By Sam Foley
As the 2020-2021 school year continues, many Seniors are applying to different colleges across the country. During the pandemic, applying for college can be stressful. One student, Aakash Sunkari, has applied to over twenty colleges and universities.
Aakash is trying to get into medical school. He wants to be a doctor, which is a very competitive and prestigious field. He has been working hard during high school in order to bolster his resume. Not only has he done well in his classes, but he has done extra work outside of school, writing research papers, participating in science competitions and winning awards for his work.
Sunkari said, “I’m planning to go to med school but also start a company while enrolled in college. That being said, I didn’t want to be the traditional premed student and take “biology” or “biochemistry” as a major. One major that caught my attention was biophysics, which is really cool because it combines two seemingly unrelated topics: biology and quantum mechanics.”
Although Aakash has taken many different AP classes throughout his high school career, he has taken a significant interest in science classes. He has taken AP Biology, AP Chemistry, and AP Physics I and II.
Although difficult classes and good grades will go far on a college application, Aakash is aiming for a higher standard. Some of the colleges he has applied to include Harvard, Brown, Georgetown and Drexel. Because of the competitive nature of these schools, Aakash knew he had to stand out in the field of applicants.
Through his research of the college application process, he found out that to stand out when applying to prestigious universities, you have to do things outside of school and on a statewide or national level. So, he pursued science outside of school.
Aakash said about researching science outside of school, “My main research has been my portable nuclear reactor design, which I have been working on developing the last four years . I submitted my design for evaluation from the US Army and US Navy, and recently I was awarded the US Navy Undersea Warfare Center Research and Innovation Award.”
He has also worked on other projects for the science fair which include nanoscale biosensors, which are devices that can help run medical tests, and scramjet designs, which are jet engines that can travel faster than the speed of sound.
Another important part of the college application process is applying to “safety”, “target”, and “reach” schools. Safety schools are schools that you have a high chance of getting into, either because of grades or merit. Target schools are schools that you have a good chance of getting into, because you match the average grades or merit in the school. And lastly, reach schools are schools that you have a low chance of getting into. Aakash applied to all three, and has already made it into many of his safety and target schools, with significant scholarships.
When asked how difficult it was applying to so many schools, Aakash said, “The application process has really sucked the life out of me! I applied to 21 colleges to test my chances, so I didn’t have much time to do anything else as of recently. It’s time consuming and taxing, but I’m sure that it will pay off in the end. But I’d say that I’ve become a better writer for sure, having written more than 70 essays so far in the application process!”
Another student from North Attleboro High School, Jack Callahan, who is also applying to colleges, said about the application process, “I found the application process easy, since I only applied to a few schools that I wanted to go to. It didn’t take long and I got into all of them.”
Many schools have different requirements for applying, with some schools accepting the “common app”, which is a generic application with info that most colleges accept. But, some schools, especially if you are trying to get into a specific program like premed, have unique applications that make the application process more difficult.
Applying to colleges can be a harsh and long process, but Aakash says that it is worth it, since the college we get into will influence his future in a large way.