Déja T. 

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

GPA: 3.83
Rank: 28/427
ACT: 27


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

Fisk University
Xavier University of Louisiana 


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.