Holly is a high school student who attends a residential boarding school in North Carolina called the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM). Here she tells us about how the college process works at her school, and about her favorite college resources!
You may be thinking, boarding school? What’s that like? In some ways, it is similar to college. We are able to construct unique schedules, which rotate in meeting times, and live with others our age. However, like other high schools, we are required to take a specific curriculum and still have the dreaded college application process ahead of us. Our school has a system set in place designed to help us through the process, especially since we don’t have parents hovering over our shoulders, keeping us on track!
Our school counselors are the single best resource for students as they begin applying to colleges. NCSSM has five counselors, with one assigned to each student, a head counselor, who oversees all students, and a documents processor, who ensures successful reception of scholarship applications and transcripts. Each counselor is available to discuss college lists, help with essays, and provide general support. They also organize standardized testing on-campus.
Another resource provided is the school’s group of Peer College Counselors (PCCs). Each year, the counseling department selects thirteen rising seniors to train in all the aspects of college counseling. Each PCC serves as a liaison between the student body and the counseling department, providing advice and information through a friendly and accessible medium. I’ve loved being a PCC this year because it has allowed me to learn about the dreams of so many people at my school and I’ve seen them exhibit personal growth and meet their goals!
NCSSM also uses the website, Naviance, as a tool in the college process. If your school doesn’t yet have Naviance, you should investigate it! The system is useful before, during, and after applying. It allows you to assess college and career matches through personal assessments. In the system, you can track your progress through the stages of application, send transcripts, and request teacher recommendations. After decisions come out, you can submit your results through the system so your school has compiled information about the acceptance rates at universities to which students at your school have applied.
Most students at my school attend University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University. We also regularly see acceptances from Ivy League universities, MIT, and Stanford. Our success in admissions really speaks to the importance of resources. Sometimes asking for help is the best way at obtaining an advantage. I wish that I had access to a website like AdmitSee when I was applying in Fall 2013. Hearing successful stories is both a great way to gauge your chances of acceptance and improve that probability!
Hi, I'm currently working on my NCSSM essays! NCSSM is a highly competitive school that offers WAY more opportunities than the current school I attend right now so any kind of feedback like corrections, clarity, advice, etc would be greatly appreciated! I have many more essays also but I'll upload those at a later time. I just hope I didn't upload too many hehe. Thanks in advance!
Each Essay has a 2000 character limit and I'm generally in the 1000+
Awards, Certificates, Projects and Recognitions:
While pursuing my education in my middle and high school courses, I have always tried to challenge myself to do exceed in class and out of class. Through hard work, I have accumulated many awards. To begin, I have a certificate for being the top speaker in the men's local division of the Optimist Club Oratorical Contest. I also participated in the Science Olympiad regional's for oceanography, in which I placed second. I have a certificate for participating in the Math Counts regionals and also First Lego League's Lego Robotics competition.
I am also a high-purple belt in the GForce Kenpo Karate Systems and have several certificates authenticating my progress and accepting the challenges for those of higher rank. Through karate I have earned many awards such as Student of the Month, which is awarded by the Sensei to the student he feels has shown the best performance over the month not just physically by performing the techniques correctly with power and determination, but also exhibiting model behavior by performing deeds such as helping other students understand techniques and helping students improve their Katas, which are choreographed patterns of movement taught by the Sensei.
Extracurricular, Community Service and Volunteer Activities (both in-school and out-of-school
I have always enjoyed participating in clubs that can challenge me to become a better person, but in all honesty, I feel that many clubs are fun rewards after school. Therefore, I always try to participate in as many as I can.
Firstly, I am a member of Key Club. Through Key Club, I can demonstrate altruistic actions by helping those who are less fortunate than I. Recently, we raised money through Trick-or-Treat for Unicef to help unfortunate kids in Uruguay. Our last project was a canned food drive for the Christian United Outreach Center. Together, Southern Lee raised over four-thousand cans for the needy. I am also a member of Southern Lee's Future Environmentalists of America. Through FEA we do physical labor such as recycling and picking up trash around our town and the parks, but we also educate others on how exhibiting environmentally friendly lifestyles can have a positive impact on our environment. I also am part of the Quiz Bowl team and Ultimate Frisbee team. Other clubs I have been in include the Lego Robotics Club, Mathcounts, and Science Olympiad. All which I have rewards in.
