Posts Tagged acceptance letters

Fun in the sun???

lot-85If you haven’t heard it a million times since now I am going to say it again: Congrats on getting those acceptance letters! I can understand the gratifying feeling when the good news comes and the realization that all the years of hard work has culminated into something tangible. You should be proud and remember to enjoy the last days of senior year. However I would implore you to start thinking of life once the graduation ceremony has come and gone. The summer is a prime time to make sure that the transition to college life will be seamless with as little turbulence as possible. Thus I have outlined two key pieces of advice:

GET A JOB: It’s that simple because there is no way around it. As you know college is expensive and you might think mom and dad will be there to bail you out, but there are no lessons learned from always falling back on the same people. An objective during the college experience should be independence on some level. No I’m not saying that parents won’t be in the equation but I am saying that self-reliance is something to be strived for. If you’re like me paying for books, extracurricular activities and miscellaneous items can amount to a hefty bill. Thus I would encourage all of you to start saving NOW. I understand prom is around the corner and you probably want to buy that outrageously expensive dress- which will only be worn once- but in the long run it’s not worth it. I have learned a lesson this year on how to prioritize and sacrifice. There are two categories when it comes to spending money: wants and needs. You need textbooks and a laptop, you don’t need to buy those extra pair of shoes or that 45′ inch plasma t.v for the dorm.

Internships & Community Service: These are important to building towards a new resume. One thing students don’t realize is that once high school is over, many of the accomplishments such as: National Honor Society, Key Club, and Student Government are no longer admissible on resumes in the future. During your freshman year you can rely on those high school achievements to secure jobs and other opportunities on campus but that is only because of youth/ inexperience. This summer I am clearing all my high school achievements and starting over with what was done in my freshman year. It would be wise to start looking for opportunities for possible career experience. For example if you are a political science major, start looking for internships in your local elected representatives office. Whether it be a state senator or even a U.S. Senator it doesn’t matter the experience will give much needed insight and boost your resume. The same can be said for all majors and areas of interest. The relevant career experiences that I speak of are not the type that are found easily, you might have to contact an office or ask for parental advice, but the work in the long run is worth it.

Open Doors Are Always Nice.

irvin-85It has been a while since I felt sure of what I wanted to do. I wanted to become an engineer coming into Dartmouth but after a rough relationship with physics, I decided to close that door and open a new one. After talking to my Dean and to upperclassmen, the best advice that they gave me was to pursue something that you truly felt passionate about. They told me that there is a difference between what you like to study and learn (in my case, math, physics, literature, history, chemistry) and what you truly feel passionate about (in this case, literature and advocating for my Latino brothers and sisters). It was then that I realized that what I had been doing before had been what I liked, not what I truly loved.

My spring break community service trip took me to Immokalee, Florida. A place that very few people have ever heard of but that is one of the most important farming towns in the United States. Being there, feeling the weight of poverty that falls on the shoulders of my brothers, more than 90 percent of the town is Hispanic, I felt the need to advocate for those that have no voice for they live in the shadows of this great nation. Poverty, environmental issues, immigration issues, low wages, rough working conditions, factors of oppression just seemed to pile on and on. Yet, as they piled, they sparked up a passion with in me.  A passion that I would like to believe had been dormant until that moment. I realized what I would love to do. I found what I was truly passionate about. With that realization, I came back to campus, with a different mindset and a sense of assurance, knowing that I had found what I wanted to do for the next four years.

For the seniors reading this, I know that you guys have your acceptance letters and the giant task of deciding where to attend. A word of advice. Leave your opportunities open. Choose a school that gives you plenty of options when it comes to academic fields. I am thankful that Dartmouth is not just an engineering school. Otherwise, I would have not been too happy taking classes that I no longer liked. A lot of people change their interests after they get to college. Keep this in mind. Make sure that you always have a plan B because life never goes as we think it it will. Keep your door opens because you never know if the door that you are aiming for will close.

The Thrill Of It


Greetings CSO family,

I know it has been awhile since my last post but trust me when I say that it was not due to apathy. The first half of this semester has been packed with pledging for my fraternity (Beta Theta Pi) and a rigorous course load. Nevertheless I am still committed to delivering some insightful pieces of knowledge to all of you who are in the midst of finalizing any college decisions.

Now that acceptance letters have been sent out, I constantly see parents and students walking throughout the campus. As they pass by I see them gaze and admire Miami’s Georgian architecture while a tour guide gives context on the rich history of our institution. With every group, I can’t help but smile because I see a bit of myself in all of those students. There is a sense of anticipation for what is yet to come, but at the same time there is also fear of what is yet to come. When I was a senior I was looking forward to something new outside the rigid structure of high school, even though that very setting gave me a comforting sense of consistency. I knew in high school how each day would unfold. My entire high school career was typical and to some extent I became accustomed to this repetition. The idea of being thrown into a whole new environment with new friends, professors and coursework is daunting yet in retrospect I am glad to have had the experience without any preconceived notions.

