The college admissions process is a long journey of either success or heartbreak. Before the admission season officially closes its curtains, members of the Class of 2019 share their tales of triumph.
While most seniors received their decisions around March, John F. Kennedy High School senior Yvan Chu received his first and last decision in December last year.
Chu applied to college through QuestBridge, a nonprofit program that links students with educational and scholarship opportunities. After being named as a QuestBridge finalist, he participated in the National College Match, which provides outstanding low-income seniors with the opportunity to gain admission and full four-year scholarships to the nation's most selective colleges.
“Hard work truly does pay off,” said Chu, who will attend Northwestern University this fall with a full-ride scholarship. An aspiring engineering, Chu worked on various engineering projects in the JFK Robotics Makerspace.
“It’s crazy how an email decided my fate for the next four years,” Chu said as he recalled the moment he received his acceptance letter.
Although Northwestern may not have been his dream school, Chu believes anyone can succeed anywhere as long as the person has the willpower to do it. Whether a person is enrolled in a community college or a public university, it doesn’t matter, the hardworking senior said.
“It all depends on the person, and how they make use of the resources that is available to them,” Chu said.
Michael Pangelinan, who recently graduated from Father Duenas Memorial School, is excited to attend his dream school – the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.
"Before, I was scared, but then I came to realize that this is one of my first steps in becoming an adult," Pangelinan said.
Pangelinan is excited to major in global environmental science and to meet new people.
But Pangelinan acknowledged that he will face new challenges. "I feel confident enough to give it a try, to experience a new place," he said.
Mix of emotions
Madison Mafnas, who recently graduated from the Academy of Our Lady of Guam, felt anxious and excited when she opened her acceptance letter knowing it could change her future.
"I also felt relieved because it was such a long process," she said.
Planning to major in biology with a concentration on biochemistry, Mafnas said she would commit to California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.
The future Bronco described her excitement about college. "It feels good to be starting a new chapter in my life but also scary since we all have our own routines here and we will have to start new ones when we start college," she said.
Jordan Peter Leon Guerrero, who recently graduated from Notre Dame High School, reflected on his college admissions experience.
"We’re kinda moving on from this very routine life that we’ve always had for the past 12 years of school and living with our parents, and now most of us are going off island, and in a sense moving on," he said. "It’s overwhelming at first. To some it’s an exciting feeling, and to some it’s ‘I don’t know if I’m ready yet.’”
Leon Guerrero felt the experience was bittersweet – happy that he got accepted but a little blue to be moving on. He also felt a stronger emotional reaction to certain colleges that he was looking forward to hearing from.
"At first, I felt mixed emotions. Then I started to feel very proud of myself," Leon Guerrero said. "I knew that I’ve come a long way from going to high school for four years. I knew that all the hard work led up to that, even if it’s a singular acceptance letter or email. I think that every acceptance letter or acceptance email meant something."
Leon Guerrero plans to major in nursing at the University of Guam for two years and is excited for the academic life in college.
"I’m most excited about the work," Leon Guerrero said. "From what I’ve heard, the workload is a lot heavier when you’re in college and I’m the type of person who likes to be challenged a lot."
Whether moving far or staying close to home, members of the Class of 2019 are taking the next step into adulthood.