scholarship from Loyola to attend ….Had it not been for the ACE program, perhaps I wouldn’t have had the motivation to apply to a great school.  ACE taught me to work harder to achieve the best.
John O’Dwyer (Ithaca H.S. 2010)

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My family was familiar with the program, as my brother Michael ('06) was in the program. I decided to join ACE because of the workshops and the access to local college programs. It all started with the "Orientation (Welcome) Conference" and "Pizza & Bowling", both of which were a great way to get to know other ACE students.  The Summer classes, especially the "Writing Process" and "Study Skills" classes gave me great insight into how to handle many of my H.S. classes.  The yearly "Campus Visits" were a great way to experience everyday life on campus at the local colleges......I would like to thank SUNY Cortland for inviting ACE students to their yearly "Gallery Talk" & tour series and the "Dessert & Dramas".  We have enjoyed these evenings over the past 4 years.  I would like to see my artwork displayed for the public to view and maybe be in the chorus of a play.  I have attended several Regional Institutes.  The highlight of these are the keynote speakers...  I think I was able to attend almost all of the different workshops.  One workshop that stands out was "Transition from H.S. to College."  It showed me how to earn college credits while attending H.S. classes.  Between dual credit classes and online classes when I start college in the fall, I plan to have 42 credits under my belt.  I was also able to learn about the College Admission process and Financial Aid tips.  After attending the "Study Abroad" workshop I think I will explore the program for Austria in my Jr. year.  My favorite workshop was "Life on Campus".  It was interesting to be able to ask questions of students in college and to get real advice on how to handle many different situations.  After attending these workshops and activities I feel I am very prepared for my college experience. I want to thank ACE for the Recommendation Letter which I included in my college applications.  I applied to 4 different colleges and received an acceptance letter from all of them.  I was able to write the college essay and apply for financial aid without any problems thanks to the ACE Regional Institutes.  I have decided to attend Hawaii Pacific Univ. in Honolulu.  I will be majoring in advertising with a minor in psychology.  I am looking forward to the next step in my education, and I feel very comfortable knowing what to expect thanks to the ACE program.
Michele Pfleuger (Homer H.S. '09)

...When I was asked to participate in the ACE program, I accepted right away knowing that it would help me prepare for college, and that is exactly what this program has done for me.  I am the first in my immediate family to go off to a four-year college.....However, after four years of attending ACE programs, I was fully prepared for my college admission process.  I felt 10 steps ahead of my peers because I knew what needed to be done, how much time to give myself, how to apply for scholarships, how to write not just a good essay, but a great essay, and how to apply for financial aid.  I applied to four colleges and was accepted into all four.  I will be attending SUNY Oswego this fall and will be majoring in Journalism. ...Throughout the years...I had the opportunity to participate in activities with other ACE students...as well as college students.  I was able to tour the campuses, sit in on classes, and experience college food.  These programs made me more confident in myself and allowed me to step out of my comfort zone.  This past summer I spent a week at Le Moyne College for the Foreign Language Immersion Program. Then...another week at St. Lawrence Univ. for a Track camp.  I believe that because of the college visits I experienced during my years as an ACE participant, I felt more comfortable going off to these colleges and spending a week away from home.  These experiences have prepared me for my next step as a college student.  ...I look back now and realize how much ACE has influenced my life as a student.  ACE was a way of motivating me to keep my grades up and to further my education. There were so many questions my family and I had about the college process and ACE answered every single one of them.  I would like to take this time to thank everyone that makes the ACE program possible.  It has been an honor to be a part of such an incredible program.
Kaline Mulvihill (Tully H.S. '09) 

