Vida’s Victory: Cornell on the Horizon


A Future Doctor

Vida is a self-professed nerd.

“I really like science. I love learning about the hows of the world around us. I always like stopping to ask, ‘Wait, how does this work?’ I was always the kid who asked a lot of questions. That’s how I would describe myself. I am very nerdy.”

It’s Vida’s curiosity that set the trajectory of her life plan. After graduating from Cornell, she plans to enroll in medical school. “Somewhere a bit warmer than Ithaca,” she jokes. She wants to specialize in dermatology.

“I realized I like working with my hands,” she said. “I like technology. I like speaking to patients. I love forming relationships with people. I want to be able to help people. I think this is a way to combine all of those things, specifically through dermatology.”

In preparation for her medical school goals, Vida participates in her school’s HOSA – Future Health Professionals chapter, in which she competes in the Family Medicine Physician event and formerly competed in the Medical Spelling category.

When Vida isn’t involved in extracurricular activities to move toward her goals, she can be found reading comic books, doing the daily Wordle, or completing The New York Times’ mini crossword. No matter what Vida does, she makes sure it stimulates her brain.

A Trip to the Ivy League

Cornell was Vida’s top choice school. After visiting the campus on a school trip, she quickly fell in love with the look and feel of this New York university .

“I went on a school trip back in May, and we went to the Northeast. I was talking to one of my teachers about this—there’s just this architecture that the East Coast has that Texas doesn’t really have because it’s not old enough. You get to see so many historical buildings that are just so cool. The way that the school is just designed—it’s beautiful.”

She’s also excited for the wide diversity that is present on Cornell’s campus. Coming from a predominantly white high school, Vida is excited to join Cornell’s Black Student Union and the Nigerian Student Association.

“I think there are 10-15 black people in my entire graduating class of 736,” she said. “So I’m really looking forward to experiencing that kind of a community as well.”

Staying Two Steps Ahead

Getting into Cornell wasn’t easy. Vida worked hard to be a good student. While her love of learning and her habitual reading has helped, it took more than curiosity and good grades to gain admittance.

While a student at KD, Vida took practice tests, attended test reviews, utilized the online test prep courses, and participated in one-on-one college counseling. During her time as a KD student, Vida was able to improve her SAT score from a 1290 to 1550.

As Vida reflects on her college prep journey, she remarks that it was all worth it.

“It definitely pays off,” she said. “I have talked to people who haven’t worked as much, and they definitely regret it. Especially as it is right now with every incoming class—it’s harder to get into a good school.”

For students who struggle with their motivation, Vida offers this piece of advice:

“It might be that little extra effort that pushes you into the tier of the school you want. It may feel unnecessary to put in that extra effort, but even if you do too much, what’s the harm? You’ll still be in a better place than you would have been before.”

Due to her demanding extracurricular schedule, Vida enrolled in online test prep and her lessons were held over Zoom, which wasn’t an issue for her.

“It kept people engaged,” she said. “It can get a little bit difficult when you have kids online. I thought the teachers were so good at keeping up with things. If I had a question I could still ask it and get an explanation. I thought [my experience] was really, really good,” she says.

She found that her extra work served her well as she began to apply to schools. After working on college applications and essays with Vice President of College Counseling Steve Peifer, Vida was able to get accepted with an early decision from Cornell. She believes having all of the scary things done early with guidance drastically decreased her stress levels.

“By the time people were starting their college essays, I was done. I’m already accepted to college, so I don’t have to stress.”

Vida said the trick to writing the perfect college essay is to just be yourself, a tip she got from Steve Peifer, her college counselor.

“Don’t rely on a different essay that you have seen before Don’t be intimidated by that, just write how you write. You have your own unique stories and perspective. How you would relay your story is different from someone else,” she says.

Support Along the Way

Finally, Vida says the most important piece of her academic success was support. On the day she got her acceptance letter, her father cried.

“My parents are extremely supportive,” Vida says. “They’ve always told me how proud they are. It makes everything so much easier. Things have seemed hard, but with them everything seems just a little bit easier because it was never, ‘You can’t do this.’ It was always ‘You can, it’s just going to take a little work.’”

In addition to her parents, Vida found support from her friends, her peers, and KD’s resources.

“I know that obviously I put in a lot of hard work, but all of the support I’ve gotten from my parents, my friends, from other students, from KD—all of that really helped,” she says.

Vida is one of six spectacular Class of 2023 Pinnacle Program students to be accepted to Cornell University.

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