not all schools are created equal; until education equity steps in.
This month I am attending the APIASF Higher Education Summit. I’m incredibly excited and can’t wait to see what I learn to apply to my communities! I’ve always thought about education, and I’ve realized that I’m somewhat obsessed with the idea of the matter. Education is the part of my life that has allowed my parents to support my family for so many years, and that will now allow me to achieve many of my dreams to change lives and communities for the better.
As I think about education, I realize that my angle is from the one of access, equity, and diversity. From seeing it in different communities and within my own family, I’ve realized that I am incredibly fortunate that I grew up with a school system that encouraged students and offered many opportunities to strive for the best. Looking back and comparing my high school experience to my peers in college, I know that I had high access to a great education.
What I notice now is that because it was a high quality and well-ranked school system, many of my classmates felt just used to having one-on-one help from teachers after school, and just simply registering for AP classes. It felt as if we were conditioned into thinking these resources would always be available. It definitely influenced my choice to pick Babson, since they have similar resources for their students in a one-on-one-like environment. But would I even have been accepted to Babson if I didn’t have these assets to help me through my high school years?
All high schools are not created equal. It’s different at every school. It was surprising to hear from one of my friends who transferred into our school system that her previous high school never heard of these “AP classes”. One of my friends in Pennsylvania didn’t know how to use the common app to apply for college while my high school had integrated a semester long program to teach about such skills and topics. A friend in California told me that in his high school of 1500, they had only one counselor to deal with class registration, academic woes, and how to apply for college. My high school had about eight counselors for the same amount of students, and each one wrote hundreds of individualized recommendations for their students if they needed them. My classmate in New York went to a high school that had economics and finance in the name, but couldn’t offer the AP Macroeconomics or AP Microeconomics course. Both were offered at my high school, yet the students in my class complain and wish they didn’t take the course.
Hearing these different stories amongst many made me truly see how many resources we just had available. Those who didn’t use them or didn’t appreciate them made me feel sickened that they didn’t. Because I used them, I became qualified for highly competitive high school programs. I became qualified and competitive for great colleges and even for scholarships.
Without many of these resources, I would’ve had a completely different experience applying for colleges. I’m grateful that during high school, I was able to experience everything from participating in clubs, to winning scholarships to travel abroad, to challenging myself in 8 out of 21 Advanced Placement courses my school had to offer. These resources and more provided me with content and anecdotes for eight essay questions that won me the Gates Millennium Scholarship. Not every school is lucky to have these for their students; I certainly couldn’t have done it without access to a great education.
I’ve gotten so far because of my quality secondary education and access to a diverse and opportunistic learning environment. So I just know within my heart that my passion is along the lines of seeing others succeed as well. I love being a GMS Ambassador and encouraging students to hopefully change their lives with this scholarship. I keep connected with my high school and encourage students to use their resources and to not take their education for granted. I want to pay forward how enriching my education was. That is why my intended business administration degree from Babson is going to be applied for advocate for education equity and access. As I talked about this with one of my mentors, he heard it in my voice that finding a way to advocate for education for all is indeed my passion.