Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati is a public high school for grades 7-12. Ranked one of America's Best High Schools by U.S. News, it is open to any student in Cincinnati who tests reasonably well. Walnut Hills is culturally and ethnically diverse, and some 95 percent of its graduating seniors go on to four-year colleges. We asked eight seniors to talk about applying for college.
From the start, Jourdan wanted a small liberal arts college. Gettysburg was her first pick, but with a wide range of interests (peace-and-justice studies, global studies, political science, outdoor leadership), Jourdan figured she should study college guides and talk to "lots of people—admission counselors, deans, students, parents of students." She also applied to Wooster, Oberlin, and Warren Wilson, in Asheville, N.C. She settled on Warren Wilson.
GPA: 3.5 unweighted
SAT/ACT scores: 580 math, 620 critical reading, 620 writing/30 composite
Extracurrics: Teen Advisory Board at Cincinnati Art Museum, Swahili classes, Amnesty International Club, May Festival Youth Chorus
Essay: Summer internship at International Justice Mission (Washington, D.C.)
Six degrees of separation: She Googled Gettysburg College to identify similar schools.
Would do differently: Jourdan realized on a trip to New York that she should have applied to city schools, too.
Staying organized: Kept daily to-do list at hand
Worst part: Remembering scholarship deadlines: "It's one more stressor."
Stress reliever: Meditation, yoga, thinking and then making lists
Advice to 11th graders: "Everybody else is struggling with you."