May 1st is college decision day. For many high school seniors and their parents, May 1st is a day wracked with nerves and triumph bringing to a close the year-long process of applying to college.
For BUILD students, the day is not one year, but four years in the making.
“We start talking about college as early as freshman year,” says Dori Aspuru-Takata, BUILD’s college counselor. “Our students go on college tours their 9th grade, 10th grade and 11th grade years of high school.”
In addition to helping our students launch real businesses, BUILD works with students to provide them with the academic and emotional support they need to succeed in high school, college and beyond.
All of our seniors are on track to graduate high school in June with many of our students headed off to four year universities.The road to college has been a memorable, difficult and rewarding experience for all involved with the BUILD students’ success.
“One of my favorite memories is when one of our students, Mahoganey, received her first college acceptance. She just lit up,” says Dori.
I sat down with BUILD seniors, Isaiah and Nathaly, to recap on the college application process and their four years with BUILD.
BUILD seniors, what’s your favorite BUILD memory?
Nathaly: “The college trip to New York is my favorite memory. It was fun—we got to see college and universities.”
Isaiah: “I guess you could say my favorite memory of BUILD is my whole 9th grade year with my original group. I just really enjoyed their company every Wednesday night.”
How has BUILD helped you on your high school journey over the last four years?
Nathaly: “BUILD helped me have a mentor. Mentors will do something fun with you and they’ll push you to do well in school.”
Isaiah: “I guess you could say that BUILD has helped me in all areas—to speak louder, to make my voice project and to maintain eye contact. I noticed that if someone asks me where I learned things I usually say ‘BUILD.'”
Isaiah, what advice do you have for 9th graders beginning the BUILD program?
Isaiah: “Don’t be afraid to be yourself. I felt my 9th grade year that being myself was an issue. I was and still am a loud person.
When I was freshman, I was very loud because I wanted everyone to know who I was. Through BUILD, I learned that there’s a time to joke around, and that there’s a time to be professional.”
Nathaly, do you have any tips for 9th grade BUILD students?
Nathaly: “Don’t leave BUILD.”
Nathaly: “Because you’ll lose out on a lot of things. I see that everyone that is here is going to college or is finishing high school and will have the opportunity to go to college. They may not want to initially— but they will have the chance to, unlike a lot of people who stopped coming.”
Come celebrate our seniors with us on Saturday, May 30th at our annual Youth Business Plan Competition. We’ll be having a special ceremony to wish them well on their college journeys!