Through hard work and dedication, Jaclyn Perez is this year’s class valedictorian, the highest academic accomplishment a high school student can achieve.
What colleges were you accepted into?
University of Portland, Chapman University, University of San Diego
Which college will you choose and why?
I chose to attend the University of San Diego because I read a lot about it and it seems like a really nice school, both academically (the different programs they have) and location wise. I also liked how it is quite small and close knit like a community.
What is your planned college major? minor?
Why do you wish to pursue this major or career? How does this align with what you would like to achieve in your life after college?
I’d like to major in psychology because I want to learn more about the psychological aspects of being human as well as mental health. Moreover, I hope to become a clinical psychologist specializing in mental health or a child psychiatrist with my major. With this path, I hope to help children and adolescents who are struggling with their mental health and teach them skills on how to manage or treat it.
What about college life are you most excited for?
I’m most excited to meet new people and explore different clubs and organizations in and around the campus.
What advice would you give to a high school student starting college applications?
I’d advise to start your college interest research the summer before your senior year if you haven’t already and to aim for a generous range of schools (“dream” schools, “competitive” schools, “target” schools, and “safety” schools). I believe that it is also important to avoid applying to a school just for the name; if the only reason why you want to go to a certain school is because of their well-known name, then maybe you should reconsider other schools. There are thousands of schools not only in the US but throughout the world, so it is important to figure out what YOU like about certain schools (whether it be a small/large undergrad population, location, majors and courses offered, whatever). I’d also advise that college applicants avoid applying to more than 10 or 15 schools (if you can) because
- the price of the applications will add up,
- it will be extremely time consuming to fill out all of them on time, and
- it will be difficult to figure out what school to commit to from a pool of 15 schools rather than 5 or 6.
What I found surprisingly helpful in the college application process is to stretch out the deadlines for your schools; in other words, apply to some schools as regular decision, others as early action, and others as early decision (*only if you are extremely definite on attending that certain school). For me, I applied to 4 schools: one application was due November 1 for EA, another November 15 due to a scholarship consideration, one December 15, and the last one on January 15. By doing so, I made sure that I kept up my progress in my applications instead of waiting until Christmas break to do all of them which may happen if all of the applications are due in January.
What advice would you give to a new St. John’s freshman?
Besides my senior year, I’d say that my freshman year was the most fun and memorable. Whether you are a returning student or coming from another school, you will all be new and starting with a fresh slate in high school. I think that it is ideal to branch out and make new friends during this year, especially with new students. Personally, I met some amazing people in my freshman year who I am still close to now! Academically, 9th grade may be a shock to some students due to new teachers, subjects, expectations, and of course the workload. What I’d advise for this is to always try your best and to stay on top of your work. It may be hard to focus on doing your homework when there are sports, parties, and school events; however, you will need to learn now how to use time management to your advantage.
What will your lasting memories of St. John’s be?
I’ve been at SJS ever since I was in preK3 and have met countless lifelong friends and amazing teachers throughout my years here. Some of my favorite memories include going on the Japan trip my freshman and sophomore year, watching countless sports games with my friends, paddling for my school on the paddling team ever since I was a freshman, and witnessing some crazy things that my classmates have done at school — from someone almost causing a fire in a microwave to watching a ton of boys do the “harlem shake” dance in the hallway.
How well has St. John’s prepared you for a successful college future?
I think SJS has really prepared me for college due to the workload as well as the challenge aspect of the assignments.
Who has been the most influential person in your time at St. John’s School?
My parents have significantly influenced me throughout my life at SJS.
What clubs/activities/organizations were you involved with on/off campus?
NHS, Service Club, Paddling
How were you able to balance your extracurricular activities and academic life so well?
I try not to procrastinate 😉 when I get home. I usually start my homework right away and try to start my homework on Saturday mornings. If I know I have paddling practice or something to do on the weekends I try to do more homework beforehand.
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