T’Ajmal Hogue, Christie Jackson, and Diego Navarrete certainly all have two things in common. Right now, they are seniors at Cass Technical High School. But, in the fall they will be freshman at one of the top Ivy Leagues in the country; Harvard University.
Hogue has maintained a 3.9 GPA at Cass Technical High School all while participating in organizations such as Build On, National Honors Society, Latino Club, Academic Games, and Class of 2017 Executive board.
Harvard was always on her list of schools to apply to but it was not quite No. 1.
“Originally I thought my dream school was NYU [New York University], and I got into NYU and Harvard but when I visited NYU it just didn’t fit for me. I thought I loved it, but I realized I love the city and not the school. And then when I visited Harvard it was like I instantly fell in love. Everybody was so nice, the facilities were nice, dorms were nice,” said Hogue.
Navarrete had a similar experience after visiting one of his other top choices; Princeton University.
“Harvard was always my No. 1, but then I got into Princeton in December," said Navarrete. "So, I was kind of conflicted between the two. But, when I went to go visit the campus I felt more comfortable at Harvard and the Latinx community at Harvard was more welcoming and inclusive and I didn’t feel that at Princeton. Harvard felt like home."
Navarrete scored a 28 on the ACT and 1340 on the SAT. But he does not believe test scores mean everything when applying to colleges. Being a part of extracurricular activities that you are passionate about is just as rewarding.
“Grades and test scores aren’t everything," said Navarette. "My test scores are high but they aren’t super high. Join extracurricular activities you are passionate about you’ll do great and excel in those and colleges really look for people that will be experts in their field. So, someone they can really see contributing to society in a positive way."
While visiting Harvard this spring Navarrete spoke to Redwan Binrouf, a freshman at Harvard and a Cass Tech alumnus. Binrouf shared some ways CT prepared him for Harvard:
“Classes like Mr. Abdun Noor’s BC Calc class and Mrs. Willis’ AP Language class helped him at Harvard and he still uses the same notes. So, he said that in terms of difficulty, he didn’t find Harvard hard," ” said Navarrete. "The only thing was transitioning in the social environment, which is something that I may struggle with."
Christie Jackson, a science and arts curriculum student with a 3.9 GPA, has a full ride to Harvard University and chose the school because it met two of her most important needs in a university.
“I chose Harvard because they have a really great environmental science and public policy program and they have the best financial aid in the world. I didn’t want to be in debt for college,” said Jackson.
Jackson has participated in numerous extracurricular activities throughout her high school career. Some of them include the Cass Tech debate team, National Honors Society and Academic Games. Participating in organizations has taught her time management skills.
“I just manage my time," Jackson said. "I’ll finish my extracurricular activities and then I’ll go home and do my homework and make sure it is finished. I keep a planner and make sure everything is organized."