Student Profiles

Student Profile: Déja T., Class of 2015

Déja T. 

Pebblebrook High School (Cobb County Center for Excellence in the Performing Arts)
Mableton, GA

Stats:
GPA: 3.83
Rank: 28/427
ACT: 27

Activities:

Founder: The STEAM TeAm
National Honor Society
National Beta Club
Varsity Track and Field
Voices of Praise Choir
Portraits of Praise Liturgical Dance Ensemble
Angelic Dance Ministry
Young Daughters of the King Step Ministry
Mission to Trinidad & Tobago; Dominican Republic
Turner Chapel Church Education Ministry Ambassador

Accepted:
Fisk University
Xavier University of Louisiana 

Denied:
Duke

College Choice:
Xavier University of Louisiana

Major: Biology

Aspirations: To become a Physiatrist (a doctor who
specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation) and treat high performance athletes and performers

Scholarships: Xavier University Merit Scholarship – $60,000; The AME Church Sixth Episcopal District Lay Organization Millennium Scholarship ($2000); The Rev. Cassandra Young Marcus Award of Academic Excellence and Ministry Service ($1500); The Turner Chapel Village Award for Ministry Service ($1200); The PEARL Foundation Scholarship ($800); Worship Arts Ministry Service Award ($700); Bernard C. McNair Jr. Award (Laptop)

What type of college did you want and why? 

I wanted a fairly small environment with an excellent pre-med program AND a track record for graduates being accepted into medical school. I also didn’t want to be too far from home. Basically, I was completely sold on Xavier University of Louisiana since visiting during 2014 College Tour. I really didn’t want to apply to other schools, but my parents made me. I wasn’t motivated to complete the process with some of the schools, especially after I was accepted to Xavier.

What type of support did you receive during the college admissions process? 

My mom was my biggest motivation. She stayed on me and tried to keep me organized with tables and checklists, etc. She also edited and re-edited my essays. I also received extensive support from Mr. and Mrs. Wynn and the Turner Chapel Education Ministry’s 2015 College Planning Cohort, my Small Group Coach, as well as other Small Group Coaches. My school counselor was also helpful and responsive whenever I needed her assistance. I was also grateful to my teachers and ministry leaders who didn’t hesitate to write glowing recommendation letters for me. I was humbled by their letters and at how happy they were to write them.

What was most stressful about applying to colleges? 

I believe that applying for scholarships was the most stressful part of the college application process. There were so many different things going on at once, it was just hard to stay organized. Figuring out which recommendation letter went to which application, which essay more thoroughly answered the given prompt, and when each application was due, was a lot to handle in the most important months of my last semester of high school. Having a strong support system and those you can go to who really KNOW you for help and for recommendation letters is very important.

What did you learn? 

I learned that I am actually very good at things in which I have been doubting myself over the past couple of years. I learned the importance of planning everything and remaining organized, as well as the value of making strong and lasting relationships with those around you, be it teachers, administrators, parents, ministry leaders, pastors, or friends. Lastly, I learned that time really does pass by quickly and that I need to make the best of every moment.

The Money Factor! 

I didn’t qualify for any federal grants, so I knew I would have to apply for lots of scholarships. I was blessed to receive several private scholarships through my church and through a local chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. In addition, after receiving a partial merit-based scholarship to Xavier, I knew I needed to take the ACT again and earn a higher score so that I could qualify for additional funds. I received the score I needed (and made almost a perfect score in reading, which surprised me)! I am waiting to see if my award amount will be increased. I am also still applying for national and local scholarships and waiting for responses.

What do you wish you had done differently? 

I wish I had done everything earlier so I wasn’t cramming at the last minute. I wish I would have managed my time better.

What is your advice? 

My advice would be to start everything early: testing, college applications, scholarship applications, community service, extracurricular activities, and leadership opportunities. It is best to have most of these qualities throughout your high school years, so colleges don’t look at your applications and think that you only got involved in things in your last year of high school just to “play up” your resumé. Also, if you have a rigorous academic schedule and are involved in extracurricular activities and community service, make sure you remain balanced and keep your priorities straight, because it is easy to get distracted. Lastly and most importantly, set solid goals and remain prayed up. Whenever you feel like giving up or you feel like you aren’t going to be able to make it through whatever is happening in your life right now, just pray and remember your goals and how you want to see yourself in 4+ years. It is truly motivating.

