Walking the gauntlet

College admissions are brutal.

Compared to our parents’ experiences, we seem to work so much harder—passing all our regular, honors, and AP classes; taking the ACTs and SATs; listing, visiting, and applying to our potential colleges—and, after all the applications are done, we can only hope for an acceptance to one of our “dream” schools.

But, in light of the college frenzy, we still have Seniors with special acceptances, Seniors who—through all the brutality—managed to walk the gauntlet into top schools. Three examples include Peter Sutarjo ’18, Will Roberts ’18, and Donny Kim ’18.

Peter was accepted into UCLA, which has only a 14.6% acceptance rate, Will to Stanford University (4.3% rate), and Donny to Johns Hopkins University (9.9% rate).

“Besides my parents, I was also motivated because this is a merit-based society, so you get recognized for how hard you work,” said Donny.

Besides stellar academics, all three were active in and out of school. By Senior year, Peter had led Jesuit High School’s FBLA and Cybersecurity club, Will was a state ranked swimmer and led NHS, and Donny played varsity tennis and placed 14th in the nation for parliamentary speech and debate.

“It’s not necessarily passion,” said Will on his extracurriculars. “Just be open, specifically at Jesuit. You don’t know until you try.”

And these aren’t Seniors without dedicated aspirations either. Peter wants to become an entrepreneur or head a cybersecurity firm; Will wants to specialize in biotechnology; and Donny wants to be a lawyer or public advocate concerning LGBT laws.

“The college name should not dictate where you go,” said Peter. “The name is important, but go to college, not just for the education, but also for potential work experience, research opportunities, and work related to your field.”

These three Seniors have exceeded the multitude of “competition” that increases every year.

Jesuit Counselor, Ms. Jennifer Rasmussen, said that with the facility of electronic applications like Common App, free applications, and a now “college-going generation,” students are more likely to find themselves applying to a lot more schools.

“Think of it like ‘throwing the dice,’” said Ms. Rasmussen. “If you have the grades, for example, then a school like Creighton is likely to admit you. But, nowadays, students are applying to more colleges just to make sure.”

Peter, Will, and Donny had each applied to 10-15 colleges, an amount considered excessive by our parents’ generation. But, like Ms. Rasmussen said, that’s just how it is nowadays. We must cast our net wide and see what fish we catch, and perhaps, like these three Seniors, it’ll be a big one.