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Cracking the Code to College Acceptance

3…2…1…Submit! In the fall of 2022, Success Academy seniors gathered together for what is one of the most exciting — and nerve-wracking — moments of the year: when they submit their college applications. The College Access & Preparedness team hosts the submission party for every graduating class; CAP counselors guide seniors through identifying “best-fit” colleges, cultivating impressive portfolios, and navigating the application and financial aid processes — they are just as eager to celebrate this culminating moment as the seniors! 

Flash forward a few months, and 100% of the Class of 2027 have earned acceptances into college. They are the sixth graduating class of SA HSLA-MA to do so. Senior Janell Prince has accepted an offer from her dream college, Northeastern University — and we had a chance to sit down with her to learn about her journey to this achievement. Throughout her high school experience, Janell sought every opportunity to pursue passions and get involved. Her high school experience was defined by participating in clubs, enjoying formative summer experiences, jumping into SA leadership roles, and creating memories with her friends at the beloved “senior lake.” 

Getting into college is no easy feat, especially into one as renowned as Northeastern University. Find out how Janell was able to make the most of her high school experience — and use SA resources to her advantage — to get there!

What was your experience with the CAP program? 

My CAP counselor, Ms. Di Mitri, helped me with everything! She goes above and beyond to make sure that I’m taken care of, that I know all the application steps and deadlines, and that I’ve made the most informed decisions, even about financial aid packages and specific college offerings. I feel really prepared and I always feel like I have her supporting me and rooting for me in the background. It’s actually really cool, because our CAP counselors choose who they work with — which makes you feel really special — and they only have about 30 seniors, so you get a lot of personalized and individualized attention. I took a leap of faith in applying to Northeastern, and I felt like being able to share the things I participated in at Success made my application stand out.

The CAP period of the day — 7th period for me — is set up for us to ask questions about college applications, financial aid, prepare for our SATs, work on our essays, and anything else college related. They helped me get all my letters of recommendation completed Junior year — that was one less thing to worry about. 

 What else helped you get across the finish line when it came to applying to and getting into college?

There are a lot of little things that made me feel supported. Success really differs from other high schools, because from elementary school onward, the whole end goal is college. It’s more than a high school, it feels like a college preparedness school. Even the way our schedules are set up helps us out: We have half days on Wednesdays and Thursdays so we can get more involved in clubs and activities, or attend office hours with our teachers; all things to build up our experiences and applications. 

What sorts of clubs and activities have you been involved in at SA? Did they impact your decision on college in any way?

I’ve been a part of about four different dance clubs and a lot of other activities like cooking club and a peer mentorship club. There are just so many opportunities to get involved! I’ve even taken advantage of different summer experiences like a Journalism Intensive at the New York Times, and an African American Women’s Studies course at Barnard College. When I tell people about all the programs I’m involved in they ask: “How do you have time to do all of this?!” Our block schedule really makes it possible to get your hands on anything you want to. 

All of these things together showed me where my interests lie and what I should look for in a college; plus my CAP counselor helped me showcase all of my involvements in my application. I’ll be studying political science and international affairs at Northeastern, and I already know I can handle the coursework because of my summer experiences!

What advice do you have for younger scholars?

I’m actually an SA Ambassador and led a lot of student organizations, so I can definitely say school isn’t easy — I was challenged multiple times — but in the end it’s really rewarding. It’s a lot of work, but it balances out with tons of school events and friendships that make it what it is. A school is a school, but we make it a home, you know? It’s really the SA community that made this place worth coming to every day. Everybody can say “community this, community that,” but you actually have to be actively involved in it, taking advantage of offers, and doing your part. You have to interact with others around you. Be in the club. Join the program. Success Academy is only what you make it.

Written by Success Academy April 18, 2023

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