 

Student Profile: Arielle C., Class of 2014

Arielle C. 

Marietta High School
Marietta, GA

Stats:
GPA: 3.85
Rank: 104/492
SAT: 1680

Activities:

Arielle’s Babysitting and Hair Styling/Braiding
Paisley Academy of Performing Arts
Turner Chapel AME Church Education Ministry, Portraits of Praise Dance Ensemble, and Video Ministry
Emory Summer Volunteer Program
Wheeler High School Orchestra (Viola)
National Spanish Honors Society
National Science Honors Society

College Choice: 

Xavier University of Louisiana

Major: Biology

Aspirations: To attend Medical School

Accepted: 

Hampton University
Howard University
Xavier University of Louisiana

Scholarships and Grants:

Gates Millennium Scholar Finalist
Xavier University Academic Award
Church and Local Scholarships

What type of college did you want and why? 

When it came time to chose a college, it was an extremely difficult decision. However, I knew for sure that I wanted to attend an HBCU. I had the opportunity to go on two college tours during high school during my sophomore and junior year. After touring multiple colleges and universities, I decided that I would thrive best at an HBCU. Ultimately, I chose to attend Xavier, which is the only Catholic HBCU in the country and ranks number one for having the highest number of black Medical School graduates. It is also located in one of the most unique, culturally rich, and eccentric cities in the US: New Orleans. After one year at Xavier, I know I made the right decision because I know I am receiving a quality education that will best shape me for Medical School. During high school I always thought that the face of success was always either Asian or Caucasian. Attending Xavier has completely altered my thinking. It is amazing to be able to meet people and attend a university where other black students share my passion for learning and success. I love attending a university where excellence is the expectation. I chose to attend an HBCU to not only meet my academic needs but to be a part of a community, a family, that will always support me and have my best interest at heart. The other factor that helped me choose Xavier was the size. It is a small school that is comprised of at least 3,000 undergraduate students. This is important because I am able to get individualized attention from my professors—which is pertinent to my academic success and future job opportunities and there is a very strong sense of community at the University.

What type of support did you receive during the college admissions process? 

I do not believe that my college admission process would have been as smooth as it was if it had not been for Mr. and Mrs. Wynn and the College Planning Cohort offered at my church (Turner Chapel AME, Marietta, GA). They helped me develop my résumé, college admission essays, navigate the financial aid process, and revise my scholarship essays. And of course, my mother supported me and definitely prayed for me during this stressful time. She encouraged me, especially when it came down to my anxiety about which college to choose.

What was most stressful about applying to colleges? 

Ohhhh, the stress that is associated with the college application process. Senior year is stressful enough as it is with maintaining academics, a social life, family relationships, extracurricular activities, sports, etc., but in addition to the college application process, it can bring some people close to tears—I had a few breakdowns myself. The most stressful part was finding time to work on my essays.

What did you learn? 

I learned that doing things ahead of time will save you a WORLD of heartache, pain, and a mouthful from your mother (which could also cause a little bit of pain). In all seriousness, it is best to submit all applications, whether it is to a college or scholarship committee AT LEAST a month in advance, if not earlier. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE. This will cause unnecessary stress for you and your parents. Have multiple copies of your résumé at your disposal, request your official transcripts weeks in advance, ask for your letters of recommendation at least 4 to 6 weeks PRIOR to the date that you plan to submit your applications, look at all of the documents that the school and/or scholarship committee is requesting, and check your email regularly. Most importantly, have a calendar and mark all of your due dates!

The Money Factor! 

The money factor is definitely important. I was a Finalist for the Gates Millennium Scholarship, due to circumstances beyond my control, I wasn’t eligible for the Pell Grant. However, I received an academic scholarship from Xavier and several outside scholarships.

What do you wish you had done differently? 

If I could go back I would have better prepared for my standardized tests, especially the ACT. If I had, I would have been offered more scholarship money and would have been able to exempt a few college courses.

What is your advice? 