I knew I enjoyed politics and government. I knew I had a passion for my community. Therefore I started from there and I explored what this campus could do to help me fulfill my passions. Fast forward a semester and half what was the result? I joined greek life, I made a whole host of diverse friends who share my values and I have made significant moves towards my career objective.

Sometimes when I speak with students it’s hard to articulate everything in my Miami experience because I can’t transfer an entire semester and half of experiences upon an individual. No matter what I say, you will not be able to predict what your college experience will be like. You might think that business is your field of interest today but come next spring you might be a political science major. Who knows?! It is the thrill of the unknown that makes the experience all the more gratifying.


abigail-85Happy New Year!

I hope you were all able to celebrate the holidays with your loved ones and are ready to tackle on the second phase of the college admission process: acceptance letters. Some people consider this part even more nerve-racking than writing a good essay, filling out paperwork, or just completing the application, but for me, I found that this is the part that can make or break a student.

Dartmouth College was not my first or second choice school. In fact, I never even knew about it until my senior year when I received a pamphlet from the College. The school I did know a lot about was the University of Southern California (USC). I dreamt of becoming a Trojan and cheering the football team at every game. So much was my devotion to USC that I didn’t even bother to research many other schools because I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else. So, when I received the rejection letter, my reaction was…well, let’s just say it wasn’t cute. I applied to nine other schools but I didn’t pay attention to the schools I actually got into, not even Dartmouth. All I could do was question myself; why had this school rejected me? Was I not competent enough? Was I not involved enough? These questions swirled in my head and tormented me until I realized this:

I was still breathing. I hadn’t died because a school rejected me nor was my life completely shattered because of rejection; it happens. I’m not saying it’ll happen to all of you (I pray that you all get into the schools you’ve worked so hard for) but the reality is that along with many of the exciting opportunities you will be offered in the upcoming weeks, you may also have some disappointing mishaps. If one of your friends gets into a school and you didn’t, be happy for them and support them. A rejection letter is no reason to get angry or sad with others or yourself, it just means that you’ll be able to share your talents and ideas at another institution. And who knows? You may find that you were meant for that other school you never saw yourself attending.

7 Days Left to Apply for the CSO Opportunity Scholarship!

CSOlogo-85High school seniors, could you use $1,000 to help pay for your freshman year of college? Or better yet, could you use $1,000 every year for the next four years to put toward your college expenses? If so, keep reading…

Class of 2010, YOU’VE DONE IT! You’re almost to graduation and you are ready to move onto the big leagues: COLLEGE! Woot, Woot! You received your college acceptance letters, selected the college you want to attend, are sending in your housing deposit and receiving your financial aid package. So now you can just chill out during the summer!

Well, not yet. Before you begin your chill session, make sure you apply for the CSO Opportunity Scholarship–a $1,000, four-year renewable scholarship awarded to first-generation, low-income, and/or minority high school seniors (class of 2010; entering the college class of 2014) enrolling at a CSO College Partner. If you win, you’ll also be given the opportunity to share your college journey and offer advice to younger students on how to make it to college on this blog!

Download the application here or email scholarship@csopportunity.org to receive an application.

Make sure your application is completed and postmarked by the deadline, May 28th. And again, congratulations on making it college!


tereza-85At this point, most of you have already decided where you are going to college, unless you applied to a school with a rolling admission.  I know after I had applied to the colleges I decided I was interested in it felt like forever before I found out which schools accepted me. Once I found that out, then I had to look at the schools more closely and decide which one would be the absolute best fit for me, even though they were all great schools.

For the juniors in high school who are now going to be seniors, my advice is to apply to at least 5 schools. That way you have options and you always have a fall back school. I know that may sound bad, but you never know what could happen, so it’s always best to just have a “safe” school.

Now, unless you’re rich, most people cannot afford college. Never think you cannot go to college or decide not to apply or go to a school because it is too expensive. That’s what financial aid, scholarships, and loans are for. A good tip to remember is to never stop looking for scholarships. Not all deadlines are the same and not every scholarship is looking for the same things. Look for ones for which you know you meet the qualifications, so that you do not put in a lot of hard work applying for a scholarship just to find out that you are not qualified for one reason or another. Also, never not apply to a scholarship because they are offering a “small” amount of money. Any amount of money you are awarded will be so much help to you because being a college student is definitly not cheap.

Although most of you have already decided on where you are going to college in the fall, I wish you all luck if you are still looking for scholarships to help you avoid taking out loans.

Senior Sickness


1. Mind over Matter—Out of my eight senior-year teachers, only one of them refused to acknowledge senioritis as a legitimate disease that infects more than 80% of the graduating high school class.  In fact, not only did she refuse to acknowledge the grade-threatening disease, she wouldn’t give us any leeway on the quality of our work or assignment deadline extensions.  Although she was technically a “pain in my neck” during that last month, she was also a constant reminder that it was still necessary for me to work just as hard as I had at the beginning of the year.  I’d made my way through nearly thirteen years of public education…there was NO JUSTIFICATION for me falling off now.  (Despite her best efforts, I hear that 80% of the senior class once again contracted the disease).

