College Possible seniors across Portland are busy comparing financial aid packages and finalizing college commitments before May 1—College Decision Day—is complete. So far, an impressive 97 percent of our seniors have been admitted to college, and they’ve already secured over $372,000 in scholarships. These acceptances and awards are giving students incredible opportunities as they contemplate their college options.
Some students, like Carlos, a senior at Gresham High School, have been done with college decisions for quite a while. Carlos committed to his first choice school, Whitman College, in November after applying Early Decision.
Since deciding this fall, Carlos was able to return to campus with his family. “I wanted my family to be able to see the college I’m going to. They liked how tight-knit the community was. It just seems really safe, which is something they were concerned about.”
Carlos hopes his college admission will set an example within his family.
“Since I’ll be the first person to go to college in my family, it was really difficult for me to think about going to college. College Possible really helped me achieve that goal. I really want to show my sister she can do it too.”
Another student, Bonnie, a senior at Madison High School, finalized her college decision much more recently when she committed to one of her top choices, Concordia University, earlier in April. Bonnie made her decision with her career aspirations in mind. “All the schools had the nursing program I want to be in, but Concordia’s program had the highest graduation rate for the exam.”
While Carlos and Bonnie plan to stay in the Pacific Northwest, other College Possible students will be starting their next four years a little farther from home.
Laura, a senior at Reynolds High School, was accepted to a total of eight schools across the country, including Wesleyan University and Brown University, but she recently committed to her top choice, Princeton University.
“I laughed because I was shocked, overjoyed and confused,” Laura said about receiving the news she earned admission. “Princeton’s acceptance letter made me scream into my hands.”
Laura knew she wanted to be in an environment that would challenge her individual growth, as well as provide her with robust academic opportunities and resources for first-generation and low-income students. After spending a summer on campus for the Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America (LEDA) program, Laura is confident she will find all these elements at Princeton.
“I’m Princeton-bound for all the young people like me that have doubted themselves, struggled, but remain resilient in the face of poverty, racism and other institutions of oppression. What was once a dream is now a reality for me,” Laura said.
Another Reynolds senior, Eric, finalized his decision this weekend after an admission process filled with highs and lows. Although he was accepted to a total of seven schools, Eric was disappointed to be waitlisted at Rice University and rejected from Columbia University. But Eric still had one reach school to hear back from: Stanford University.
“When I applied to Stanford, I was never expecting to actually be accepted since its acceptance rate is extremely low,” Eric said. “I was really surprised when I read the acceptance letter on my phone. It seemed pretty unreal at first, which is why I didn’t really jump or scream of happiness, but I certainly did in my head.”
Eric cites the importance of support and encouragement from his College Possible coach, Michelle, in his college application journey.
“Before joining College Possible, I was planning to either go to community college or an Oregon state school. Michelle introduced me to the many options and opportunities I had as a high achieving student. When I felt discouraged about applying to prestigious schools, Michelle was always there to lift my confidence.”
Now that Eric has committed, he is looking forward to the opportunities Stanford holds.
“I will miss my friends and family, but I want to travel and meet new people in order to explore different places and understand new perspectives. I am also looking forward to seeing what kind of resources I can provide to low-income and first-generation high school students wherever I end up going. It will be the start of a new journey which will bring different challenges and I will overcome with the help and support from others.”
Congratulations to all our seniors for their hard work, and good luck with your decisions!