My advice to students is to never give up. As cliché as it sounds it is important to remember to just push through, especially senior year. If you are privileged enough to be in a college planning support program like the College Planning Cohort at my church, take it seriously. Get the work done and treat it like one of your academic classes. Listen to counselors—and your parents. I promise; they know what they’re talking about. Finally, to the seniors: BREATHE, it will be over soon. Keep pushing. All of your tears and sacrifices will be worth it at the end. I promise.

My advice to the parents is stay on your students. They will seem to have everything under control, like a duck on water; everything looks fine on the surface but really they’re struggling to stay afloat. And if his or she is anything like me, he or she will not ask for help until the last minute. So help them stay on top of their college applications, scholarship applications, and school work. Ask them about their progress. Even though they probably have not asked for your help when it comes to academics in a long time, this will change Senior year.

My advice to all is to pray. Relationships will be tested during this stressful time but just know that it will get better and it will be totally worth it in the end.

You do not have to know exactly what you want to do in life. College is a place where you can explore options and learn so much more about yourself. Take high school seriously and recognize the importance of each and every class. Take advantage of extra credit opportunities, set goals, get involved, perform meaningful community service, and assume leadership in your school and community. Perhaps most importantly, get help! Counselors are responsible for too many students to have the time to guide you through the process—a hugely complicated process! In the end, you will be excited about the acceptance letters, but it is important to carefully read and understand your award letters. Award letters are often written in ways that may suggest one thing, but really mean something entirely different. You need a degree in accounting to uncover the hidden cost of attendance versus what is actually being offered.

 

 

Student Profile: Avery M., Class of 2015

Avery M.

Lake City High School
Lake City, SC

Stats:
GPA: 3.603
Rank: 39/143
SAT: 1250

Activities:
President: Youth Ushers (Olive Grove Baptist Church)
JROTC Drill Team
Youth Coach: Lake City Recreational League

College Choice:
College of Charleston 

Major: Elementary Education

Aspirations: To become an elementary school teacher

Scholarships and Grants:
South Carolina Tuition Grant
Claflin University Institutional Grant
Wilberforce University Academic Scholarship
South Carolina LIFE Scholarship
Call Me Mister Program
Elouise Norton Cooper Memorial Scholarship
Newberry College Academic Scholarship
Foot Locker Associate Scholarship
G. I. Bill

Accepted:
Benedict College
Claflin University
College of Charleston
Coastal Carolina
Jackson State Honors College
Lander University
Newberry College
Wilberforce University
Winthrop University
What type of college did you want and why? 

I wanted to attend college in a large, friendly, diverse city within driving distance of home.

What type of support did you receive during the college admissions process? 

I entered the college planning process totally clueless. I was unaware of the differences between liberal arts colleges, research universities, or the types of programs offered. I was equally unaware of the admissions and financial aid processes or which type of colleges I would even qualify for admission. I could not have successfully navigated the college admissions process without the support of the Florence County School District 3 College Planning Cohort, and particularly, Mrs. Wynn. Mrs. Wynn guided me through the process, suggested colleges, recommended the ‘Call Me MISTER‘ program, spoke to admissions officers on my behalf at each of my colleges, and helped me prepare for my admissions interviews. Mr. Wynn helped me with my college admissions, Call Me MISTER, and scholarship essays. My parents provided ongoing encouragement and kept me from procrastinating. My mom always said, “Did you do what Mr. and Mrs. Wynn told you to do? Now, get it done!”

What was most stressful about applying to colleges? 

In a word, ‘EVERYTHING!’ Completing the applications, filing the forms, communicating with the Office of Financial Aid, writing all of the required essays, meeting all of the college and scholarship deadlines, and interviewing were all stressful.

What did you learn? 

Preparing for college requires a lot of organization, keeping track of deadlines, and an enormous amount of time devoted to writing good essays to gain admission and to qualify for scholarships. I learned that a great college admission essay can help overcome low test scores. I also learned that you must engage in hours of research to properly prepare for college and scholarship interviews. Through your research you must be prepared to answer questions and prepared with your own questions to show that you have background knowledge about the college, its programs, and its mission. Mrs. Wynn prepared me for my interviews. I entered each interview with a high quality résumé, copy of my essay, copy of my recommendation letter, and list of prepared questions. Being well prepared helped to ease the anxiety and made a great impression on the interviewer.

