Class of 2020, Fordham Gibelli School of Business Honors Scholar
Loyola Chicago, Northeastern, Fordham, Catholic University of America, Drexel, Davidson, Boston University, Scripps, Boston College, Washington University in St. Louis
A total of ~$1,144,000 from various universities; $1000 from Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference; $5000 from United States Senate Youth Program; $2500 from National Merit Association (PSAT)
Describe your experience with the college application process
IThe college application process was incredibly long for me, as I let my meticulous side take over and carefully examine each school, essay, and scholarship for the specifics I wanted. That being said, I wouldn’t have done it any other way; after heavily researching schools and working hard on essays, I was able to trust my decisions and re-use pieces I had written for many different purposes. Hughes Tutoring helped reassure me I was following the right steps and encouraged me to explore opportunities I wouldn’t have thought of before, and it all paid off.
What would you do differently if you could?
I would probably worry less about my specific major and the schools I was looking at based on that idea. I originally thought I would like to pursue Journalism, but after getting some hands-on experience at the Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference (a scholarship and all-expense-paid trip to D.C. that Kelly showed me and helped me apply for) I realized that wasn’t for me. I toyed with English or Law, but I eventually settled on business--something I never would have thought of before. Lo and behold, I’ve been accepted to a business program where I’ll get to study on three different continents in three years. I could not have predicted I’d be heading down this path, so I would have worried less about that initially. Generally, like many high school juniors and seniors, I’d tell myself to calm down and trust that I’ll end up where I need to be, as long as I put in the necessary work.
What's the best piece of advice you can give to upcoming seniors/current juniors?
Oh, I guess I was getting ahead of myself with my answer to the last question, so I’ll repeat once more- take a chill pill and RELAX. The college process, as we have or are experiencing, is incredibly stressful; with hundreds of majors and colleges with outrageous tuitions, it’s easy to feel completely overwhelmed. Even though these feelings are totally legitimate (and normal, you’re not alone), it’s so important to trust that you’ll end up where you’re meant to be. Don’t misinterpret what I mean, though--this does not mean “slack off on your applications.” The best thing you can do for yourself to ease the stress is to start early and work efficiently. Especially when it comes to standardized tests, taking the PSAT seriously and trying out your ACT/SAT by the end of junior year will help you feel well underway. Writing a really strong Common App essay that you’re passionate about and a few powerful short essays will allow you to recycle writing that you’re confident in and help you accomplish more. If you’ve worked hard and kept your eye on the ball, there’s nothing to worry about--it will all come together!
Of which aspect of your applications are you most proud?
I’m most proud of my Common App essay. I adapted it from a short story I wrote in English class about my twin brother and me. My twin brother has autism with severe social and language impairment, and writing this short story was one of the most effortless things I’ve ever written; the dialogue and themes are a part of my everyday life and that made the story very personal and striking. The essay covers many aspects of our relationship, from my guardianship to his idiosyncrasies to his tearful awareness that I’ll be going away for college next fall. It’s definitely the most personal piece of my application, and more than any of my other achievements I think it really reflects my personality, ambitions, and values.
What are you most excited about for next fall?
I’m most excited to explore a huge city like New York and experience all the cultural opportunities. Although I love Montana, I’m ready to engage in a more diverse community and reach out into the world more. I can’t wait to start exploring the field of business and molding it into something that helps me express my talents and help others, all while meeting new people who share my interests.
If you were in charge of college admissions for a day, what would you change?
This may be more of a financial aid issue, but I hate the process of disallowing “stacking scholarships.” By preventing “stacking scholarships,” students who earn third party scholarships and those who don’t are essentially viewed the same and left in the same financial situation, even though the students who applied for more scholarships had to work harder to achieve no better result. I think that’s unfair, and especially as schools try to win students over by promoting their affordability, they should allow students to use outside scholarships rather than negating them.