by Sarah Cowels, Basis College Counselor
Ivy League? I asked myself, “What does that even mean?” I had worked in college admissions for seven years, but at a small private school – one that definitely did not qualify as an “Ivy.” I had heard of Cornell, Princeton and Yale, but did not know what this “League” thing was really all about.
Questions and concerns, like these, ran through my head hard and fast as I attended training to become the new “College Guidance Coordinator” for BASIS Prescott.
The more I heard, the more I knew I was in for a wild year of learning and growth. And the more student statistics I heard, the more in awe I became. I had my work cut out for me, and I couldn’t wait to meet these kids.
BASIS Prescott started three years ago, with a group of talented and aspirational 10th graders. Meeting them for the first time as 12th graders, I understood why they were here. They are some of the hardest working, most studious, most industrious students I have ever met. One student brought me a color-coded spreadsheet containing college data on my first day of College Counseling Workshop. Five of my 11 students had perfect 4.0 GPAs. Another student applied for almost every scholarship I listed in my scholarship newsletter. She consistently brought me stacks of 10-20 essays to edit at a time. Most of the students were involved in activities outside of school, including athletics, volunteer work, and church ministry. These students were the real deal.
Many people ask, “Why BASIS?” Let me give you two strong reasons: First, BASIS is about college prep. We expect students to go to college. Why? The pay gap between high school and college graduates has grown to be 56 percent (Rugaber, 2017). Students need to go to college to build a bright future for themselves. BASIS students are ready to go to college. Our BASIS seniors passed over 60 AP (college level class) tests before they entered 12th grade. Each of the 11 seniors this year were accepted to at least one four-year university. The 11 students in the class of 2017 drew in over $2.5 million in merit scholarship offers. Accepting colleges included 17 colleges on the list of top 50 colleges and universities from US News (n.d.), and 11 schools listed in the top 50 by Times Higher Education (2016). All seven students who applied to Arizona State University received acceptance to Barrett Honors College, a top-producer of Fulbright scholars, tied at No. 5 with Yale and Berkley. One student was admitted to the University of Pennsylvania, a member of that coveted Ivy League. We are proud of our BASIS community. Secondly, and more importantly, BASIS is in a league of it’s own. Teachers are here because they are passionate about what they teach and experts in their subject matters. Students are here because they recognize the values of responsibility, hard work and self-directed learning. The administration is committed to the students – not just to the advancement of their own careers. BASIS Prescott is a special place, one at which I have been privileged to work.
Barrett Facts and Figures – Fall 2016. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://barretthonors.asu.edu/about/facts.
Best colleges. (n.d.) US News and World Report. Retrieved from https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges.
Best universities in the United States 2017. (2016, September 21). Times Higher Education. Retrieved from https://www.timeshighereducation.com/student/best-universities/best-universities-united-states.
Rugaber, C. S. (2017, January 12). Pay gap between college grads and everyone else at a record. USA Today. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/01/12/pay-gap-between-college-grads-and-everyone-else-record/96493348/.