Local graduates reveal their choices for college

| May 30, 2019 | 0 Comments
Annabella Hoge

Off to Washington, D.C. to study

Larchmont Charter senior Annabella Hoge grew up in the neighborhood. She is a Larchmont Charter “lifer” and played in local AYSO softball leagues as a kid.

“I’ve been lucky to have lived in Larchmont my entire life,” said Hoge.

When asked about her senior year, Hoge said, “It has been a blur.” Not only did she spend the year finishing up testing and writing application essays for college, she also performed in her school’s fall production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” worked with LA Teens on a Get Out the Vote initiative for the midterm elections, and continued her work fundraising for UNICEF, among a few other things.

“On top of that, this spring, amidst all the college waiting, I performed in our production of ‘City of Angels,’” she added.

Hoge said that she considered a good selection of universities, narrowing her top choices to Georgetown University, University of Chicago and the University of Michigan. Of those three, Hoge visited all three campuses to check them out first hand.

When it came time to make a decision, Hoge says that “it took a lot of brainstorming and multi-colored charts to get to a decision, but at the end of the day, I had a gut feeling that Georgetown was the right choice for me.”

According to Hoge, it came down to what kind of experience she wanted out of her undergraduate education.

“Georgetown offered me the perfect mix of a supportive, intellectual community combined with an engaged, spirited student body. I feel drawn to Georgetown’s commitment to social justice, and its location in Washington, D.C. is an exciting and promising environment for my next four years,” explained Hoge.

Originally interested in majoring in philosophy, Hoge now says that she is hoping to major in government and English, with a focus on social justice, public policy and journalism.

“As for post-graduation,” said Hoge, “I’m planning on getting a master’s degree in public policy and am hoping to work in education policy. I’m also interested in investigative political journalism, so we’ll see which one I get to first,” concluded Hoge.

Nicolas Turrill

Student selects Ivy League school to study, swim

Loyola High School senior Nicolas Turrill also grew up in the neighborhood. The Windsor Square resident attended St. Brendan’s for elementary school, before transferring to Loyola. St. Brendans also is the church where Nicolas was confirmed and where he has served as one of the student leaders for its confirmation class for the past two years.

For more than nine years, Turrill has been swimming competitively, most recently on the varsity swim team at Loyola. “We won two CIF Division I championships, with the most recent coming in early May to close out my senior season,” said Turrill.

If that wasn’t enough to keep him busy, Turrill served as president of the student-athlete leadership organization The Monogram Club, which ushers and helps plan school masses and other activities. And he served as a leader on Loyola’s Senior Retreat team, and was part of an inaugural group of students to create “Ignatian Scholars,” a new writing center to offer essay-writing help to fellow students.

When it came time to think about college, Turrill said that he was focused on finding a way to continue swimming while pursuing his academic interests.

“Earlier this year, I presented two term papers at a high school literary conference run by the Archer School for Girls where I connected pieces of literature and poetry with my interests in Jungian psychology and Postmodern philosophy. I spent a lot of time on my personal essay in which I attempted to merge these two sides of my ‘inner self’ — athletic dedication and intellectual curiosity — in a creative piece,” said Turrill of his considerations.

In the end, Turrill was accepted to Brown, Columbia and Georgetown. He visited all three campuses before making a decision.

“I decided to enroll at Columbia after visiting the campus and realizing the mass opportunities that are available in New York, along with the beautiful campus and academic programs that fit my interests. Visiting the campus after knowing that I was accepted was a totally different feeling, and it really felt like somewhere that I saw myself living for the next four years,” said Turrill.

Columbia has a unique Core Curriculum approach, which will allow Turrill to pursue his passions, both athletically and academically.

“I am very grateful to Loyola for providing a place where I can foster my academic, athletic and personal aspirations in the best way that I could ever think of,” gushed Turrill.

Subjects like neuroscience and philosophy appeal to Turrill, who said that he ultimately plans to attend law school: “and hopefully find a career in intellectual property law, a field that I believe will grow a lot in the coming years as the internet and social media continue to grow.”

