Sumner Academy of Arts and Science in Kansas City is a magnet school for grades 8-12. Ranked one of America's Best High Schools by U.S. News, it is ethnically diverse, and some 92 percent of students participate in the school's AP or IB programs. We asked eight Sumner seniors to talk about applying for college.
A funny thing happened on the road to the Ivies for Carlos Fernández, who will be studying economics at the University of Kansas. He plans to fix that. After taking the PSAT as a junior, Fernandez had "a lot of invitations, even from Ivy League schools," to apply. But "time flew by," says Fernández, who wishes he had struck while things were hot. "Not a lot of time for myself—it's about the family," says Fernández, the first in his immigrant family to attend a university. He started his applications during winter break only to realize he didn't even have teacher recommendations. Now, he wants to retake his ACT, take the SAT, and apply to transfer to Harvard, New York University, or the University of Texas.
GPA: 3.1 unweighted
ACT score: 22 composite
Extracurrics: Latino Ethnic Awareness Program, Model United Nations, Youth Volunteer Corps, working at McDonald's
Do-over: Keeping track of deadlines. "I made a huge mistake" by missing out on many available minority and need-based scholarships. A Pell grant will pay a third of his costs; loans must cover the rest.
Hardest part: "Organizing my time"
Oops: Sent the wrong testing information to the University of Minnesota, which rejected him.
Regret: "I should have talked to my parents and told them, 'I need you guys to give me more time.'"
Advice: Be organized. Make your deadline one week before the application is actually due.
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