Daniel (Class of 2027) is a high school senior who attends the American Dream Charter School. He applied to over 25 colleges and programs and recently chose to enroll at Fordham University. Daniel plans to study medicine and become a doctor.

Why did you decide to pick Fordham? What qualities were you looking for in a school?

Honestly, choosing a school is very emotional. I felt Fordham was the right choice because my college advisors at my high school had a lot of connections and I already knew I was going to have strong relationships. Also, Fordham treated me really nice compared to other schools – I just knew I was family, so I really appreciated that.

Before this year, what did you know about the college application process? Did Breakthrough teach you anything new?

I already knew how important a GPA was and how important extracurriculars were, but towards my junior and sophomore years, I didn’t clearly understand how to do college research. I feel like this year, I really improved on doing research about college and my future in general. Breakthrough taught me how important acceptance rates are, and it made me want to apply to more colleges. It’s a really strong resource to know.

How would you describe your experience applying to college? Is there anything you wish you knew sooner?

After visiting certain institutions like Fordham [and] Trinity College, it was just a culture shock. I feel like I should have just been more aware [that] when you visit these campuses and attend these schools, you’re going to be completely shocked and have to shift towards a whole new crowd, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Because eventually you have to progress and meet new people.

What advice would you give to an 11th grader applying to college next fall?

Start your essays early. What you want to pursue is very important – there’s a lot of essays asking about that, [and] an important life story. Be prepared emotionally because some people aren’t emotionally built for the stress, or some people don’t have the right support system to support them emotionally. Don’t be scared to ask for help because you’re going to have to email and call a lot of admissions officers and tech people. Just don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially if you have Breakthrough or a college advisor. It’s just good to have them.

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