Full Name: Silvia PeraHigh School Graduation Year: 2014
College: Wellesley College
Major: Political Science
Why did you choose to attend Wellesley College?
I was wait-listed at Wellesley and decided to go to Scripps in California, but admissions called and told me I had gotten in and asked if I wanted to go. I knew that Wellesley was a good school and both Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton had gone so I went based on prestige.
What do you wish you would have known before your first day of college?
I wish I knew how much free time I would have in college and that I would need to allocate it very carefully. I can only take five classes, but each class requires me to study for at least three or four hours after every session. Extracurricular responsibilities are also much heavier in college and there are always things to apply for.
Was CVHS effective in helping you in your college application process?
Ms. Chapman was key to getting me off Wellesley's wait list. I went to her after having essentially given up on getting accepted and she wrote a letter to the admissions office. A few days later I was accepted.
What did you learn at CVHS that is most applicable as a current college student?
I learned how to be a good student. A lot of first year students struggle with Wellesley's work load and the expectations. Certainly, in college professors expect a lot more and I can't bluff my way through writing assignments. However, CVHS prepared me to work diligently, to study and do all of my homework.
What course(s) do you wish you had taken or been offered?
I wish there were more elective classes that focus on social sciences. Until senior year, no one can take an economics class and the psychology and sociology classes are limited. There are no political science classes at all. Additionally, there are no classes that focus on identity: such as women and gender studies classes or African studies courses.
Name: Indre Altman
High School Graduation Year: 2014
College: Bowdoin College
Major: Earth and Oceanographic Science
Why did you choose to attend Bowdoin College?
I wanted a liberal arts education that would allow me to investigate a variety of my interest areas. Carnegie Vanguard prepared me for Bowdoin, but the curriculum here is still intense. I am hoping that, in addition to giving me a degree, Bowdoin will teach me to think critically and to write effectively; these skills should be useful for any path I pursue in the future.
In your experience, what are some attributes of individuals who are most successful in your major?
The individuals whom I have met that are most successful in Earth and Oceanographic Science, and in general, know their passions. They may not understand exactly why they have these passions, but they follow them, chasing their questions with both discipline and childlike curiosity. Excitement, motivation, and discipline combined show that a passion is genuine -- admission officers might like these qualities (and you might even find your life more fulfilled, too).
Why did you choose to attend Carnegie Vanguard?
My brother attended Carnegie. I heard that the program was stellar and I hoped to become a better student.
What Words of Wisdom would you like to tell your fellow CVHS students?
Listen to your own advice, and then make mistakes doing so. Then give yourself better advice.
Full Name: Maya Fontenot
High School Graduation Year: 2014
College: Baylor University
Major: Sociology, Pre-Medicine
Why did you choose to attend Baylor University?
When I visited Baylor, the atmosphere was unlike anything I had ever experienced. The campus was beautiful, the people looked genuinely happy, and I could feel the school spirit. I felt like I belonged. (Having an actual football team is also an added bonus). I also knew I wanted to be a pre-med student, and Baylor had a prestigious pre-med program. At the end of the day, my admittance to the Honors College sealed the deal. Their approach to education was not offered at the other colleges I researched and so far I am very impressed with their curriculum. My plans after college are to obtain a Master’s Degree in Sociology overseas, then proceed to medical school in the states.
Can you share your thoughts on how to best prepare for college?
In the summer before college, sit down and think about your goals for the next few years. Even if you have no idea what you want to major in (like me), you can still set goals for yourself. Start thinking about what kind of person you want to be. What do you care about? What kind of friends do you want to have? Can you see yourself going into higher education past undergraduate? If so, how is that going to affect the way you approach college? You are creating an identity for yourself that is no longer attached to your parents. What does that look like? In college, try new things and experiment (safely) so you can start piecing together what kind of person you are. That's the fun part.
The decisions you make in college are going to affect your career and what kind of adult you will become so try your best in all that you do. It’s okay if you make some (or a lot) of mistakes. However, don’t lose sight of what you want at the end of the day, because that is what will motivate you to do well in school and anything else in your life.
In your experience, what are some attributes of individuals who are most successful as a pre-med sociology major?
As a pre-med student, it’s important to remember that you are going into a “human” science, not just a regular science. Medical schools are looking for students who are well-rounded, not just biochemistry robots. I have learned that they are looking for students who choose unique set of extracurricular in combination with good grades in a wide range of classes that are most appealing to medical schools. Successful pre-med students also tend to get less burnt out as the semesters pass because they are intellectually stimulated by a variety of experiences, not just digesting sciences all day. I think this is key to achieving a good balance in college life, which ultimately helps get better grades.
What did you learn at CVHS that is most applicable as a college student?
In the midst of all the pressure to perform at Carnegie, I think I learned how to perform under high levels of stress and competition without losing myself in the process. It has been the key to my success as a pre-med student. Coming from Carnegie the competition among pre-med students was all too familiar, and, fortunately, I had already learned that there is more to a student than their grades. I witnessed too many of my friends obsessing over grades while letting their other skills fall to the wayside. In addition to schoolwork, I focused on cultivating other qualities like public speaking, leadership abilities, negotiation, sports, kindness, and empathy. This helped me get jobs and establish mentor relationships in college that have been just as imperative in my journey to medical school as my grades. You can use Carnegie’s competitive environment to sharpen your skills in work-life balance, which is going to be the hardest part of college. Take advantage of that.