Lena Mizrahi

To study within multiple fields is an attraction

According to Immaculate Heart senior Lena Mizrahi, the Larchmont community has been fundamental to her growth. “After all, I’ve lived here my entire life,” said Mizrahi, who attended Larchmont Charter before transferring to Immaculate Heart for middle and high school.

While at Immaculate Heart, Mizrahi participated in the Lincoln Douglas debate: “I spent most of this year traveling and debating with my team,” said Mizrahi, adding: “Debating is my favorite way to spend my time.”

According to Mizrahi, extracurricular activities and schoolwork held a particular value to her during senior year: “In addition to their obvious merit, they helped me conceptualize my high school experience and future goals. With this in mind, I was well equipped to present myself to colleges whether through interview or writing.”

In addition to senior year school work and debate, Mizrahi said that she spent a “substantial” amount of time writing supplemental essays and narrowing down her list of prospective schools.

“I believe that the personal statement is underutilized. Colleges read thousands of essays. I think it’s important to think critically about yourself and aim to present yourself in the most creative and interesting way,” said Mizrahi of her application approach.

Traveling for debates gave Mizrahi an opportunity to visit a diverse group of campuses, which she said helped her conceptualize her ideal college environment.

In the end, Mizrahi applied to 15 schools, and after some time, she narrowed her final choices to Reed College, American University and Connecticut College.

Which did she pick? “I am incredibly excited and lucky to attend Reed in the fall,” said Mizrahi. “Since the start of my college search, it has epitomized my ideal college. Reed encourages students that value both academic rigor and curiosity.”

Mizrahi said that she fell in love with the school after a visit to Parkland, Ore. last April: “Unlike the other schools I’d visited, I felt right at home.”

Not only is the campus beautiful, according to Mizrahi, but Reed’s curriculum will allow Mizrahi to study within multiple fields, something she said that makes her “quite excited.”

At Reed, Mizrahi plans to major in either International and Comparative Policy Studies or Political Science. “Eventually, I hope to attend law school and work in politics or law,” she concluded.

Sophia Penn

Moving east to attend a liberal arts college

Marlborough School senior Sophia Penn moved to Windsor Square when she was two years old and says that she “grew up on and around Larchmont Boulevard.” Penn’s family also is a member of the Los Angeles Tennis Club and of Wilshire Boulevard Temple, so she knows the neighborhood pretty well.

When asked about her senior year, Penn describes it as both “the most stressful and the most fun.”

Much of her first semester was spent meeting with college counselors and attending college information sessions, and, of course, writing essays.

“On top of all that, I had to keep up with an increasing homework load and all of my extracurriculars. I’m a teen listener at Teen Line, a teen-to-teen crisis and referral hotline based out of Cedars Sinai, so I spent a lot of time volunteering there. I’m also the photography editor for my school’s yearbook, which took up much of my time. The last of my primary extracurriculars is Violets’ Giving Circle, a student-run grant-making organization based out of Marlborough. We spent the year planning our biennial fundraiser, which took place in March,” said Penn.

Penn applied to eight schools in total. But in the end, she picked Wesleyan University, where both of her parents attended.

“Because I’m a double legacy, my counselor thought that, statistically, I would have a good shot and didn’t need to apply to more,” admits Penn. In fact, Penn said that her first choice, Brown, to which she applied early, first deferred her application, and later denied it. Penn’s third choice was Vassar, where she was accepted, but she decided against.

“I chose Wesleyan because it fit exactly with the type of school I could see myself attending. I think my concept of college and my requirements for a school were very much influenced by how I was raised, which was obviously by two Wesleyan grads,” said Penn.

The Marlborough student wanted a small school on the East Coast with lots of flexibility in terms of curriculum.

“Wesleyan was the perfect fit,” said Penn. “I also chose it over the other schools I got into because of its open curriculum. That was the reason I originally applied early to Brown, so without that option, I was glad that I had another option with a similar philosophy.”

Penn said that there are two other Marlborough girls attending Wesleyan with her: “Funny enough, we’re all named Sophia.”

Interested in social and behavioral psychology as well as media studies and sociology, Penn said that she hopes to study the social sciences at Wesleyan.

“I don’t have a specific major or career in mind, which is why I chose a liberal arts college,” said Penn.

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