Jackson, Yale University, Class of 2021

What were your goals for college admission? Did you accomplish them?

I wanted to find a place where I would be academically challenged and exposed to new ideas. I was looking to study at a place where I could receive an excellent education in science and mathematics without compromising my study of language and the humanities. Looking back after a year of college, I am happy to say that I did find was I was looking for.

What was most helpful about working with Hughes College Prep?

Having someone to help me stay on track through the final few months was really invaluable. There's so much to do when applying, so many essays to revise and so many forms to fill out, and it's amazingly helpful to have someone there with you making sure that everything is done ahead of schedule so that you aren't scrambling at the last minute.

Were you accepted to one of your top three school choices?

Yes, I was accepted to Yale and Harvey Mudd College.

What was the biggest surprise, good or bad, about the admissions process in general?

I was probably most surprised by just how much writing there was involved. In addition to the common application essay, almost every school asks for a few supplemental essays, and then there are all the forms to fill out. All in all, it's a heck of a lot of writing, and you'll probably spend Junior and Senior year revising and revising before you finally hit send.

What is one bit of advice you would give to parents of college-bound students? 

Hello parents! I'm really glad that you're supportive of your son or daughter in this process --- it's a tough few months, working day in and day out on your application and then having to wait for months to find out where you got in, and it's really helpful to have someone to support you through that. But, while it may seem a bit counter-intuitive to what I just said, the biggest piece of advice that I can give you is to let your child make their own decision come May. Choosing a school is a really personal decision, and it's one that we need to make on our own. I know it's hard to step back and not be so involved at this point, but it's the best thing that you can do to help us make the right choice.

What is one bit of advice you would give to the students themselves?

Read the student newspapers of the places you're thinking about attending. Actually, find out anything you can about the schools you're considering from non-scholastic sources (that is, resources that aren't published by the college or university in question). It's there that you'll find a real picture of what life is like at all these places, and it will help you make an informed decision about where you want to spend the next four years of your life. Find out what issues matter to the student body. What are current students saying about their classes, and their experience at college.