When I first started the program, I was a little bit unsure of what it was exactly and how it would help me.........The program was fun though, I remember going to ACE events and hanging out with friends, meeting people, and learning about college through a number of activities and workshops.  {At an Ithaca College event} I realized I would be going to college sooner than I realized and that it was important to start preparing as soon as I could.....My mother and I love the Dessert & Dramas nights especially.  It was a tradition to go out to dinner, then to the plays. It helped us to spend some quality time together, which was rare with work, school, and the large number of sports and activities I participate in.  ...As a senior, I realized exactly how helpful the program was.  As I toured colleges, I knew exactly what I was looking for in a school and would eliminate a school immediately if it did not fit my criteria.   I know that if ACE had not helped me learn what was important in a school, my selection of what school to apply to would be extremely difficult.  After I limited down the number of schools I was interested in, I began my application process.  Because of ACE, I had a lot more knowledge in this area than most of my friends, so I helped them get started on applying as well.  My Mother went to a number of the Financial Aid Workshops, and found them extremely helpful as well.   I am extremely glad I participated in ACE because of how much it helped me through one of the most difficult times in my life--my decision of what to do after high school.  I believe that it helped me get accepted to Ithaca College, which is definitely one of my greatest achievements.  I chose to go to The College at Brockport next year and will participate in the Delta College Program.  In that application essay I stated that out of all my experiences and activities, ACE was the program that has prepared me the most for Delta College.  It helped me grow close to a variety of people and learn how to work with them both socially and academically.  I also said how I am more excited than nervous for next year because I feel very prepared. I truly feel ready for college next year and I thank the ACE program for that.
Thena Gitlin (Dryden H.S. '09)

The ACE program has made a significant impact on my High School career and helped me prepare for college.  Since I began on my ACE journey 5 years ago I never thought it would help me as much as it did.  One of the benefits that ACE has is being able to visit colleges.  Through it I was able to visit schools like Cornell, Cortland State and Ithaca College.  Even though I might not have applied to these schools, it gave me the opportunity to understand what I am looking for in my next level of education.  I learned many things when I went to the classes ACE offered.  One that sticks out in my mind was a seminar where we listened to the instructor and filled out a packet that helped us to become a better student and person.  He showed me that I could do anything I wanted to if I just put my mind to it.  People say that every day but he did it in a way where it made a very big impact on my mind, body and soul. As I go on to the next chapter in my life I will always remember everything that ACE has given me.  I have been given opportunities that no one else would give to H.S. students. I not only learned about college but I learned more about myself and where I see myself in the next five, ten and twenty years. 
Nicole Riccardi (Cortland H.S. '09) 

The Regional Institutes were very helpful for my Mother and I.  I truly enjoyed the 'Study Abroad', 'I Am How I Am', and 'Life on a College Campus' workshops.  The 'Life on Campus' workshop had college students from local colleges available to answer any questions, which presented different views.  The "Dream & Achieve" Event in 10th grade helped open doors between my parents and me about college.  The ACE Program offers many Dessert & Drama Events.  These helped me discover a new interest in theater.  The best 9th grade event for me was Pizza & Bowling because I got to socialize with ACE students from different high schools and got to see another fun activity on a campus.  The overall best event was the "Dollars & Sense" field trip.  This event opened my eyes to how I would like to live, and the reality.   The events above are the events I enjoyed or learned the most from, but there are many other events within the ACE Program.  Without participating in the outstanding program, I do not think I would be as ready for college as I am today.  This program was both educational and enjoyable, I recommend the ACE Program to everyone!
Morgan Mierke (DeRuyter H.S. '09)