The Money Factor! 

Money plays a huge factor in choosing a college, however, you should also determine if you can see yourself living, learning, and being a part of a college community for the next four years of your life. My family and I reviewed each of the Award Letters, visited each of the campuses, and found the college that was affordable, and that was a good fit.

What do you wish you had done differently? 

I wish my high school would have provided more insight into the complexity and challenges of the entire college planning process. If I would have had any idea of what was required, I would have started researching and applying to colleges earlier. This would have reduced the enormous amount of stress I experienced from rushing throughout the process. I would have also better prepared for the SAT/ACT and taking the tests much earlier so that I would have had time to increase my scores. I had no idea of how much scholarship money is dependent on your SAT/ACT scores. While I have a great financial aid package at a great college, I should have procrastinated less and been more organized.

What is your advice? 

Get organized, do not procrastinate, identify experienced people who can support you through the process, and definitely find someone who can review and edit your essays. There are many twists and turns throughout the college admissions process and choosing the right college, with the best financial aid package, can be a long and stressful process. Getting admitted into college and competing for scholarships is a highly competitive process. You are not only being compared against students from your own high school, but against millions of students nationally and internationally trying to gain admissions into the same colleges and qualify for the same scholarships. You have to bring you ‘A’ game every step of the way and maintain a dogmatic attitude.

 

Student Profile: De’Osha P., Class of 2015

 

De’Osha P.

Lake City High School
Lake City, SC

Stats:
GPA: 3.52
Rank: 36/143
SAT: 1160

Activities:
Wesley United Methodist Church
National Beta Club
Co-captain: Varsity Volleyball
Varsity Track and Field

College Choice:
Claflin University

Major: Criminal Justice

Aspirations: To become a SLED
Agent (South Carolina Law
Enforcement Division)

Accepted:
Claflin University
Francis Marion University
Wilberforce University

Scholarships and Grants:
U.S. Pell Grant
South Carolina Tuition Grant
Claflin University Institutional Grant
Wilberforce University Academic Scholarship
South Carolina LIFE Scholarship

What type of college did you want and why?

I was open to all college and university options until I quickly came to terms that my personality was best suited for a small to medium size college or university community. I also knew that I wanted to attend a college or university in my home state of South Carolina. My research led me to liberal arts colleges and small major universities that clearly appeared suited to my personality. I was attracted to small class size, low teacher-student ratio and discussion style classes similar to the type of environment at my high school. I also researched colleges and universities that offered graduate programs so that I would have the option of completing both my undergraduate and graduate degree programs at one college.

What type of support did you receive during the college admissions process?

I received non-stop ongoing support from Mr. and Mrs. Wynn. The support I received was incredible. They guided me through the process of developing and editing my résumé, editing my college essays, researching colleges, assisting with completing and submitting my college applications, and completing and submitting the FAFSA. While I was initially committed to attending Francis Marion University, a popular college choice for students from my high school. However after visiting Claflin University, where Mr. and Mrs. Wynn arranged a meeting with the Office of Financial Aid, and assisted me in negotiating a far better financial aid package than what Francis Marion had offered.

What was most stressful about applying to colleges?

The most stressful part of applying to my two colleges was everything! I found the application process, financial aid process, essay writing, paperwork, and communication with the office of financial aid to all be stressful and time consuming. At the end of the process I was disappointed that I had not engaged in more research and applied to more colleges so that I would have other financial aid offers to consider. The acceptance and financial aid offer I received from Claflin was not part of a ‘plan’ but was a ‘BLESSING’ as a result of all of the guidance and support I had through the process.

What did you learn?

I learned how important it is to begin the college planning process early, with the operative word being ‘planning.’ I was one of many students at my high school who had no plan! As I began developing a plan, I felt like a race car on a racetrack with cars that were barely moving. Many of my classmates were moving through senior year as though college would just happen. I learned that your test scores are very, very important, even if you have a high GPA. A mistake that I made, and others should avoid, is waiting until my senior year to take the SAT and ACT. I learned that there isn’t enough time to engage in the necessary test prep, and there is absolutely no time to increase your scores. Senior year is very demanding and can be distracting with senior activities and graduation preparation. I also learned how important it is to have good relationships with teachers, counselors, and administrators, particularly if you require recommendation letters and evaluations.

