“Specifically for me, I was really interested in a school that had a very integrated learning program with [hands-on work experiences], and the co-op program at Northeastern was one of their best driving points,” Jimmy says.
Jimmy is a senior at Liberty High School in Frisco, TX. In the fourth grade, his family moved to Texas, and ever since he has craved the opportunity to return to the Northeast. After spending years working toward that goal, he’ll head to Boston this fall to attend Northeastern University.
Like a true Husky, Jimmy thrives on colder weather.
“Going back to the cold and transitioning from the hot weather in Texas is something I really wanted… Some of my best memories are of shoveling snow and watching the snow plow go through the road,” Jimmy says.
Jimmy was one of the 91,000 students who applied to Northeastern University this year—an all-time high. Of those students, only about 13,800 students will attend. Jimmy is fortunate to be in that group, but his approach to college admissions involved a lot more than just luck. Read on to learn about Jimmy and the steps he took to earn that acceptance letter.
Learning and Serving
Jimmy is a member of the Key Club and chess club at his school, but his main extracurricular is varsity tennis. Playing tennis has also given him the opportunity to volunteer his time to teaching the sport to children with autism.
“I’m in a program called ACEing Autism where we teach autistic kids how to play tennis and the fundamentals. Most importantly, we focus on trying to get them to be more active and how to build on their social skills,” Jimmy says.
This commitment required him to wake up a little earlier every day. But over time, Jimmy started to feel a close connection with the families he served.
“Just seeing the kids grow and watching them progress throughout the term was really fulfilling for me,” Jimmy says.
Outside of school and serving others on the court, Jimmy enjoys playing video games with friends and helping out at his parents’ restaurant.
The Path to Northeastern
Jimmy’s college prep journey began in 7th grade, and he continued to attend test prep activities throughout high school. He said his favorite part of the program was the practice tests with reviews.
“I definitely liked the idea of taking a practice test at your own pace and coming in and scheduling a test review. During test reviews, the teachers were very patient, and they knew their stuff. That’s where I got the most help and where I improved the most,” Jimmy says.
One mistake Jimmy says that many new KD students make is that they think that signing up alone will magically improve their scores. But that’s not quite how the program works—you have to show up and do the work.
“Going into it you think that KD will transform you—and it will—but 90 percent of the work is you,” Jimmy says. “More than anything, you should enjoy the opportunity that you have and understand that we’re really lucky to be given this test prep program,” Jimmy says.
Jimmy also signed up for the Pinnacle Program. He worked closely with Steve Peifer, Vice President of College Counseling, to develop his essays and find guidance on different aspects of the process.
“I really enjoyed being able to meet with Steve every week. If there was something that was blatantly not okay for the college’s essay, he was not afraid to step in. That’s what I really liked about him. He was very straightforward,” Jimmy says.
Jimmy knew that he would need a unique topic to help him stand out in the sea of applications for Northeastern. Luckily, Steve and Jimmy found a topic early on in the process. But despite having a head start, it still took a few months to get his essay in the right place.
“One thing Steve told me was ‘You only have 650 words to tell someone about your entire life. You have to make it worth it.’ So what I tried to do is make each sentence meaningful in a way that contributed to the whole essay and shows my personality as a student, as a son, and as a learner,” Jimmy says.
A Hands-On Education
One of the unique aspects of Northeastern University is their co-op program. Students have the opportunity to gain professional experience and build connections in their field through full-time internships and job experiences. The program alternates semesters of college coursework with semesters spent gaining hands-on job experience, including opportunities to study abroad. With these professional experiences, it’s no mystery why Northeastern touts a job and graduate school placement rate of 92 percent.
“That is one of the biggest things I focused on—ensuring that I do get a job right out of college. And that’s what Northeastern provided more than anyone else,” Jimmy says.
Jimmy describes himself as a “STEM oriented student,” and his favorite classes in school were chemistry and physics. He plans to study engineering at Northeastern, and he can’t wait to find co-op opportunities that will help him build a strong foundation.
“[Hands-on] is the best way that I learn personally. Obviously I can sit in a lecture hall and do the work, but being hands-on in the engineering field is something that will really solidify learning for me,” Jimmy says.
Five years from now, Jimmy hopes his Northeastern education will open doors for him at some of the most well-known companies in the Boston area.
“The ideal goal is to hopefully have a job right out of college. I would love to get picked up by one of the big companies in Boston—like Microsoft, Apple, or Google. That would be the absolute dream,” Jimmy says.
Jimmy said he still can’t believe he’s a senior. Now that college applications are done, Jimmy plans to make the most of his time left with friends and family. Boston is much farther than a four-hour drive away, so he wants to focus on building strong relationships now before they become long-distance.
While he plans to stay in touch with his close-knit group of high school friends, he can’t wait to join the Husky pack this fall.
“Northeastern is the fit for me, and I’m really glad I got in… People always say that college is where you’re going to make your life-long friends, but I think it’s also really important to remember those back home who helped me along the way,” Jimmy says.