Reporting by Esther Ben Ami, Ethan Luxor, Eric Moy, Chayyah Wilder, and Dominic Yegorov

Like many others in his class, Sebastian Schaffino, Upper House, is focused on maintaining good grades during his first senior semester. For Harvest seniors, the first few months of the school year are critical. Whether it’s preparing for college interviews, tests, filling out financial aid forms or writing college essays, they have a lot on their plate. Now’s the time for students to decide their future for the next four years, all in five months or less.

Sebastian is enrolled in AP English Literature this year. These Advanced Placement classes are college-level classes only offered to Harvest students once they enter Upper House. In 2016, Chancellor Carmen Farina announced a citywide initiative, AP for All, expanding the number of schools that offered AP courses. Research from the Brookings Institution, however, found that taking Advanced Placement classes did not have a “strongly predictive positive impact on college readiness.” At Harvest, upper house students can enroll in AP courses such as AP U.S. History in 11th grade, and AP Literature and AP Economics in 12th. Students can sign up for College Now classes at Hunter through the school, as well choose to take College Now Statistics, a College Now course taught in the school.

When asked if he had enough guidance, Sebastian answered yes, regarding Susan and Tara, the school’s college counselors, as being very on top of things. Susan and Tara have their office on the fifth floor room 525 right next to the bathrooms and the staircase. Students regularly receive college-related emails from Susan and Tara and are able to set up a meeting with one of them if they require individual counseling.

Sebastian expressed some dissatisfaction about the difficulties he felt his advisor was having to truly assist him in his college process.

“My advisor tries to help me, but she’s always jumping from person to person,” in the advisory, he said. “For example, she’d start helping me with something, but then, before she’s done helping me, she’d go to another person, and then another person, and then another person.”

Part of the senior advisor’s job is to help all their students through the college application process. Sebastian did go on to admit, “it’s because she has to help everyone.”