Senior Year Chronicles: Logan
Senior Year Chronicles: LoganDesirée A. Beach, Assistant Director, ACCUPLACER
Throughout the 2016-2017 school year, four College Board staff members talked regularly with four students who were navigating their senior year of high school and preparing for their futures. This installment of the “Senior Year Chronicles” summarizes Desirée Beach's conversations with Logan from Virginia.
Genuine. Dedicated. Astute. Compassionate.
Atypical words to describe teenagers—but then again, there is nothing typical about Logan Love.
From our initial discussion last year, it was evident our meet-and-greet was going to take longer than the arranged 30-minute video chat. Why? Because I was so intrigued by this young man who is making great strides to effect change.
Just as his last name implies, Logan, a then 17-year-old senior at Patriot High School in Gainesville, Virginia, is driven by his love of helping others. What is most impressive about his desire to help is his authentic, altruistic nature.
“I’ve always known I wanted to help people,” Logan enthusiastically told me, so it’s not the least bit surprising that he logged over 200 hours of community service. As an active member of Key Club International (the high school affiliate of Kiwanis International, an organization aimed at serving children worldwide), his volunteerism ranged from helping the nurses in the ER at a nearby hospital to tutoring 5th graders at a local elementary school on a weekly basis.
When not giving back to his community, Logan was extremely involved in making new students feel welcome at school. As a member of the Pioneer Ambassador Club, he and other members helped mentor all incoming students (freshmen through seniors) in a unique way: He, like the other club members, would send text messages and have lunch with these new students, all in effort to provide more opportunities for the newbies to make “more emotional connections with people” and ultimately create new friendships.
While Logan’s dedication to school is evident, he admitted the demands “can be overwhelming,” at times. It is, however, the support of his parents—coupled with his aspiration to be the first in his family to attend college—that helped him stay positive and motivated. “Family involvement is so crucial to laying the foundation for success,” he noted, so it’s no wonder why Logan credits his parents for being integral to his accomplishments.
When asked further about his driving force to attend college, he was quick to acknowledge the downside of potentially not having a college degree—“having the degree gives [you] credibility,” but not having it “restricts you financially and also [prevents you] from having choices and opportunities.”
Logan took his SATs twice (including the redesigned SAT that he found to be “so much better”), and he submitted his first college application to Florida State University (his top choice) in October; he then submitted four more in November. Ideally, he hoped to be part of Florida State’s combined BA/MA degree program, so he could earn degrees in Political Science and Public Policy (an interest sparked by his previous AP World History and AP U.S. History courses). And while he had made a list of other schools, both in- and out-of-state, at the end of the day, his decision would be incumbent upon where he would get the most scholarships and aid.
By December, with half of his senior year almost behind him and two college acceptances in-hand—including his previous top-choice of Florida State—Logan was feeling anything but senioritis.
His successes inside and outside of the classroom no doubt played a likely role in his early acceptances to Florida State University and Jacksonville University, and though Logan initially had his eyes set on FSU, a visit to American University in D.C. appeared to have put a wrench in his plan to end up in the warmth of the sunshine state after all.
Initially, Logan applied for early action “for the ease of mind”— waiting, like some of his peers, until March was not an option. “It would bring on too much anxiety,” he said, and ultimately not allow him the flexibility to make a solid decision. Compared then to other students who hadn’t yet applied, he felt pretty at ease and confident about his applications. “My hard work in a way has paid off,” he said, but noted he was “less confident with having choices because of money.” Since funding for higher education was a chief concern, Logan decided early action would give his family enough time to plan things out as well as provide him with more options.
Enter American University.
After a campus visit, Logan was very enthusiastic about the school. “I liked the campus; it felt like a community, and [I’m very] interested.” Aside from the overall campus feel, American offers an Interdisciplinary Studies major that covers communication, economics, legal institutions, and government, all things about which he is “passionate and interested.”
Logan considered applying for Early Decision in an attempt increase his chances for admission, but if he were accepted the decision would have been binding. With Logan concerned about the financial implications of a binding early admission, he decided that in addition to applying to James Madison University, Georgia State University, and Flagler College, he would apply for regular decision with American University.
While Logan worked on his college applications, his dad busily tackled the FAFSA and the CSS PROFILE. Said Logan, “My dad likes to do the money stuff, so he completed it [FAFSA] in less than hour [and] didn’t seem to have a problem with it.”
For Logan, the stress wasn’t so much about the applications themselves but more the financial strain his higher education might cause his parents. “The hardest part has been…[realizing] the cost of college and [knowing] how to pay for it. Everyone knows it’s expensive, but no one tells you how much.”
After wrapping up his first semester, Logan found himself on the easier, “less stressful” end of senior year.
By then he had received acceptances from Jacksonville University, Georgia State University, James Madison University, and Florida State University. What’s more, he was awarded $22K from Jacksonville and had his out-of-state tuition waived for Georgia State. With all of these options before him, his initial trepidation of being accepted to these schools was quickly replaced with the uncertainty and anxiety of making the right decision based on finances.
“The money is just so daunting,” he said. For that reason, he felt that he would most likely decline JMU and American, even if he were accepted.
Fortunately, Logan’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) club sponsor quelled his fears and assured him many individuals currently working for the Pentagon—a possible career goal for Logan—attended Florida State University. And, while he only received $1,000 and no scholarship or financial aid from Florida State University, Logan would be eligible for in-state tuition since his father had recently relocated to Florida for work and he and his mother would move soon after graduation. As a result, Florida State went back to the top of Logan’s college list.
In addition to scouring the Internet for scholarships, Logan was hard at work preparing for his AP US Government and AP Biology exams, and self-studied for AP Comparative Government because he thought, “Why not!” And, since much curriculum review didn’t take place in the classroom, he depended on various study books and apps on his phone to stay on target. It wasn’t long before the importance of doing well on these exams shifted for Logan from “getting a good score because [he] thought it helped with college admissions” to understanding the impact of saving money by “seeing what courses [he] wouldn’t need to take at a university.”
As graduation came closer, Logan was far from experiencing the ubiquitous senior feelings of confusion and alarm. With several college acceptances under his belt, he was riding high and was excited about the remainder of senior year.
But it wasn’t all good news.
Much to his (and my) dismay, though Logan was accepted to American University, his request for additional financial aid was denied. That left a typically upbeat and positive Logan feeling—and sounding—a bit dejected. “It’s frustrating, knowing that even though I accomplished a lot, it’s still not enough.”
As we talked through his frustrations, I reminded him of a tremendous accomplishment he was overlooking—he had been admitted to each of the six universities to which he applied, awarded scholarships from many, and admitted into various honors programs.
Soon after the “pep-talk,” Logan’s somewhat despondent tone switched to excitement when he finally declared, “I’m going to FSU!” Logan believes everything happens for a reason, and that ultimately attending Florida State University will give him a greater chance to shine and make an impact.
When asked about what he is most excited and/or worried about for his upcoming freshman year, Logan expressed confidence and optimism that the transition will be an easy one and “nothing [he] can’t handle.”
Based on what we’ve seen of Logan Love thus far, I don’t think there is much this young man won’t be able to conquer!