ACE provided me with great opportunities throughout H.S.  Because neither of my parents attended college themselves, they weren't very informed about the college process prior to the ACE program.  As a result, my parents and I both benefitted greatly from the experiences ACE provided us with.  Visiting college campuses, attending seminars about the college admissions process, and learning about finances helped me considerably throughout my H.S. career, while other events like plays, and college paraphernalia give-aways sparked my interest in attending college.  ACE provided me with the opportunity to tour campuses such as TC3, Cornell, and Ithaca.  Thus, when it came time for me to visit other campuses on my own ....setting foot on campus was a lot less intimidating......I was more confident in the admissions process. I knew what questions to ask admissions officers, and the college admission process was a lot less overwhelming. ...Attending seminars about different aspects of college helped me focus on making sure that I geared my H.S. class load to meet college admissions requirements and expectations. The advice I absorbed by participating in ACE events enabled me to be successful.  As a result of what I learned through ACE, I made good academic choices so that I would not have regrets when applying...    ACE provided me with a more full and accurate picture of what to expect as I go on to college.  Experiences like student panel discussions enabled me to ask questions from real students and to find out what college is like from students who are experiencing it firsthand.  I feel confident that this added insight and advice from college students will help me make better decisions when I attend college. ACE has helped me be successful as a H.S. student, and I am certain that the opportunities and information that this program provided me with will continue to positively impact my interactions and decision making as I go on to college.
Jenn Randall (Cincinnatus H.S. '09)   

When I decided to participate in the ACE program I wasn't sure if it would be beneficial to me.  I always knew I would attend college, but ACE and its programs really gave me a better idea of what college can offer.  At a small school like mine, the curricular and extracurricular choices are very limited.....The Campus Visits and programs like "Life on the College Campus" gave me a much better understanding of the amount of academic and social decisions I will be making.  "Dollars & Sense" made me think about my future and a career.  I had planned on the possibility of a sport playing a large part in my college experience.  Now, I think about college in terms of what classes or major will help me reach my goal to be a successful, productive and happy adult.  I'm not going to have a career in sports so if they are a part of my college picture, they will be a nice bonus.  The College Essay Writing program helped me a great deal also.  I received good tips about the essay writing process and what colleges would like.  As a result, my essays ended up being much easier to write than I thought they would be.  In addition to the educational programs, I enjoyed many of the others like Pizza & Bowling, Desserts & Dramas, and the Gallery Talk & Tour. These are the types of fun things I look forward to doing at whatever school I choose.  Overall I am very glad I had the opportunity to explore some of the aspects of college before actually attending.  I am excited to begin a new chapter in my life.
Jennifer Cizenski (DeRuyter H.S. '09)

 

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As a senior, I realize the powerful effect that the ACE program had on me and my decision making process with college.  In 9th grade...my parents loved the idea of the program, but I wasn't so sure about it... I started participating in more and more events...This included trips to college campuses, different types of workshops, and more recreational events...All of these events got me interested in college and thinking about it before my senior year came around. ...Visiting the college campuses made me excited for the experiences that I was going to have.  Also, going in the classrooms and talking to professors and students made me realize how much work you had to do in college but that the professors are always there to help you out.  ACE was a good learning experience but also an awesome social experience for me too.  I met so many new people from different schools...it was really fun and exciting for me.  In conclusion, ACE was one of the best things that I got involved in while I was in H.S.  I wish I could go back and appreciate it a little more than I did because now I know ACE was there to help me the whole time and in the long run, ACE did help me out greatly.
Megan O'Donnell (Cortland H.S. '08)

"I have been in ACE since 8th grade.  Because I have a learning disability, entrance to a college might have been difficult for me. ACE focused on helping to make the process easier and has helped me in so many different ways.  I  participated in many of the events which included:  Dollars and Sense, how to spend money during college; College Now, what college life is like currently; College tours of selected colleges; Exploring the Liberal Arts; Dream and Achieve...  These are just some of the workshops I was involved in, and they helped to educate me and develop leadership skills.  Having knowledgeable speakers talk about different topics was a highlight of the ACE program.  Some of the other activities I took advantage of that made me feel really good about going to college were the drama productions. They showed that college has many activities that are fun, too. ... ACE has given me a deeper look at all the things I learned in high school and has taught me how to look at college with a wide eye and broad expectations."  
Stephanie Foote (Ithaca H.S. '08)

"The ACE experience was one that truly benefited me and helped me in choosing the correct path for my future.  Throughout the ACE program, I learned some of the skills that would be needed during my college career...  To me, the ACE program was a lot more than a program to help get me into college.  This program allowed me to slowly progress into college life, as well as build skills that will further my abilities in the college and career that I choose in the future. In addition to the unexpected benefits of the ACE program, I still feel that it was a great stepping stone in helping me get into the college of my dreams. For all these reasons, I am sincerely thankful for having been a part of this amazing program." 
Leah Dutcher (Cortland H.S. '08)

