Senior College Information with Mr. Muzio


Mr. Muzio

Mr. Muzio heads our guidance department.

Mckenzie Post, Associate Editor

On a Thursday afternoon, I popped into Mr. Muzio’s office to have a quick conversation about college applications for the class of 2021 and what they entail. A couple of nights prior, we had a Senior College Meeting, where over a hundred students and their families joined to get all of the information about everything related to the college application process. This year with the pandemic, things are a bit chaotic, so these answers from Mr. Muzio could put some minds at ease. 


The first thing I asked was about his opinion on what the most important thing that seniors should focus on for college as of right now. 


Eager to answer, he stated, “As of this date, only a handful of seniors have matched their Common App and Naviance account. So we should do first things first, and have all seniors match their Common App with their Naviance account. After that, I think they should complete the Common App, start working on their essay especially if they have an early deadline, and they really should aim to complete that by October 1st.” 


With that informative answer, I ask the next question: With school activities and sports limited this year, do you think students should still include those on their college applications even if they aren’t happening this year because of COVID? 


He jumps on the question—“Absolutely! Absolutely, they should list them, they had every intention of doing them and like every other aspect of their application, it should be factual. So if you had no intention of joining the wrestling team—don’t put down the wrestling team.” We both laugh at this because we know a few kids for sure would do this. He continues, “But if you’re a three-year member of that team, then, by all means, put it down for senior year.”


I quickly moved onto the next question as I even wanted to know what he would say about this quite controversial and hot topic. I asked: do you recommend students  take the SAT/ACT if they haven’t registered already? 


Mr. Muzio paused for a minute before looking back to answer, “This is a question that… there is more than one answer to. It really does depend on the student. And the counselors and I have talked about this a lot. If a student is prepared, that’s really the key. If a student has been studying, practice testing, and so on, then I would say find a test center and take the test. If they haven’t looked at a website or opened up a book yet— It may not be a good idea. We always try to say get at least one of these tests in your portfolio. This is an odd year and many schools are test-optional. I want to add something to that, if a student is going test-optional, it’s all the more reason to make your senior year grades stunning.”  


With this response and the answers to other questions that will be asked, a big theme is making the choice that is right for you. Everyone’s situation is different especially during this time, and Mr. Muzio really emphasized that when he answered my questions. 


For my next question, I had to ask because my parents and I still get confused about this. Some students want to know the difference between Early Action and Early Decision? In what scenarios would you choose one or the other?


He began, “Okay, Early Action and Early Decision are very similar as they both have an early deadline and they both promise to tell the applicant if they are accepted by an earlier date usually December. Where they differ is in the obligation of the student. Early Action is not binding unless specified as there are some schools that are exclusive Early Action such as Yale University. But most Early Action schools are not binding so you can apply to multiple schools Early Action. Early Decision is binding. So that means if you apply and you are accepted to that school— you must attend. I only recommend Early Decision if it is your absolute number one choice and you can afford it because you don’t have an aid package by the time you get accepted.”


For many students and families, that probably cleared up a bit. Another main issue with this year is the major change of plans for almost every person applying for college. Now people are questioning whether they should add on more safe colleges closer to home. So I asked Mr. Muzio: How many schools he thinks students should apply to (how many reach schools, safe schools, etc.) especially with the high stress regarding Covid? 


He paused for a minute to take in the question and assessed the circumstances before answering. He said, “I don’t think that’s changed due to Covid. I think students have always applied to multiple schools to more or less cover their bases. They apply to schools that are safe, schools that are a reach, schools that are financial safeties and they apply to schools that are a financial reach. The only difference this year is that they might apply to a school, let’s say like Nassau Community College, in the event that everything is shut down.” 


As a senior and just as a person, with the pandemic, I faced many challenges with my anxiety and struggled with finding motivation and hope with the isolation for months. Millions of people around the world struggled to cope with the immense disruption in their schedules and lives. This was extremely hard for teens and children in school, especially those like this year’s seniors who have to make big decisions about the future, even though we don’t know when life will get back to normal. I saw on the Common Application there was an additional question where you can describe your experience with the pandemic and how it may have altered your life and/or your performance in school. 


To close and finish up my interview, I asked Mr. Muzio a packed final question: What do you think about the Covid-19 supplement question on the Common Application, and should every student try to answer this question with their experience with Covid? Also, what advice would you give to seniors and their families for making the best decisions with colleges?


He responded, “Again, more than one right answer here. I think certainly if your experience with Covid can be spun in a way that shows your resilience or shows your empathy, then I think it’s positive. Also, I have hopes for our small liberal arts colleges- our hidden gems, to stay afloat. Again, there are a lot of right answers here but it’s based upon the individual and based on the colleges they are applying to. I recommend most if not all of our students file a FAFSA and to be proactive in looking and researching the financial aid resources at a college. There is nothing wrong with calling a financial aid office and asking about scholarships. We have a scholarship database on our website so that students can access those as well. Finally, I think it’s important to enter September 2021 with multiple plans. So that we have to live in a world of optimism so the college of our choice will be available to us in a real way. But I think it is very important to have a backup plan.”


With those wonderful words of advice, he asked “Was I succinct enough?” before he stopped to add one last piece of information. “I should’ve really mentioned more of our website. I just updated it. There’s a lot of virtual meetings, special —thanks to Mrs. Prestianni on that—and we have college fairs set up, service academy nights so just make sure you get that in there”.

“I work with a very knowledgeable and caring group of counselors. They advise me! Without them, I don’t have all the answers.”


You heard it here, folks: I highly recommend going to our high school website,, and going to Wantagh High School and really taking advantage of the many resources listed mainly under the guidance section. I hope this interview with the fantastic Mr. Muzio helped give some seniors and their families a bit of confidence with their college search. If you have any questions regarding your college application, or anything in general, Mr. Muzio is the guy to go along with your counselor!