Officials and Students Share Changes and Experiences during COVID Pandemic
Each year, Berkeley College hosts events in which high school counselors participate to help inform the students they serve about the college admissions process. This year’s event for members of the Bergen County School Counselors Association took place outdoors in Paramus, NJ, on October 27, 2020, and was accessible virtually. Officials shared the College’s flexible hybrid and online approach to teaching and learning during the COVID environment. Students spoke about how the education and support at Berkeley College impacts their lives.
“At Berkeley College, we truly are a family. We know our students’ names. Students aren’t numbers; each student represents a worthy and growing life with potential to positively impact not only themselves, but also their families and their communities,” said Michael J. Smith, President of Berkeley College.
Kerry Leto, School Counselor, Maywood Avenue School, and Co-President, Bergen County School Counselor’s Association, who attended the event in person, acknowledged the commitment of Berkeley College to educating the educational community. “Berkeley College has always been generous with their knowledge and resources,” Leto said. “Berkeley representatives are willing to come into the schools or to meet virtually with students to help walk them through the college process.”
Leto said she also appreciated the portion of the program presented by Dallas Reed, PhD, Vice President, Berkeley College Student Development and Campus Life, whose inspiring talk to the association members, titled “Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable,” walked the audience through all of the changes experienced during the past year. Reed helped to identify those feelings. “She helped us put ourselves in the shoes of our students … I think that is the biggest challenge, that the teachers, administration, parents, school counselors – the people who are there to help the students navigate through tough times – are themselves going through tough times.”
Two representatives from Lyndhurst High School, Tom Rowland, Dean of Students, and Susan Leidemer, School Counselor, said they were delighted to see one of their former students, Angelena Jimenez, who graduated from Lyndhurst High School in 2020, among the Berkeley College students who spoke at the event.
“One of the main reasons I attended the event was to hear Angelena speak and to learn about how Berkeley College was able to open during COVID. I would like to share those best practices with our school,” said Rowland.
“Mr. Rowland is why I am here today. He had my back the entire time. When I graduate, I will dedicate my college diploma to him,” said Jimenez, who is in her first semester at Berkeley College, majoring in Criminal Justice.
Jimenez told the school counselors in the audience that she was somewhat shy when she started college. “That changed at Berkeley. Today I am speaking at my second event and I have joined two clubs,” said Jimenez.
“Helping students plan their journey (after high school) starts with a lot of different conversations. It’s important to be a sounding board and to help students sort through their choices,” said Rowland. Staying in New Jersey gives students the option of being close to home and to save on their tuition costs, Rowland added.
“You don’t have to go far to enjoy the full college experience,” said Leidemer, who noted that the personal counseling services available to Berkeley College students are so essential, especially during these times. Leidemer added that smaller colleges like Berkeley also allow students to “build the relationships and personal connections that are so important to student success.”
Ronee Lynn Cozza, School Counselor, Becton Regional High School in Rutherford, NJ, appreciated the opportunity to meet with school officials and students at the outdoor tent event in Paramus. “Getting outside, being with colleagues and enjoying everything Berkeley offered today … From the tour, breakfast and speaker... I am grateful for the day and feeling of hopefulness that I left with,” Cozza said. Others participated remotely through an online livestream of the program.
About Berkeley College
Berkeley College, founded in 1931, is a career-focused institution accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education that offers students Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs in more than 20 career fields. The College also offers continuing education programs to enhance career credentials.
Berkeley College has campuses in Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park, NJ, as well as in Midtown Manhattan and White Plains, NY, with more than 4,900 students enrolled. In addition, Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans, for seven consecutive years. The website address is www.BerkeleyCollege.edu
The mission of Berkeley College is to empower students to achieve lifelong success in dynamic careers.
Photo Caption: New Jersey Senator Joseph A. Lagana (above, left) speaks with students at Berkeley College in Paramus during the annual event held for members of the Bergen County School Counselors Association on October 27, 2020. Officials and students shared their experiences with Berkeley College’s flexible hybrid and online approaches to teaching and learning, as well as the resources and support services available to students during the COVID environment.