The Money Factor!

Despite my lack of planning and low test scores, I was blessed to receive nearly a full ride. Instead of the thousands of dollars in student loans that were part of my Award Letter from Francis Marion, Mr. and Mrs. Wynn and Ms. Yvonne Scott, from our school district, helped me to negotiate a great financial aid package with Claflin University—a school that I have already come to love during the my brief time on campus in the Summer Bridge Program.

What do you wish you had done differently?

I wish I would have started the process earlier, had taken more classes through the Dual Enrollment program, focused on preparing for the SAT so that I could have earned a higher score, and assumed more leadership positions in my activities.

What is your advice?

You do not have to know exactly what you want to do in life. College is a place where you can explore options and learn so much more about yourself. Take high school seriously and recognize the importance of each and every class. Take advantage of extra credit opportunities, set goals, get involved, perform meaningful community service, and assume leadership in your school and community. Perhaps most importantly, get help! Counselors are responsible for too many students to have the time to guide you through the process—a hugely complicated process! In the end, you will be excited about the acceptance letters, but it is important to carefully read and understand your award letters. Award letters are often written in ways that may suggest one thing, but really mean something entirely different. You need a degree in accounting to uncover the hidden cost of attendance versus what is actually being offered.

 

 

Student Profile: Ryan B., Class of 2014

 

Ryan B.

Grady High School
Atlanta, GA

Stats:
GPA: 4.375
SAT: 1830
Rank: 8/350

Accepted:
Georgia Tech
Syracuse University
University of Georgia

College Choice:
Syracuse University

Major: Computer Engineering

Aspirations: To become a Software and Hardware Engineer working at a leading technology company, such as Google, Apple, or Microsoft.

Scholarships:
Posse Foundation Leadership Scholarship (full-tuition); Ebenezer Baptist Church Scholarship; McColough/Greene Service Scholarship; Omega Psi Phi, Inc., Scholarship; Alberta Williams King Scholarship; Trumpet Awards Foundation Scholarship

Activities:
President: SGA
National Honor Society
National Beta Club
Writer/Editor: The Southerner Newspaper
Varsity Basketball
Advanced Chorus
Marching Band
Debate Team
DECA Business and Marketing Club

What type of college did you want and why?

No matter what the circumstances, I knew I had to attend a school that is renowned for academics and alumni support. Personally, I wanted to attend a large college in a new environment from what I was used to. I have thrived most when I have been surrounded by people from diverse backgrounds, so I wanted to attend a diverse university. Lastly, one of the most important factors in my college selection was school spirit as I love to be around people who love their school and who enthusiastic in supporting the sports and events taking place on campus.

What type of support did you receive during the college admissions process?

I received an outstanding and overwhelming amount of support throughout the college admissions process. My mother stayed on me every single day to do something progressive. Every one of the counselors at Grady High School suggested scholarship opportunities on a daily basis. My church family gave me advice, and I had a great deal of support from Mr. and Mrs. Wynn for everything from building my résumé, editing and rewording my college and scholarship essays, and throughout the entire process.

What was most stressful about applying to colleges?

The most stressful part of applying to colleges was trying to manage completing college applications while continuing to manage and apply for scholarships. Balancing both of these while managing a hectic school schedule of extracurricular activities was extremely stressful. It pushed me to the threshold of time management, dedication, and patience. However, I was constantly reminded that I was not alone. I found comfort in knowing that all of my peers were going through the same struggles.

What did you learn?

I learned that everything you do truly counts for something. It pays to have a genuine interest in meeting new people and establishing good relationships with your peers, teachers, counselors, and administrators. I also learned to try new things. Every time I expanded my boundaries, I gained new insight and had amazing and unforgettable experiences.

The Money Factor!

Being selected as a 2014 Posse Foundation Scholar, which provides a full-tuition scholarship to Syracuse University made my college decision that much easier. However, there are so many other costs associated with attending school far from home and in a different climate such as housing, transportation, the meal plan, books, and personal experiences. The additional scholarships I have received have helped tremendously in offsetting a great deal of these additional costs. Since my family’s income is too high for me to qualify for need-based financial aid, I had to work hard in identifying leadership and merit-based scholarships.

