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How to take the next step

"I think it went really well. I think the kids got some ideas about putting the process of senior year in perspective...I think we as parents forget how stressful it is," she said.

Kissinger added she'd like to see a more diverse panel next time around, perhaps including graduates who chose to enter the workforce or join the military.

This year's panel did include a student who decided to take a gap year. Lincoln Frasca, who will be attending the University of Vermont in the fall, said it was a good decision for him and advised students to make decisions they're comfortable with, not just what is expected of them.

"It's important to find what you're passionate about," he said. "This is about you."

Hudson Valley Community College student Raeann Kitchen told students the best way to shop for a college isn't online or in a catalog.

"Visit as much as possible," she said. "See how the atmosphere is. You can tell a lot by being there a whole day."

The other panelists were Packy Carroll, Hobart William Smith College; Dan Krzkowski, University at Albany; Julie Landrigan, Central College (Pella, Iowa); Lauren Manning, Connecticut College; and Colleen O'Conner, Duke University.

Students who would be interested in joining a panel next year, or anyone interested in getting involved with Bethlehem Opportunities Unlimited, can contact Kissinger at kkmk@nycap.rr.com. ""

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