Guest Author - Susan D. Bates
"My heart seemed to be spinning out of my chest and I couldn't keep my nerves calm" is how high school senior, Jabria L. T. Howington felt when she discovered that she was admitted to her dream school, Duke University. She had wanted to attend Duke since she was 5 years old.
Because Ms. Howington could not be certain she would be admitted to Duke University, she also applied to two other colleges. She described the application process as stressful. Ensuring all of the paperwork was complete and on time was the most difficult part of the application process for her. Ultimately, she did complete all of the necessary paperwork and was accepted into the college she had always wanted to attend.
Ms. Howington believes her achievement of strong grades in rigorous courses is part of the reason she was accepted into Duke University. In addition to taking honors courses, she took several Advanced Placement (AP) courses and participated in an online coursework program through the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.* Ms. Howington also participated in academic enrichment programs such as Summer Ventures in Science and Mathematics.
Being active in her school and community also played an important role in Ms. Howington's acceptance to Duke University. During high school she served as the student government vice president for the junior class and treasurer for the Beta club. She is also active in clubs such as Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) and the Math Club.
Ms. Howington has also been very active in her community. She volunteered her time setting up charity fundraisers, creating bears for hospitalized children, helping to run a children's cheerleading camp, and assisting at a nursing home.
While she knew she had completed all of the prerequisites for college admission, Ms. Howington needed assistance with the application process. Her school counselor provided that help. Ms. Howington encourages high school students get to know their school counselors.
While it is important to earn good grades and be a well-rounded student, according to Ms. Howington, the key to being admitted to college is to set yourself apart from other applicants. To do this, she explained students must allow their voices to shine through their entire application.
Ms. Howington also suggests students set goals and to stay determined. She cautioned that there are times when all students feel doubts about their futures. She encourages students not to let their doubts stop them. She stated, "The future is full of possibilities; you must reach for your goals and do everything you can to achieve them."
*North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) is a rigorous, specialty public high school. NCSSM offers both a full-time residential program and a part-time online program.
Image provided by Jabria L. T. Howington. All image rights belong to her.