Archive for the “Student Spotlights” Category


Students and parents I’ve worked with have always wondered how they were going to pay for college.  But as of late it’s noticeably an even greater concern, and a lot of students are thinking coming up with all sorts of ideas to make those tuition bills.  Some are taking a year off to work and save up extra cash, and others are utilizing the power of social networking to fundraise their way to college.

Rachel Harris, 17

Rachel Harris, 17

Case in point, high school senior Rachel Harris of Muskegon, Michigan was inspired by President Obama’s grass-roots campaign efforts and decided to put some of those ideas to raise money for her college tuition.  She started a website iwanttogotonotredame.com where you can check out her recommendation letters, college essay, transcripts, and, if you feel compelled, donate to her college tuition for Notre Dame.  Rachel and her website have already been featured on Fox News, in USA Today, as well as local media outlets.

Good luck, girl, and way to go after your dreams!

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I’m really excited to introduce you to some fabulous young women who have joined the Youth Editorial Board for Guide & Seek and will be writing guest posts on high school and college life, book/movies/product reviews, and their perspectives on getting through the college admission process.  Please welcome Alex, Vaneisha, and Hannah!

Alex is a senior at Santa Margarita High School in Orange County, California. She is the editor of her school newspaper and cites Journalism and English as her favorite classes. Alex has been an avid swimmer since the age of seven and is now Co-Captain of her high school swim team. She enjoys spending her free time shopping, going to the beach, doing yoga, and reading. She also enjoys traveling with her friends and spending time with her boyfriend, Raion (Ryan). Alex’s ultimate goal is to attend Law School to become a sports and entertainment attorney, however, before that can happen she hopes to attend UC Berkeley or the University of Southern California in the fall.

Vaneisha is currently a junior at Foshay Learning Center in Los Angeles, California. She is in the USC Neighborhood Academic Initiative; a rigorous school program that prepares students with college preparatory skills. As a well rounded student, she often balances tough classes such as physics and chemistry with her favorite sport volleyball. Vaneisha would love to attend either Dartmouth College or Stanford University, but her dream school is Columbia University. She would like to major in pre-medicine to become a pediatrician and minor in either philosophy or global studies. In her spare time, she likes to spend time with her friends and to explore what she can of California.

Hannah lives in New York City and is a junior at Hunter College High School where she’s attended since she was four-years-old. Now she is the Club Manager of her Student Government, organizing over 80 clubs, and she’s also on the varsity soccer team and taking philosophy as her elective.  She spends most of her free time with her friends in Central Park and earns money by babysitting on the weekends.

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This week’s student spotlight is on Veronica Bianqui, a student at UCLA and an ethnomusicology major.  Here, Veronica answers a few questions about life as a Bruin.

Jaye: So what exactly is ethnomusicology?

Veronica: Ethnomusicology is the study of music around the world through an anthropological/sociological perspective.  On the academic side we study the social context in which music is found.  We also study the music itself, such as learning to play the instruments.

J: And how did you end up choosing this major?

V: I am a singer/songwriter, and I thought the exposure to world music would influence my own compositions in a positive way.  I thought it would be a more interesting route than studying purely Western music.  I also liked the fact that I could audition for the program with any instrument in any style.  It allowed me to show my strongest point, which is writing songs.  On top of that, I’ve wanted to learn to play sitar for many years, and never thought it could happen so soon!

J: What has it been like to be a student at UCLA?

V: UCLA is a school that has grown on me.  I didn’t always love it, but I like it more and more as time goes on.  Being a student at UCLA has been a great experience, especially for transitioning to being my own person, apart from my parents.   What I love about the school is that even though there are so many students it is easy to make it feel smaller by joining clubs or just by being in the small Ethnomusicology department.  At the same time there is always someone new to meet.

J: What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not studying?

V: I absolutely love traveling, meeting people, and writing.

J: What advice would you give to high school juniors or seniors who are starting to make decisions about where to go for college?

V: Follow your gut instinct!  I thought I was going to go to Sarah Lawrence College, but when I visited something inside did not quite click, even though I liked the school. Because of that feeling I chose UCLA, and I do believe it is where I’m meant to be. More advice I would emphasize is to follow your passion. Don’t worry about being  a cookie-cutter student (in a million clubs, all APs, etc. ) unless you actually want to do those things! Take risks, do what makes you happy, don’t be terribly occupied with the future, and you will end up where you belong.

Visit Veronica and her music on MySpace!

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