• Cypress Bay High School - Weston, FL
  • June 3, 2020



Over the course of high school, a wave of seniors at the Bay have been preparing to transition into collegiate studies. For senior Joseph Mullen, this transformation is filled with anticipation as he hopes to make it into his dream school, Brown University. Mullen said he finds Brown University to be more accommodating to his interests of political science, economics and international relations; hence, he feels the need to be well prepared for the application process.

“I really want to do my best while preparing so that my application is successful for Brown University,” Mullen said. “Brown University allows you to design your own major, which is great for me because I’m interested in different subjects so being ready allows me to have a greater chance of getting into the school that will make my aspirations possible.”

To meet the test scores required to be considered for Brown University, Mullen said he is taking multiple Advanced Placement (AP) courses, retaking the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) and is leading clubs like Model United Nations (MUN) and the Political Awareness Club (PAC). 

“Redoing tests and taking higher level courses for the highest score and grade point average is valuable because colleges valuescores, so I am trying to build the numbers they want to see for good measure,” Mullen said. “Extracurriculars are also important because it shows colleges your interests, which helps them assess your authenticity; for me, I like politics and related subjects so [PAC and MUN] show them that.”

In addition to scoring high test scores and being involved in high level academic courses, Mullen said he is preparing for college by focusing on smaller aspects such as studying and communication techniques.

“There’s more beyond what’s put onto paper like having the capacity to study independently because in college, you can’t rely on the teacher to do independent research,” Mullen said. “People skills are also essential because persuading, talking and using rhetoric well with people is important to work with them and I think the speech and debate program in Cypress has helped with that, so I’m a bit prepared.”

For senior Andrea Angulo, she is starting her college applications early and talking to her family members for advice in hopes of attending Georgetown University, a private university in Washington, D.C. She said she wants to attend for its international relations program. Angulo said organization is integral when registering for colleges.

“I talk to my brother and sister about college apps and I’m starting early and just being on top of

[components required for college applications]

to be readyfor the whole process,” Angulo said. “I’m also shifting my schedule at the place I work to have more time for school [to] get prepared and organized for the college set up of not procrastinating and being efficient.”

As well as sticking to a productive regimen, Angulo makes sure to utilize the resources the Bay offers for college and career planning. She said the aid provided in school has guided her in planning for college admissions.

“There are so many amazing people and so many interesting courses like AP United States History you can take that really help you here at Cypress,” Angulo said. “We have experienced counselors and teachers that are more than happy to help you with whatever you need, which makes the task of applying for college more approachable.”

There are services provided at the Baysuch as the College and Career Center. College adviser Shari Bush recommends students take advantage of the information provided for preparing for college, as it is beneficial to them.

“College preparedness is vital because there are so many pieces to the process. It’s overwhelming if they are not ready with what they have to do to successfully apply,” Bush said.
“It’s especially stressful because the process has gotten way more [demanding], so the kids need to make use of the resources they have to be on their A game.”

Although there are requirements like possessing letters of recommendation, sufficient test scores and essays, Bush said having composure is important for college affairs. She said being mentally collected is crucial in helping one gain confidence when applying.

“Students are very stressed out because this is new for these kids and they are concerned they are not going to get into college or the one they want to get into,” Bush said. “It’s really frustrating for students because it’s not really in their control, but I think managing fears and anxiety is important to help prepare, so students don’t stress out before it even starts.”

Mullen is in agreement with Bush and said the Bay has the components necessary for a smooth application submission. He said the teachers and the resources they provide in school allow him to find himself, which aids in planning.

“Cypress really helped me find my identity and the most important thing about college preparedness is to know who you are, and Cypress allowed me to figure that out,” Mullen said. “You have to shine, rather than just being someone who conforms to what the rest of the students are, so Cypress helped me realize what I’m good at to stand out.”

Even with college readiness provided at the Bay, Mullen recognizes the admissions process can be daunting. He said there is a possibility a student will get deferred from the college they apply for. Nevertheless, he maintains a positive outlook towards the situation.

“You have to remain optimistic because there is a chance, but you have to prepare by showing who you are as a person and standing out,” Mullen said. “If you know who you are, it’s an easy process and this is hard to ask from high schoolers because we are still figuring things out, but the safest thing is to truthfully demonstrate your passions instead of faking it for colleges because then you’re doing what you love anyways.”

Angulo said she becomes stressed sometimes because the competition there is associated with preparing for college, but she remains grounded by remembering success is not defined by the school attended.

“I don’t get too worked up by realizing that there are people who haven’t gone to the top schools who are still happy, healthy and successful,” Angulo said. “You will get more doing the best you can at any state school than doing the bare minimum at some place like Harvard and it is also the moments you have that make the college more valuable rather than the place itself.”

Seeing students accepted into their dream college makes Bush content, but like Angulo, she believes in the philosophy that fulfillment is attained in any school a student may attend due to the experiences and relationships students experience.

“There’s no better feeling than seeing a student land the college they really wanted, but I’m very big believer that every student lands exactly where they want to be even if it’s not the dream school,” Bush said. “The dream is where they end up going because that’s where they make lifelong friends, undergo amazing experiences and they make lifelong friends, undergo amazing experiences and they make things happen there.”