Ensights Magazine

right college fit

Finding the Right College Fit 2020

Tiffany Townsend, Director of Marketing & Communications
Students are matched with their college counselor at the beginning of freshman year and stay with the same counselor throughout their high school career. Four seniors share their experience with the program and how it helped them find the right college fit.

Mae Mae Wallace Duke University

What are some of the activities/clubs/sports you’ve been involved in at Ensworth?
I have participated in soccer, lacrosse, and tennis, as well as the Tearing Down the Walls club and the Math competition team. I was also a co-director of Kids Academy, worked on the committee for Dance Marathon, and attended the school’s summer trip to China in 2017.

What lessons or experiences from the last two months of school do you think will benefit you in the future?
I think the most important thing I have learned is that face-to-face interaction is not only essential to learning but essential to life. The time this spring without my teachers and classmates left me feeling unmotivated and discouraged. However, I am now even more thankful for the close relationships I have built during my time at Ensworth. 

Talk about your college counseling process--what were some of your main criteria in your college search? How did your college counselor help guide you through the process?
Going into senior year, I had no idea where I wanted to go to college. I had toured almost 20 colleges but still wasn’t sure which ones were my favorites. My college counselor did a great job talking through my college visits with me and helping me articulate what I liked about each school I had seen. She was able to inform me of which schools had what I was looking for academically, and she was able to suggest schools she thought I would like. 

What were your top choices, and what led you to ultimately choose Duke?
My top choices included Duke, University of Virginia, Princeton, Wake Forest, Northwestern, Yale, and Vanderbilt. Duke ended up being my first choice because it is the perfect balance of what I was looking for in a school. It is medium-sized and academically challenging while still having great school spirit and a fun sports culture. It has small classes, impressive research and study-abroad opportunities, a diverse student body, and an ideal location. Finally, Duke is exceptionally strong in my main academic interests of global health and social justice. 

In what ways do you feel like your Ensworth experience has best prepared you for college?
Ensworth has taught me the importance of hard work, resilience, and community. Ensworth creates an environment in which teachers are passionate about teaching, and in turn, students become passionate about learning. Most important, Ensworth’s Harkness table method has taught me the value in collaboration, working with others, and achieving greatness together rather than individually. 

Finish this sentence/thought: Ensworth is… a community that fosters collaboration, a love for learning, and a drive to better the world. 

Dominic Wynn The University of Virginia

What are some of the activities/clubs/sports you’ve been involved in at Ensworth?
I was involved in varsity basketball, football, and track. I helped start the Tearing Down the Walls Diversity Club; I was also a member of the Chess Club, Tiger Pack, and was Student Government Vice President. 
Talk about your college counseling process—what were some of your main criteria in your college search? How did your college counselor help guide you through the process?
When I was looking for colleges that I wanted to attend, I was seeking schools that would challenge me and push me out of my comfort zone. I wanted a change from what I had experienced for the past few years of my life; I was interested in attending a school with a large student body that was a good distance away from Nashville. My college counselor, Mr. Phillips, was very supportive and helpful during my college search. He had worked closely with my brother during his college search, and therefore had a great understanding of my family and our values. That really helped him to guide me in narrowing my search and to introduce me to colleges that weren’t previously on my radar. 
What were your top choices, and what led you to ultimately choose UVA?
My top choices were the University of Virginia, Wake Forest, The University of Tennessee, The Air Force Academy, and North Carolina A&T. I felt like UVA would not only challenge me academically but also give me experiences that would best prepare me for life after college. I am a person who naturally operates in my comfort zone, so I felt that moving away from home and the people I had known my whole life would push me and force me to grow into a more complete person. 
In what ways do you feel like your Ensworth experience has best prepared you for college?
I think Ensworth has prepared me for a rigorous college experience. I am confident that many of the lessons I have learned throughout my time in high school will benefit me in college. Learning to build relationships with my teachers and advisors will help me when I begin to have problems that any regular college student has. I also think I have developed a great foundation of study habits and time management skills that will benefit me as I immerse myself in harder topics and classes. 

What lessons or experiences from the last two months do you think will benefit you in the future?
The virtual learning experience really made me appreciate aspects of my life that I had taken for granted in the past. I really missed going to lunch knowing I was going to have some great conversations with my friends. I missed seeing people around school and in the quad between classes. I don’t think anybody would have ever imagined the year to end the way it did and I hope no other senior class has their year ended that way; however, I feel like being quarantined forced me to change in a great way. I began to fall into a routine and schedule I created myself. It took a lot of discipline to stick to this schedule, especially when I knew that I could be sleeping in a lot more or playing the video game instead of studying. I used this time as a learning experience that would help prepare me for college and I felt I was able to make the best of the situation. 

