Seniors stand out in college applications


Sarah Booth

Seniors Syndey Baker and Kathryn Harter attend the college fair held in the Parkway West Gymnasium on Sept. 15.

It is no secret that getting into the college of your dreams is now harder than ever. West’s 2015 graduates are currently attending college at 72 different institutions from Western Oregon to Eastern Florida. The tricky college admissions game is bound to trip up a few students in the process, so what can students do to stand out among the biggest pool of applicants in national history?

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Senior Crystal Luo drew attention this July after earning a perfect 36 on the ACT, putting her in the top one-tenth of 1 percent of all test takers.

“I’ve applied and gotten into Truman and the University of Minnesota at Twin Cities. I’m going to apply to Wash U, Georgia Tech and a few other schools. I haven’t decided exactly what I want to do yet, but I’m thinking something with engineering right now,” Luo said.

Senior Joe Ross has also done well academically, earning himself the title of National Merit Semifinalist after placing in the top 16,000 PSAT test takers.

“I guess studying for the SAT helped me get semifinalist status. They subtract points if you get answers wrong; you have to be really particular about which ones to answer and which ones to not answer,” Ross said.

Ross was accepted early decision to Dartmouth College on Dec. 15 where he hopes to study finance.

“You have to be well-rounded and pursue things you like to do. Don’t do things you think admissions people would like to see, do what you love and I think your passion will shine through in your application,” Ross said.

For senior Carltraze Matthews, his passion is improving his life in the future.

“I will be a first generation college student in my family. I want a better future than my parents. If I go to college, I can get a better job and better support my future family,” Matthews said.

Matthews has committed fully to his dream and has boosted his GPA by 1.9 points since his freshman year and plans to highlight that in his applications. Matthews is not the student working to change his future.

“My three sisters and I are the first women in my family who will attend a four-year university. We come from a somewhat traditional family where the women are expected to follow the men and get married young, which is not something I want to do. I want to have a career and become independent,” senior Poonita Sheevam said.

Sheevam has already applied to University of Missouri, University of Alabama, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Georgia at Athens and University of Washington at Madison.

“I plan on highlighting my diversity and my experience with different cultures. You really can’t judge a book by its cover. Being a diverse person helps you have a world view, especially in America, because there are so many different people here,” Sheevam said.

According to College Secretary Katie Christensen, seniors should also consider displaying how they changed the world around them.

“I think an applicant should highlight contributions that they made to an organization, not just holding an office, but something they did to make a difference,” Christensen said. “Every applicant can list the activities they have been involved with, but the applicant that made an impact on an organization or school will stand out.”