Being the oldest son in my immediate family is often difficult. Upon my shoulders lays the duty to be an example for my younger brother, but also to be the first in my family to walk the unwalked and unpaved pathway to higher education. The majority of my junior year I often worried about how I was going to complete college applications; fortunately, the College Bound Academy was there for me. I feel fortunate that I had the opportunity to experience the College Bound Academy and the resources it provided. 

During the two-week Academy, I learned a lot of information that was both intriguing and helpful. From socializing with my peers to participating in icebreakers and workshops, every moment seemed critical and helpful. I am most grateful for the financial aid and the college application workshop. Analyzing the sample applications and essays demonstrated the different and unique components that make up the college application. I learned that simply having a high GPA isn't good enough, and that the college application is meant to be seen as a profile, analyzing the student as a whole. 

Most importantly, I realized that a student is defined by more than just a number; they're defined by their actions, experiences and personality. Analyzing the sample applications also gave me a closer look at and a better understanding of what I needed to address when I apply and turn in my application to colleges. Attending a workshop that smoothes my rocky path to higher education makes me feel confident that despite my current situation, I have somewhere to start on my college application. 

Besides the field trip to Disneyland for the leadership program, the trip and tour to the Claremont Colleges was one of the best parts of the Academy. I really enjoyed Pitzer's campus and Harvey Mudd's academic programs. Our tour guide made me understand that simply because certain universities and colleges may not be as well-known as others, it doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't as prestigious or rigorous. The campuses were beautiful, and I truly feel excited to start my college application process and apply to these two schools. 

I am grateful that I was part of this Summer Academy. I am fortunate that I have learned so much about the college application process and that I can apply what I have learned when I begin my application. I am fortunate that I had the opportunity to attend this program, and I now feel confident and eager to face the future with my chin up. 

Champions of the unexpected for 20 years.