After four long, drama-filled months, Ojai Valley School senior Cole Zellner got the call he had been waiting for. Last March, he was accepted to his dream college, the University of Utah.
But it was not an easy road to get there.
Following his initial application, Cole was denied, but he didn’t let that stop him. He immediately submitted an appeal, soliciting help from admission counselors and advisors.
“I constantly pestered them to get information back on where I was, and I contacted them at least once a week until [I heard back,]” he said.
In order for an appeal to be accepted at U of U, students need to be sponsored by a representative in their major. Cole quickly wrote an essay to obtain his sponsor, and then called an admissions counselor.
What Cole thought to be a normal phone call quickly changed when he was congratulated on his acceptance, and told he could make his deposit.
“I was excited and relieved when I got in,” said Cole, who will major in entertainment arts and engineering, a major specific to The University of Utah, and one ranked in the top five in the country for this program. “After such a long application process it was nice to know that I was finally done, and that my hard work paid off.”
Cole is among the dozens of OVS seniors whose hard work has paid off with acceptance to the college of their dreams.
After sending out a total of more than 200 applications and receiving roughly 100 acceptances, seniors have made their final decisions, bringing a long, anxiety-filled application process to an end and allowing students finally to relax.
The Class of 2016 will scatter across the globe next year.
Ally Feiss will head to the University of Massachusetts at Lowell near Boston, while Yuhi Kuramoto will return to his native Japan where he will attend Asia Pacific University in Oita. Joe Foulger will attend the University of Washington, Brendan Goldberg is going to Emory University in Atlanta, and Victor Yen will attend Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida.
“I’m proud of them,” said College Counselor Judy Oberlander, who has overseen every step of the application process. “I think that all the seniors have taken responsibility and have really worked to make it happen for them.”
That is absolutely true for Student Council President Davis Smith.
From day one, Davis knew that he wanted to go to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. From major to location, he saw that Cal Poly was the perfect fit, and from there, the application process went smoothly.
“Unlike most people, [the process] was very easy,” Davis said. “I applied early decision, I created my application 18 seconds after it opened, and I was finished with my applications before November.”
Davis applied to one other school for safe measure, though he was set on going to Cal Poly.
“I was really worried [about getting in] because I knew exactly what I wanted,” Davis said. “And if I didn’t get exactly what I wanted, I would’ve had to reconsider my whole future.”
Davis will start at Cal Poly next fall, and will major in business, with the hope of one day taking over his father’s sports agency. Cal Poly’s “Learn by Doing” motto appealed to him, as did the idea that he would have four years of experience in his major.
“I think their motto says a lot about what you learn and what you get out of the program,” Davis said. “It’s about actually going out into the community and being thrown into situations that you’ll face in the real world, and that says a lot about the program and the school.”
Kendall Shiffman is another example of what could be described as a turbulent application process.
She completed her applications one by one, saving Chapman University for last to spend the most time on the application for her first-choice school.
Kendall put her all into the application, reading and rereading her essay, and triple-checking every box.
“I checked [the application] for about three days before I even submitted it,” Kendall said. “[I] made about every single person I know proofread my essay to make sure there were absolutely no errors in it – I couldn’t afford missing out on my dream school over a typo.”
However, right after Kendall added the finishing touch, disaster struck. Her computer screen reloaded, deleting everything she had written. Just like that, all her hard work had vanished into thin air.
“I didn’t believe that it was gone,” she said. “I kept checking my tabs and my history to make sure it wasn’t some horrible mistake. It took a few minutes to set in that my countless hours of work had disappeared.”
Kendall took a few days to regroup, and began chipping away at a new application. She finally submitted the finalized application, and five months later, got her acceptance.
Kendall will major in strategic and corporate communication, and wants to minor in visual media studies.
“Chapman is the only school with that major,” said Kendall on why she chose the school. “It’s Chapman specific, which is a huge reason why attending Chapman was so important to me. That major encompasses most, if not all my areas of interest.”
Few Ojai Valley School seniors have worked harder than Minwoo Sohn to prepare for college.
He came to the OVS his freshman year and grappled to master the English language. Determined not to let that challenge stop him, Minwoo pushed himself, knowing that with effort, success would come.
“I knew at first my English wasn’t as good as [it is] right now,” Minwoo said. “I was aware of that, but I just tried to do what teachers told me to do – do everything my best – and somehow my English got better. From then, whenever I faced some difficulties, I would just keep trying and trying.”
After four years of hard work, it finally paid off.
Minwoo will attend the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, majoring in environmental engineering. He chose the school for its highly-regarded program, as he’ll have an advantage in the field come graduation.
“I think this is my school and I’m pretty happy about it,” Minwoo said. “I’m excited. It’s a whole new experience and a whole new chapter of my life.”