Jonah Arquilevich
     "When I first started my college search, I was completely overwhelmed with the amount of schools in the US. I needed a way to break down the massive lists in front of me.  I decided to figure out the top five things I wanted out of a college experience.  For me, that was a kinesiology/pre-physical therapy major, a study abroad program, a college town, a club ultimate frisbee team and a good location (preferably East or West Coast). These five things changed a bit as I researched schools but my core needs were always top of mind.   

    Once I knew what I wanted, I then started looking at the likelihood of getting into these colleges. As much as I wanted to apply to some really prestigious colleges, I came to terms with the fact that I probably wouldn’t get into Stanford or UCLA. I realized that was okay! There are so many great colleges out there that are beyond the typical college search for a California student.  By the beginning of Senior year, I had a good list of colleges based on my research, my needs and my chance of getting in.  Although the list did change through the beginning of my first semester, I ended up applying to seven colleges.

    One of my biggest insecurities when applying to colleges were my test scores. My grades were great (3.89) but my scores were very average (ACT: 25; SAT: 1550). I freaked out while I was applying because I thought my scores were going to stop me from getting into the colleges I wanted. While these scores are somewhat important, there are so many other aspects that admissions office looks at in your application. For example, your GPA, extracurriculars, letters of recommendation, your essay, etc. I didn't understand this and because of that I freaked out because of nothing. I still got into the colleges I wanted because of everything else that was on my application. I will be going to University of Wisconsin at Madison studying Kinesiology to become a Physical Therapist.

    I cannot emphasize enough how important writing a great essay is to your application. This isn’t some essay that you can write in a night. I spent two months writing one of my essays for college. Sooooo give yourself time. This is a great way to show the admissions office what makes you stand out as a person.  It’s probably the only time, besides your recommendation letters, where they get to see who you are. There are variety of different topics they’ll ask you to write about so I would recommend to do some free write over the summer. This will let your creative juices flow and will give you time to reflect to see what you could possibly write about in your essay. One last tip, stay organized. Yes, college applications can be stressful, but only if you let it get away from you. If you stay on top of your deadlines, then you’ll be fine.

    Remember that this the beginning of new chapter in your life so be excited! I know I am. But also give yourself a break. Even if you're about to move on to a new part of your life, don’t forget the one you have right here. Everyone says it but it's true, senior year will fly by. So don't miss it by freaking out about college. It's not worth it because in the end, you’ll be happy wherever you end up."

    Jonah has been offered admission at the following universities:
    University of Wisconsin, Madison
    University of Colorado, Boulder
    Drexel University
    University of Maryland, College Park
    University of Oregon
    Ithaca College