What do you wish you had done differently?

I wish I had taken a few more classes for college credit in high school. When it comes to developing the perfect college schedule, those high school classes, taken for college credit, can go a LONG in reducing your overall course load!

What is your advice?

Make sure you know how to manage time and stay organized before you get to college, because it will make your entire life so much easier and greatly reduce your stress level. Find the rings you are truly passionate about, and pursue them. Never stray from the things that bring you joy. Try something new, and don’t be afraid to talk to people. Talk to your professors and make sure they know you, because that could be the difference between a ‘B’ and an ‘A’ in a course grade. Go to office hours, because most professors love to have students come and talk to them. Don’t buy all of your textbooks, because you can save a lot of money by renting or buying used books. And lastly, never be afraid to ask for help.

Student Profile: Carrington S., Class of 2015

 

Carrington S.

Sprayberry High School
Marietta, GA

Stats:
GPA: 3.563
SAT: 1260

Activities:
Varsity Cheerleading
Peer Mediation
Shop with the Yellow Jackets
Yearbook Staff

Accepted:

Alabama A&M University
Columbus State University
Georgia Southwestern University
Hampton University
Spelman College
Wilberforce University

College Choice:
Spelman College

Major: Economics/Marketing

Aspirations: Fashion Merchandising

Denied:

Brenau University
Georgia Southern
Howard University

Scholarships:
Georgia HOPE
Georgia Tuition Grant
Local and Church

What type of college did you want and why?

When I was looking for schools, I mainly focused on the colleges that offered my specific major—Fashion Merchandising and Marketing.  I also wanted a college that had a small teacher/student ratio so I could actually get to know my professors. I had not really considered an HBCU, but after experiencing the environment of one, I fell in love with the environment and campus culture.  I wanted a college campus that felt like home.  I have changed my major to Economics for my Bachelor’s degree, but I will get my Master’s in Fashion Merchandising and Marketing.

What type of support did you receive during the college admissions process?

My biggest support system through the college process was my mom. She was there for me each step of the way and she showed me tough love through the process.  Also, the Education Ministry at my church (Turner Chapel AME) was a huge help because they truly cared about my success in the long run. I did not depend on, nor receive any help, from my school counselors during the college planning process.

What was most stressful about applying to colleges?

The most stressful part of the college process was waiting for the responses from the colleges. I was completely discouraged when all my friends were receiving their responses and I had not received any.  I was really stressed out during spring semester of my senior year because I had no responses until March. My mom was especially stressed that I did not receive any acceptance letters.

What did you learn?

I learned that the college process is very competitive, and you always need to be one step ahead of everyone else. You always need to put forth your best effort so that you can develop your best work. Also, your parents are your best friends in the process because they have gone through it. Listen to what they have to say even when you do not want to.

The Money Factor!

I will be receiving local scholarships from being named the 2nd Attendant in the 2015 Pink Cultured Pearls Cotillion, the TCC Ivy and Pearls program, the HOPE scholarship, and the Georgia Tuition Grant. Although I am waiting on responses from several other scholarships, at this time, I will be taking out student loans and my parents will be paying for most of my education.

What do you wish you had done differently?

I wish I would have started the college planning process a lot earlier than I did.  I actually wish I had started doing college research during my sophomore year instead of in my junior year. I also should have been more proactive and not have procrastinated as much as I did. I clearly should have taken advantage of the opportunities through the clubs and organizations at my school and my church to have been more involved in my school and community.

What is your advice?

My advice is to begin researching colleges as you enter high school so you will know the grades and test scores expected by the colleges. Also, do as much community service as possible, become a leader throughout high school, and take as many of the college courses and AP courses offered at your school. Your grades and coursework will be extremely important in making you a competitive candidate for admission at highly selective colleges and may qualify you for thousands of dollars in scholarships. Finally, get help! The college admissions and financial aid processes are hugely complicated. Without the support and guidance of our College Planning Cohort, I would not have reached beyond Clemson and the University of South Carolina. I have already experienced more in the Meyerhoff Scholar Summer Bridge Program at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County than in my wildest dreams. By the time I actually begin my freshman year, I will have visited the National Institutes of Health, Johns Hopkins Medical Center, the U.S. Army Research Center, laid out my 4-year course schedule, and prepared my internship application for my summer internship between my freshman and sophomore year.  My Advice is, “Don’t try to do this by yourself!”