Leadership Positions and Activities
I have come to the conclusion that everyone wants to be a leader some time in their life. Everyone wants to be the leader in a game of Follow the Leader, but only those that take the initiative will actually become a leader.
I learned this the hard way in my seventh grade year of middle school. I attended every meeting of the Math Counts club but when the time came to see who would make the team; my grade on the test was not high enough. Needless to say I was shocked and upset. I thought I would be a shoo-in for the team because I always considered myself to be talented in math. Even though I did not make it, I set a goal. I would challenge myself to make the team next year no matter what. That year, I still attended the meeting in hopes of getting better at math and tried even harder in my seventh grade math classes. When the next year rolled by, and I was in my last year of middle school, I again participated in the Math Counts club, eager to see if my hard work had paid off. When the test to see who would make the team came by, I tried my hardest and to my surprise, I scored one of the highest, and was named one of the two captains who would lead the Math Counts team. Aside from Math Counts, I also led our schools oceanography section of the Science Olympiad club and placed second in the regionals. In sports, I always try to be a leader on my school's Ultimate Frisbee team. Because Ultimate has been at our school for three years and we only started playing competitively last year, there is no true team leader so it is up to those who choose to take the initiative to help lead the team. Whenever the team has practice or scrimmages, I always try to give advice to the new players on how to improve their throws or by demonstrating how to play defense. I am also a high ranking belt in my karate system, therefore I am often called upon to help the Sensei demonstrate techniques and to also teach the Katas, or forms of movement, to the lower belt students.
Have you engaged in activities that demonstrate your interest in mathematics and/or science?
Growing up, I always wanted to be a marine biologist. Thinking about the mysteries of the ocean blue always excited me and I craved to learn more about it. My parents were helpful in this aspect by providing me with a plethora of interesting materials about the ocean but it was not until seventh grade that I was given the chance test my knowledge of the deep blue against others. In my seventh grade, I attended the Science Olympiad club and I choose the topic of oceanography and tower building, but needless to say I was most interested in the oceanography topic. Together, my partner and I studied the many books I acquired over the years. Come the day of the competition, we both took the test and placed second in the state for oceanography. As for the mathematics aspect of my life, I attended MathCounts for two years and was a team captain for one year, although we did not place in the top ten, I felt that I did my job and answered all the questions assigned to me correctly, while attempting to help others understand some of the more complex problems.
Other Interests, Talents & Hobbies
I do many things outside of school as a form of relaxation or enjoyment. For example, I have been playing the flute since the seventh grade and since then have always been in my school's concert band because of the happiness I get from playing music for others. I am also a Rubik's cube enthusiast. I practice mainly 3x3x3 cubes but I also dabble on my 2x2x2 cube. My fastest time for the two types is 32 seconds and 15 seconds, respectively. Needless to say, when I solve the cube in front of my peers, I always get asked to teach them the method on solving it. Of course, I do not mind when people ask me to teach them because I enjoy teaching others how to solve the cube so that they may get the same satisfaction of solving it, as I do. Some other hobbies I am fond of is building plastic model kits, specifically plastic Gundam kits. I feel that taking the time to fully build a kit is a rewarding experience because the builder must put in the effort to efficiently assemble the kit the correct way without damaging the parts or place a piece in the wrong area. I also enjoy playing the card game Yu-Gi-Oh. Through Yu-Gi-Oh, I have met many people who enjoy playing the game, and I have also practiced my decision making in tight spots through the game. I also play Ultimate Frisbee at my school. I have been playing for the two years I have been at Southern Lee and have enjoyed playing it ever since. I am also a member of my local karate dojo where I hold a high-purple belt. In the dojo, I can forget everything that is happening in the outside world and focus on the Sensei and helping others perform better.
Help on each would be greatly appreciated even though 5 essays at once may be a little...Overboard. Also, do you guys think I should indent before starting the essay? I see alot of essays do not indent so I was wondering if you guys think I should.