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.
Scott wanted more than just to get into college; he was looking to be truly accepted and welcomed. "I felt Wabash [College] really wanted me there," says Scott, who is headed to the single-sex liberal arts school in Indiana to study biology and chemistry. He didn't feel the same about Emory or Indiana, both of which accepted him, or Duke and Boston College (from which he withdrew his application after he got into Wabash). "Wabash pursued me," he says. Indiana checked in biweekly, he adds, but "Emory was less frequent than one would think."
GPA: 3.6 unweighted
SAT scores: 640 math, 760 critical reading, 620 writing
Extracurrics: Rugby, working at nursing home, bio-eco club, volunteering
Redo: Wished he'd found Wabash earlier—and applied to more schools like it
Advice to 11th graders: Don't pick a college based on name and rep; find out what a school is really about.
Most annoying: Not getting straight answers from college admission officers
Coping strategy: Visiting College Board website to input his scores and GPA to see how he'd fare at a school
Searching for scholarship money: "Don't waste your time going for the whole package; there are so few of those."