 

 

Student Profile: Janeil S., Class of 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Janeil S.
McEachern High School
Powder Springs, GA

Stats:
GPA: 4.28
Class Rank: 3/390
ACT: 27

Activities:
Founder: The Muffin Princess
Executive Secretary: Student Council
National Beta Club
National Honor Society
National Spanish Honor Society

Acceptances:
Emory University
Furman University
Davidson College
Georgia Tech
Hampton University
University of Richmond
Wake Forest
Washington & Lee
Xavier University of Louisiana
 

Wait List:
Swarthmore

Denied:
Vanderbilt

College Choice:
Wake Forest University
Major:
Biology
Aspirations:
Ph.D.

Major Scholarship Offers:
Davidson College $201,160
Emory University $138,956
Furman University $138,360
Hampton University $15,000
University of Richmond $179,460
Wake Forrest $219,600
Xavier University $90,400

Total Scholarship Offers:
$826,000

What type of college did you want and why? 

During my college research I focused primarily on highly selective liberal arts colleges, and universities that were small or moderate in size and who were known for being financially generous. According to the research these institutions tend to provide competitive financial aid packages.  Also, I did not want to go to an institution where I would be just another number.  I wanted to be in an environment where I could have access to my professors, where I can get to know them and they can get to know me.

What type of support did you receive during the college admission process? 

I was truly blessed to be able to participate in the Turner Chapel AME 2015 COHORT, where I received tremendous help and support from Mr. and Mrs. Wynn. They were able to help perfect one of the most challenging areas for me in this process, which was the essay writing, for not only college admissions, but also Scholarships, especially the Gates Millennium Scholarship. The Wynn’s and the members of my COHORT group were also there to offer me advice and guidance in exploring  different colleges,  educational paths, and opportunities that could assist me in reaching my career goals. My parents were also very instrumental in my success, especially when it came to keeping up with dates, deadlines, and being a source of inspiration when it came time to write essays.

What was most stressful about applying to colleges? 

The most stressful part about applying to colleges was the time frame. This was very stressful for me because I applied to 11 colleges and it seemed like all the deadlines were around the same time. This meant I spent weekend after weekend doing almost nothing but writing essays and answering questions. Keeping up with what was due and when it was due was very stressful because many of the scholarships for various institutional aid had separate deadlines from the actual admissions deadline. At times it was overwhelming.

What did you learn? 

I learned how important the written essays are.  As a college applicant the essay is the best and sometimes only opportunity you have to share your personal story, gift, or talents. Many times it can be difficult to identify and compile them. The college admissions process is the prime opportunity to share who you are, so you should try your best to make it count. The personal essay could make the difference between being accepted or denied.

The Money Factor! 

Through my hard work and the support of the COHORT, the Wynn’s, and my family I received multiple scholarship offers from the colleges I applied to totaling over $800,000. Ultimately my parents will have to pay for part of my college education, but it is a very small portion of what it actually costs to attend the institution. It is also important to add that the small part that my parents will have to pay is without having any loans. So, prayerfully I should be able to graduate with zero dollars in student loans.

What do you wish you had done differently? 

I wish I would have been a little bit more organized, and had a better idea of how stressful and time consuming the process would be, especially when combined with the academic and social stress of senior year.

What is your advice? 

My advice is to be open to exploring all avenues and all types of colleges because you really don’t know what you want, or what the best fit is for you unless you try it out.  Even if you do not end up wanting to attend a particular type of college that experience or exploration could open your eyes to new possibilities, opportunities, and standards. Also, start early and be realistic with yourself about where you can and can’t go. This will save you time, resources, and trouble in the end. If you plan on going to an Ivy League or highly selective institution, just know that you cannot just wake up your senior year and decide to go and think you are going to get in. It takes preparation and commitment from the very first day of high school and honestly before then. You have to take the right classes, do well in them, and serve your school, or community, whether it is through community service or leadership in clubs or sports.

 

Student Profile: Mikayla H., Class of 2015

 

 

Mikayla H.