These past few weeks have exposed school and national issues that were previously ignored or overlooked. As a member of the Ensworth community, I think that it is vital to speak out about issues that we are facing and come together to find solutions. It is impossible to evoke change if we cannot do this in a peaceful manner. We must listen to each other and get ahead of problems that arise before they become unmanageable. As we have seen with the Black Lives Matter movement, if people feel as if they are unheard, they do things that make it impossible to ignore their voices; unfortunately, these actions aren’t always beneficial to the community. These past two months have also shown me how much we still need to change as a country. We have a long way to go to end racism, prejudices, and biases that exist in this world. That said, I am confident that my generation can play a significant role in bringing equity and justice to all people on this planet. 
Finish this sentence/thought: Ensworth is…
a place where I had a lot of great experiences, a lot of bad experiences, and everything in between. However, I wouldn’t change anything about it because it has helped shape me into the person I am today. 

Nabeeh Daouk Case Western Reserve University

What are some of the activities/clubs/sports you’ve been involved in at Ensworth?
At Ensworth, I have played soccer and hockey, and I was a member of the Ping Pong club. I was also House Captain of the House of Morality my senior year. 

Talk about your college counseling process--what were some of your main criteria in your college search? How did your college counselor help guide you through the process?
My main considerations were location, strength of program, student life, and size. I am very interested in science and have spent some of my summers doing research at Vanderbilt in molecular physiology and biophysics, so I wanted a school with a strong science department. JJ Anthony, my college counselor, was super helpful in helping me choose where to apply and being realistic with me. He also patiently read many of my essays and helped correct them. 

What were your top choices, and what led you to ultimately choose Case Western?
Honestly, at first, Case Western was the opposite of what I wanted. It wasn’t as close to home as I wanted, and it didn’t have a D1 football team to watch. But when I visited, I was really impressed by the academic strength and loved the smaller classes. And although it is farther than I would have liked, the short, 1-hour flight seemed much easier than a closer place that required a 6-hour drive. 

In what ways do you feel like your Ensworth experience has best prepared you for college?
Ensworth really allows students to be independent. When it comes to balancing studying with activities and fun, Ensworth prepares students very well. 

What lessons or experiences from the last two months (remote learning) do you think will benefit you in the future?
I’ve learned the value of actually being with people when it comes to learning. I have also become a bit better with technology.

Finish this sentence/thought: Ensworth is…
really a special place with the best people. In my 13 years, I have never met a teacher or faculty member who doesn’t seem to care about the students outside the classroom.

Jordan Yi University of Chicago

What are some of the activities/clubs/sports you’ve been involved in at Ensworth?
I first got into music during the summer before freshman year, in which I joined an eighth grade rock class. I didn’t even know what a C chord was. Since then, I’ve been in rock band and jazz band throughout my high school career. It shaped a lot of my personality, and I know my newfound passion for music was prominent in my college application. 

Visual art is my other passion; I only took one Studio 1 Art class during the school year, but I attended Studio 2, 3, and 4 over the summers to make up for the lost time.
As for clubs, I joined the beekeeping club in my sophomore year. While my schedule was too crammed to attend every meeting, I donned the infamous XL bee suit as many times as I could. Beekeeping was the first activity I had listed on my application.

Talk about your college counseling process--what were some of your main criteria in your college search? How did your college counselor help guide you through the process?
The things I cared most about were the size of the college, the focus on undergraduate studies, and the temperature of the region. I thrive in colder weather, part of why Chicago is an ideal city for me. Size was crucial to me; creating personal relationships with professors was a huge factor in my Ensworth career, and I sought similar bonds for my next four years.
My college counselor Mr. Whitehill and I are tight. College was one of the biggest stressors in my life, so he saw me in his office a lot and quickly got a sense of my personality. I often asked him if he thought the atmosphere/personality of a college would suit me, and I completely trusted his answers. If he felt like the values of the college clashed with mine, he would be sure to let me know.

What were your top choices, and what led you to ultimately choose UChicago?
My top three choices during the application process were Brown, Williams, and UChicago (in that order). I applied Early Decision I to Brown and Early Action to UChicago. I was rejected by Brown and deferred by UChicago, so the big debate was whether or not to apply Early Decision II to UChicago. On one hand, I had a much higher chance of getting in by applying ED II rather than Regular Decision. On the other hand, I wasn’t certain if I was ready to put all of my luck into UChicago; I really wanted to hear back from the other 14 colleges. James Kent, a 2019 graduate who goes to UChicago, was a huge influence in my decision to do ED II. I think his love for the school rubbed off on me. 

In what ways do you feel like your Ensworth experience has best prepared you for college?
The most college-preparatory aspects of Ensworth are probably the Harkness table and student-teacher relationships. I don’t know if I would be able to hold academic conversations or diplomatic discussions as well as I can now had I gone to a school with the traditional desk structure.
What lessons or experiences from the last two months (remote learning) do you think will benefit you in the future?
Self discipline. Just like in quarantine, it’ll be so, so easy to waste the days away in college.

Finish this sentence/thought: Ensworth is…
A home for people who love to love. 
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