Many public schools don’t have the resources to provide the sort of college counseling that private schools do, and it puts public school students—particularly those whose parents did not attend college—at a distinct disadvantage in the college application process. The whole college application process is much more competitive and confusing than it used to be, which makes CV’s work all the more valuable to the community. CV is equally, if not more, valuable in the support it provides students after they matriculate. – Lauren Zurier, Esq
Read her interview below.
Could you tell me a little about yourself?
I am originally from outside Philadelphia, PA, but I’ve lived in Rhode Island since 1990 when my husband, a Providence native, convinced me to move here. For the past 25 years I’ve been an appellate prosecutor in the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office, representing the state in criminal cases before the Rhode Island Supreme Court. My husband and I have three children, the youngest of whom is still in college, and all of whom attended the Providence Public Schools. In my spare time, I like to read (fiction, nonfiction, the backs of cereal boxes), try to exercise, and walk on nature trails. I do my best to avoid binging on Netflix, but shows like Black Mirror sometimes make me break my promise.
What is the hardest part about being a lawyer?
It’s sometimes difficult for any lawyer to accept the limitations of an advocate’s role. As a lawyer in the criminal justice system, I always need to distinguish between the outcome I am advocating for as a prosecutor and the outcome I might like to see personally.
What was your educational journey like?
I attended a large public high school in a blended urban/suburban school district where only about one-third of the students in my 500+ person graduating class attended a post-secondary educational program. When I got into Harvard University, my guidance counselor tried to dissuade me from attending it because of the expense involved, but my parents supported my decision to attend even though, with five children, it was a financially difficult decision for them to make. Harvard was an amazing place to go to college, but it also revealed to me the great disparities between private and public high school education, well-funded versus poorly funded public schools, and the uneven levels of access to educational opportunities.
What advice do you wish you had as a first-year college student?
I wish I knew in advance that I didn’t have to read every page of every assignment in order to master curriculum content. Some sort of study skills seminar in advance of freshman year would have been really useful.
What moved you to donate to CV?
I first heard of the wonderful work CV does when my children attended Classical High School, as CV supported some of their friends’ application efforts. Meanwhile, because of my long-time involvement as an alumni interviewer for Harvard, I was familiar with how much better a college application can be when an applicant is savvy about the application process. It always disturbed me that many public school students don’t have access to the best advice because their guidance counselors have overwhelming caseloads or because their parents aren’t knowledgeable about the process. Once my own children went off to college, I began to focus on ways I could “give back” in this particular area, and CV immediately seemed like the most natural fit.
Do you think CV is an important resource to the community and why?
Many public schools don’t have the resources to provide the sort of college counseling that private schools do, and it puts public school students—particularly those whose parents did not attend college—at a distinct disadvantage in the college application process. The whole college application process is much more competitive and confusing than it used to be, which makes CV’s work all the more valuable to the community. CV is equally, if not more, valuable in the support it provides students after they matriculate. College isn’t an award; it’s a gateway, and passing through the gateway is just the beginning of four years of hard work. Not everyone can do that without some individualized support. If I’d had someone show me better study skills freshman year, my own transition would have been a lot easier!
Lauren is an amazing CV donor and volunteer who understands how critical it is for low-income, first-gen students to be supported not only through the admissions process, but through to college graduation. We are proud to have such dedicated people supporting CV students. Thank You!