Lake City High School
Lake City, SC

Stats:
GPA: 4.63
Class Rank: 2/143
ACT: 25

Activities:
President: Beta Club
President: LCHS Book Club
Drum Major: Marching Band
National Honor Society

Accepted:
Claflin University Honors College
Clemson University
Howard University
University of Maryland – Baltimore County
University of South Carolina – Columbia
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Xavier University of Louisiana 

Wait List:
Amherst College
Emory University
Trinity College

College Choice:
University of Maryland – Baltimore County
Major: Biochemistry/Molecular Biology
Aspirations: MD/Ph.D.

Denied:
Columbia
Cornell
Davidson College
Smith College
Swarthmore
Vassar
Williams College
Yale 

Major Scholarships:
Gates Millennium Scholar
Meyerhoff Scholar
Questbridge Finalist

Total Scholarship Offers:
$1.1 Million

What type of college did you want and why? 

Attending a college with a good science program was the most important part of the college experience for me. Secondarily, I wanted to attend a large university which is the complete opposite of my high school, but I thought it would be a good change for me. I wanted to attend a highly selective college, because they typically have more generous need-based financial aid policies.

What type of support did you receive during the college admissions process? 

Mr. and Mrs. Wynn guided me each step of the way through the college admissions and financial aid processes. They introduced me to the Questbridge Program, the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, and the Meyerhoff Scholars Program. They helped me research colleges and programs that best suited me as a person and guided me through the process of researching the grades and test scores I would need to be a competitive candidate for admission. Mrs. Wynn also helped me to prepare for my interviews with Yale, Cornell, Columbia, and the Meyerhoff Scholars Selection Weekend. The attorney from Yale Law School said that I was the best student he had ever interviewed, and I was one of only small group of students accepted into the prestigious and highly competitive Meyerhoff Scholars Program. They also helped me research scholarships and helped me through the process of completing the FAFSA. I also got help from my high school Guidance Counselors when submitting documents and help from teachers for proof reading and reviewing my work.

What was most stressful about applying to colleges? 

The most stressful part about applying to colleges was knowing that my test scores were just not up to par for some of the colleges that had the type of need-based financial aid policies. While my grade point average met the expectations of all of the colleges on my list, my 25 ACT Composite score was much lower than the median for such schools as Yale, Vassar, Swarthmore, and Williams, all of which rejected me—this after completing their lengthy applications and responding to all of their writing prompts.

What did you learn? 

I learned that although a college may be selective and highly ranked, there are other colleges with great programs that can be just as good or better than a highly selective college. I also learned how important it is to have a great overall ‘Self-Presentation!’ Mr. and Mrs. Wynn helped me to put all of the pieces together, essay, résumé, recommendation letters, interviewing skills, and communication with all of my colleges.

The Money Factor! 

Thanks to the help of Mr. and Mrs. Wynn, my guidance counselors and many teachers, I have been selected as a 2015 Gates Millennium Scholar —the first one from the Florence County School District Three and the town of Lake City, South Carolina. GMS funding will help pay for 5 years of undergraduate school, 2 years of graduate school, and 4 years of my doctoral program.

What do you wish you had done differently? 

I wish I would have known to prepare earlier to get higher test scores so I could have gotten into more of the highly selective colleges.

What is your advice? 

My advice is to begin researching colleges as you enter high school so you will know the grades and test scores expected by the colleges. Also, do as much community service as possible, become a leader throughout high school, and take as many of the college courses and AP courses offered at your school. Your grades and coursework will be extremely important in making you a competitive candidate for admission at highly selective colleges and may qualify you for thousands of dollars in scholarships. Finally, get help! The college admissions and financial aid processes are hugely complicated. Without the support and guidance of our College Planning Cohort, I would not have reached beyond Clemson and the University of South Carolina. I have already experienced more in the Meyerhoff Scholar Summer Bridge Program at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County than in my wildest dreams. By the time I actually begin my freshman year, I will have visited the National Institutes of Health, Johns Hopkins Medical Center, the U.S. Army Research Center, laid out my 4-year course schedule, and prepared my internship application for my summer internship between my freshman and sophomore year.  My Advice is, “Don’t try to do this by yourself!”