Though those first ACE events have become blurs, the cumulative results will never be forgotten and knowledge gained will benefit me in college and beyond...Back in 9th grade...I was not absolutely positive what I wanted as a career.  That ACE event was quite informative by showing me what to expect and what not to expect when looking into a career.  Hard to believe that the 10th grade trip to SUNY Cortland was two years ago, but time never stops its relentless march.  In 11th grade I got a chance to sit in on two classes at TC3...I realized that college level classes have mostly the same environment as their H.S. counterparts.  A chance to sit in the radio station booth and have some airtime gave me a look at another potential career and I enjoyed learning some radio basics.  The simulated first day of classes (12th grade) was very helpful since I had no idea of what to expect when I arrived and in general, had little clue as to what goes on during the first day of college...it was so helpful to experience that hectic first day at my own pace... The miscellaneous ACE workshops are helpful for both the parents and students.  The students can learn about sly advertising techniques or how sports can enhance your college application while parents learn about financial aid or how to keep your kid safe at college...I am so glad I experienced the after H.S. life in a dry run before the actual events unfold.
Terence Dyson-Curran (Newfield H.S. '08)
 
I like the ACE program because it lets us, as students, experience the college life long before we even decide where we are going to go to college or if we are even going to go.  This program has helped me become more aware of how moving from the H.S. level of learning to the college level is going to be a big change, and how the teachers aren't always going to be there for me like they are in high school.  I've been able to talk to other college students about their own experiences and how things are different.  I'm glad I was able to experience this all, because as much as I'm afraid of the big change in my life that is quickly coming up, I am also ready for the change to happen.
Michelle McUmber (Cincinnatus H.S. '08)

"When I first entered ACE in 9th grade I can honestly say that I didn't care much about college or the ACE program, mainly because I had other things on my mind.  I was a typical 9th grader, thinking I was cool because I was officially in high school....I decided to stick with the program and I'm very happy with my decision and the more ACE events I attended the more I seriously began thinking about college and what it had to offer.  You always hear teachers and parents talk about college and how important it is for you but they never seem to explain what it is like to be there and what you need to go through.  It really makes a difference when you talk to people who are actually experiencing it and hear them share their stories.  It's great to get a view of college from a peer's perspective.  To walk the campuses from building to building was just thrillling. It made me feel like a college student, roaming the campuses with my peers.  I can honestly say now, as a senior looking forward to going to Florida for college next year, I am prepared and excited about what is ahead...without ACE, I don't think I would be as secure and thrilled about actually going."
~Wade Mulvihill (Tully H.S. '07) 

"I feel privileged to have been able to participate in the ACE program during all of my high school career. I have gained a wealth of knowledge about life as a student in college.  I most appreciated the opportunity to visit and tour the campuses of all four colleges in the ACE program. It made me see campus life as a reality and it was exciting to be among college students, professors and classes. One of the most wonderful things about participating in ACE is the amount of encouragement received from such a wide variety of people. The keynote speakers at the Regional Institutes came from diverse backgrounds and told us their stories of success which made me understand that there are many paths to successful careers....I believe that the ACE program is an extremely valuable tool for helping high school students transition to college."
~Sarah Hine (Candor H.S. '07)

"Little did I know that the ACE workshops I took in the summer of my 8th grade year would begin to prepare me for the challenges that I would be facing at the end of my senior year.  ACE has not only prepared me for college but it also strengthened me socially, by forcing me to interact with teenagers from other schools....I especially enjoyed the classroom sessions with just us high school students and the college students from the ACE institutions.  Those sessions taught me the most, because it is easy to talk to someone you can identify with.  I am very thankful to ACE for it allowed me the opportunity to get onto college campuses at a young age....It has benefited me greatly and has ultimately better prepared me for my next step, college."
~Colter Pell (South Seneca H.S. '07)

