Grace attends a public comprehensive high school in Massachusetts.
Tell me about your school. Is it a "normal," comprehensive high school, or a magnet or charter? How many students does it have? Have you been there for all your high school years, or have you moved there?
My high school is a “normal” comprehensive high school with a little over 700 students. I have been there for all 4 years
What is your sense of how many of the graduates of your high school go on to college? What kinds of colleges do they go to? When it comes to going off to college, what's "normal" for your high school?
98% of the graduating students go on to some form of college, with most going to a 4 year college.
Is college preparation a big deal in your high school? Do people talk about college a lot? Is it assumed that you will go to college?
College Prep is a large part of my high school. The Guidance Department offers seminars for both parents and students, both during the school day and during the evening. These range from how to use Naviance and Common Application for College to scholarships that are available. From Freshman year on, the teachers in my classes talk about college as if it is a normal part of your future.
How much direct instruction about college applications or choosing a college have you got from your school, either from teachers or counselors?
Guidance holds assemblies and then holds individual meetings with each student to help with college applications. In addition, they are always in their offices for any questions and hold meetings with the parents too.
Can you think of any good advice you've received about college applications from anyone at your school?
Yes! Don’t apply to any school you do not want to go to. It may be the only school you get into!
Are there any colleges that you're already sure you'll apply to? If so, what are they? Is one of them your "dream school"?
I think I am going to apply to 10 schools, both public and private. Most are in New York State. 1 is in New Jersey and 2 are in Boston. My top 2 schools are Fordham University and Hofstra University. I guess you could say these 2 are my “dream” schools.
What other colleges are you thinking about applying to, even if you're not sure you'll actually apply?
I am applying to 2 schools in Boston, even though I know that is not exactly where I want to be located. They are Boston University and Northeastern University. I am doing this more because I live near Boston and know they are great schools.
What colleges, if any, have you visited or toured? Did any of these tours stand out as being especially good or especially bad?
I toured Fordham and Hofstra and loved them! I also toured Brooklyn College and Pace University. However, I decided they were not for me.
What are the main things you're looking for in a college?
I am looking for a sense of community in a school that is located near New York City. I want a school with good academics, but also a good theater program, so that I can minor in theater arts. The financial aid package will also be a factor in my decision.
Have you talked with your family about money? Do you know how much you can afford to pay per year? Do you know how college will be paid for?
No. When I bring it up, my parents say: “don’t worry.” But it is hard not to worry, because I know they have limited funds and in the end I will have large student loans.
How are you feeling about college applications? Anxious? Confident? Confused? Explain what you're thinking and feeling as you get ready for this endeavor.
I am anxious and excited at the same time. I am ready to leave high school and start my future. I am looking forward to living in New York. However, I am worried about getting all the information to them in time; I am worried about if my SAT scores are good enough; and I am worried about rejection.
What do you not know about this process that you wish you did? What would you change about the past few years to be more prepared for this?
One thing I would change is my grades during freshman year. Your GPA starts right off freshman year and I feel I could have done better during that year.
Is there anything else you want to tell people that I didn't ask?
Yes. The SAT’s make me crazy! They make me think I am not as smart as I think I am. They provoke a lot of self doubt. One piece of advice I would give to students is that you are more than just a test score.