2. Teaching for the Test—Although it may not be the best way to educate students or promote critical thinking, many of my teachers “taught for the test”, whether that was the end-of-year AP, IB, or similar exam.  In doing so, the curriculum was fairly straight forward, but often pushed through material at an alarming rate.  However, no matter how difficult the lessons were, I was still going to be expected to demonstrate my acquired knowledge in mid-May.  You will, too.  By succumbing to senioritis, you run the risk of missing important end-of-the-year information, as well as failing to constructively utilize review sessions.  So, although you may never use the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus when you’re the executive of some big-shot company, that poor test score could still affect your initial college experience.

3. Be that Little Engine—You know the one I’m referring to…the Little Engine that Could.  By the end of the year, I was exhausted; physically, mentally, and emotionally.  It was much easier to surrender to negative and self-defeating thoughts, rather than personal motivating advice or uplifting ideas.  Just keep chugging along!  As you receive those college acceptance letters, realize that it was your hard work that got you this far.  If you receive a few rejection letters, know that better things are coming your way.  Refuse to stop.  Refuse to give in to those destructive thoughts.

Last but not least, keep in mind that “this too shall pass”.  Senioritis is not a permanent disease, but instead, a temporary illness…kind of like the common cold.  However, if it direly affects you now, you could continue to come down with other sicknesses.  Therefore, wash your hands often.  Cover your mouth when you cough.  And most importantly, turn in all assignments, study for those tests, and smile at your teachers.  They’re tired, too!

The most intense 3 hours of my life.

khadijah-85Hurry bus! Please hurry!!

March 31st was the craziest time for me. I elected to get my admissions decisions from Stanford, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Williams, and Harvard by email, because truthfully, I didn’t want to wait for mail. Although I got into a lot of schools previously, including Dartmouth and several other amazing liberal arts colleges, these were the schools that would guarantee me full aid all four years, so I was excited and anxious, because they were the most competitive and selective in the country. Because I was in west coast time, I had to wait until 2pm (5pm Eastern time) for admissions decisions for all except Stanford. And for some dumb reason, that day was an early day at school. I didn’t want to wait at school for three hours, so I took the long bus home. I couldn’t stay still. “I find out where I get into today!”  I say to some people I see on the bus often. I try to read, but I can’t. Finally, an hour later, I get near a computer. 12:32 pm. Seriously?! I pace. I pace some more. I worry. I check for Stanford. No. I deflate. I cry. So impersonal! I get a yes from Williams! I feel a bit better. I have to call for Princeton and Yale, because I forgot my online password, and it was very upsetting talking to the Princeton staff. “You know, I can give you your password, but how about I tell you now, so you don’t have to wait.” Ok. “I’m sorry….” Thanks! Bye! And I quickly hang up. By now I’m so nervous. I’m anxious. I’m shaking. This is so important to me. Not just going to college, but saving my life, and soon my family’s. Securing my future. No from Stanford, Princeton, Yale. Yes from Columbia and Williams, but how can I get into three top schools in a row- let alone the most prestigious? Harvard’s up there. I got two interviews. I know they don’t know about whether I’m worth the risk. I’m homeless. I missed a lot of school. Can I handle the change? The work load? The people? I hope I convinced them. I hope my not traditionally-stellar scores will be considered under the lens of where I came from. I hope my optimism is enough to convince them I’ll be ok, I can and will handle the challenges. I hope all the help and recommendations from South Central Scholars, my school, and mentors, are enough.  By now, I’m feeling VERY insecure. I can’t take this.

At exactly 2:01 (5:01pm eastern time), I refresh Gmail. In very generic type- Harvard College: Your Admissions Decision.

“I can’t open this!” I yell to Trisha London, co-founder of South Central Scholars, and Randy Winston, the director of SCS. I was in Trisha’s office, where she and her husband, founder James London, work, and Randy Winston was comforting me. “Open it.” They say. I click. It loads. Sloooooooowly.

“…We are delighted-”

I stop there!! I can’t read anymore! I scream! I shout! I GOT INTO HARVARD! I GOT INTO HARVARD! I GOT INTO HARVARD! WHO CARES ABOUT STANFORD, PRINCETON, OR YALE? I GOT INTO HARVARD! I play the melodic classical music video given to admits. It seems so Harvard-y.

Then, I call my mom. I tell her the news. She was staying at a shelter in downtown at the time.

The relief, the happiness in her voice. Yes mom, you didn’t mess up. Our trials, our tribulations, the pain, it’s ok now. Because mom, your daughter, your daughter, got into Harvard.

College Acceptances, Visits, and Impact!

jesse-85You finally found out if you got in or not!! This is such an exciting time for you, your family, and your friends- Here’s a video with some tips on what to do now that you know where you got in!