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...ACE did a spectacular job at educating students on what to expect at college.  I can remember being a 9th grade student at my first ACE field trip and enjoying every minute of it.  I admit to feeling nervous about considering college that soon but, ACE made me feel comfortable and also made me realize that I really should being considering college that early.  After all, ninth grade was when my academics would really begin counting.  ...ACE taught me that college would definitely be different than the high school I am used to. However, it also showed me that it will not be as scary as it may seem and that I am the only one able to make myself successful in college.  Of course there will be guidance from others when needed but it will be my motivation and determination that will help me make it through."
~Alicia Aiken (Cincinnatus H.S. '06)

"The ACE program has helped me a lot in my preparation for college.  Many of the programs have helped me learn what to expect from college classes and professors.  I have found it very helpful to talk to current college students at many of the programs because they are experiencing it right now and you can ask them questions and get 'hands-on experience' answers.  The program has helped make the college application process easier for me.  It has helped me learn about financial aid, studying abroad in college, and college registration.  I have really enjoyed attending the programs.  It is great that there are so many different programs for different grades.  You can go to a lot of different programs and learn a lot of new things.  The programs were always fun, interesting, and informative."
~Autumn Blinn  (Candor H.S. '06)

"I was not thinking of attending college until I participated in th ACE program.  I have attended many activities with ACE starting the summer before my freshmen year.  The first class was 'Study Skills' which helped me focus on my learning style and make the most of it when it came time to take tests, especially the Regents Exams.   ACE also gave me the motivation to not only pass my classes but to maintain a B average which will look good on my transcript for college.  The very next class, 'College is in Your Future' got me hooked.  We explored and discussed career targets, showing me how to get from point A (a freshmen) to point B (planning what skills and education I needed" to point C (a successful career in auto body).  This class showed me that I needed to attend college to become a good auto body technician.  
The Regional Institutes have provided me and my family with all the steps of finding the right college and getting accepted. Workshops including knowing what questions to ask when visiting a college; tips on the college admission process;  applying for financial aid; and transition issues for students with disabilities were very informative.  I especially liked the workshop with the panel of students speaking about life on campus.  It gave me first hand information on what to expect at college.
~Michael Pfleuger  (Homer H.S. '06)

...I enjoyed the campus visits during school. They were a great way to visit the four schools in the area that I probably would not have had the opportunity to explore.  Just getting on the campus was a great experience.  I realized what I liked and what I did not like, and learned what to look for when I visited the colleges I was interested in.  Throughout my four yeas in ACE, I was able to differentiate between all four types of institutes: community colleges, state colleges, private colleges and Ivy League universities.  The summer programs at these schools were also an excellent preparation for the transition to college.  My favorite programs were "Study Skills", (where I learned all about time management which will surely help me when I get to college) "Webucation" (a great experience in designing web pages) and "What's the Science Behind Our Food" (an awesome hands-on experience experimenting with food.)  ACE not only benefited me, but also my parents.  The Regional Institutes workshops on topics such as financial aid have really helped them to help me through the college search and overall process.  It gave a preliminary snapshot in assessing college choices and helped prepare them for the complicated process and transition.  The workshops eased their worries and made them feel more comfortable in the college search process.  They are very grateful for me to have the opportunity to attend the extra courses to help fortify my education.
~Angela Vellake 
 (South Seneca H.S. '05)
 
Coming in to the ACE program, I had my doubts about if I would like to participate with the program. Now being a senior I'm glad I stuck with it. It was a great experience, and I would encourage many other students who are offered the chance to participate to take it. The ACE program helped me in many ways....It's an experience that helps you grow, and feel comfortable about where you are heading in life. Where ever that might be.
~Rachel Busch (Cortland H.S. '04)

