Gidos weighs in on competitive college admissions across MCVSD


CHS guidance counselor Sandra Guidos weighs in on Communications High School students majoring in things other than communications.

Zaina Saif

As 2023’s wave of acceptances, deferrals, waitlists and rejections have begun rolling out for high school seniors everywhere, many are begging the question of what goes into admission at a top university. This seemingly random process has many stringent factors, and Communications High School (CHS) guidance counselor Sandra Gidos shares her insight into the weight of these aspects.

CHS’ history with competitive college admissions in the context of other MCVSD schools is an involved phenomenon to address, according to Gidos. She believes the high school a student attends does make a difference in their admissions, but it goes hand in hand with a student’s choice of major.

“Out of all the academies, our students are most diversified as far as majors just because our students don’t necessarily all the time major in communications,” Gidos said. “For example, we might have students who applied to engineering schools coming out of Communications which is different from if they are applying [to college] from a different academy.”

Senior Mark Viggiano of Ocean is a computer science major who applied to top universities like Harvard, MIT and Carnegie Mellon. He shares this sentiment with Gidos as he’s reflected on his college application process, but has noticed that the CHS education yields an often overlooked benefit.

“I definitely do think just the course materials and course offerings would make a computer science applicant from High Technology High School have a little more of an edge,” Viggiano said. “I think what CHS gives you is the unique opportunity of being able to learn public speaking, the design aspects of technology. That’s a skill that a lot of these engineering schools don’t focus on.”

This versatility in the CHS curriculum versus the concentration at other academies is a likely influence in student’s choices of study.

“I think the other [MCVSD] schools are more geared to their majors, for example more of the Biotech or High Tech students would go into the STEM fields,” Gidos said.

These statements are supported by self-reported data from the CHS Class of 2022, showing that 36 out of 67 decided majors were outside of the communications and humanities fields. This is more than half of the last graduating CHS class, and shows a stark comparison to Biotechnology High School’s self reported student data, which reports that 80% of the class of 2022 matriculated to college pursuing a major in STEM.

Gidos emphasizes that the contrast between the areas of study pursued by MCVSD students can explain the differences in admissions decisions.

“I think we’re not comparing apples to apples all the time,” she said.