Besides helping to find the right college, ACE has shown students what they will be facing. The Writing and Study Skills sessions have prepared me for what is in store. Career exploration events helped to narrow my field of interest and develop a suitable college major. The study abroad discussion at one of the regional institutes helped in my decision to become a rotary exchange student......Learning about the college process as a freshman or sophomore is essential so students are not overwhelmed as juniors and seniors"
~John Koltz (Cortland H.S. '04)

ACE's true power isn't held by any one activity.  I can't honestly say that, yes, dessert and drama changed my whole outlook on the college experience, or that the trip to TC3 changed my life.  What has ACE done then?  ACE, to me, isn't a program about visits or speakers.  ACE isn't about stopping by local High Schools for punch and moving from room to room to hear about student life, or getting out of school for the day.  ACE is about facing decisions as an adult.  ACE is being treated as an adult, slowly working up to the most momentous decision of our youth: our educations. ...I'm far from saying that ACE doesn't lead you through hoops like a terrier. Yes, ACE does this.  You are always led to the same conclusions, the same important lessons are learned, the same questions always asked and answered.   But ACE gives you the lessons more like dad handing you the car keys on a Friday night.  You know there's a lesson to learn, he knows you'll learn it, he's just not going to force it.  ...The lessons taught only present themselves when you learn them in an adult manner: for yourself.  Without ACE I wouldn't have taught myself these lessons.  I wouldn't be armed with the knowledge that it takes to attend college today.
~John Rudy (Fabius Pompey H.S. '03)

My first few ACE events were attended more out of obligation to my mother's bribes than out of any interest on my part.  Who can blame me?  In eighth grade the last thing on my mind was college.  It seemed like forever away to me.  Then my mom started working for ACE and it seemed like every other day there was another event to go to.  However, as I went to more (and more) events I reluctantly began to enjoy myself.  First there was the opportunity to meet new people.  Meeting kids my age from other schools was a lot of fun and I developed a lot of close friendships.  I also got the opportunity to meet and talk to admissions counselors, people in financial aid, and college professors.  Meeting these people has helped me to learn how to develop professional relationships.  I've learned a lot from the different workshops offered by ACE.  Everything from information about financial aid, to writing a college application essay.  I hope to continue to work with the program by being on their college panels and telling new ACE students that this program is definitely a worthwhile experience.
~Brianna Petracca (Cortland H.S. '03)

"In the middle of 8th grade, all I could think about was going to high school football games and dances with those people that I thought were the "cool" crowd. College was the last thing on my mind, which was why I laughed when my guidance counselor brought the ACE program to my attention. My thought was that I was only 13, why would I be interested in a program to get me into college? As I found out, ACE is more than just helping kids get into college. It is about building confidence while teaching skills."
~ Bridget Seamans (Cortland H.S. '02)

"College, the final academic frontier, the pressure to attend has been evident since the word first entered my vocabulary. So why am I so pumped to attend now, well ACE opened my eyes to the future. Through ACE I've been introduced to the benefits of a college education and experiences. For instance, the different jobs I'll have access to that would otherwise be out of reach as a high school graduate. On top of that the many different experiences I can have and the many different people I can meet. Through ACE I was also introduced to college dorm life and a real feel for the classes and the pace of life college sets for its students."
~ Jeff Erickson (South Seneca H.S. '02)

"Four years ago I was offered the opportunity to join a program called ACE. At the time I unknowingly embarked on a journey that would eventually be the most informative experience of my life. After attending numerous Institutional events and visiting many colleges, it has been apparent that ACE is well worth its time. The program has given me many opportunities to experience college life, and my hat goes off to this wonderful organization!"
 ~ Becky Frost (Homer H.S. '02)

"I consider myself lucky to have been a part of the ACE program, because not everyone has had the chance to be a part of this program. It has helped me in so many ways and it's hard to list all of them because it would take so long. And, I got to meet lots of new people that if it hadn't been for ACE, I never would have. With all the programs I took to help me in my preparation for college, I will be ready to start college in the fall wherever I decide to go."
~ Laura Fowler (Ithaca H.S. '02)

 

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