Student Spotlight

College applications can be scary, but these students managed to conquer them and receive acceptances from top tier universities in the US! ?Learn more about each showcased student and what they did to get in to college below!

Sophia Hirjee, University of Southern California (Transfer)


High School: Santa Monica High School
JK Center: Santa Monica, West Region
College Attending in the fall: University of Southern California (USC)
Other colleges where you were accepted:

High School Activities:
– Muslim Student Association: President
– Delians Honor Society
– Senior Computer Class: Instructor

Extracurricular Activities:
– American Red Cross
– NDM Bollywood Dance Studio
– Aga Khan Youth & Sports Board National Basketball: Champions
– Cedars-Sinai Medical Center: Intern

Favorite Hobby: Hiking
Favorite Food: Mexican Food
Favorite Quote: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” -Wayne Gretzky

What during high school best helped you achieve success?:
“As a high school senior, I did not get accepted into any of my top college choices, so I decided to take the community college route. ?I was worried that community college would prevent me from attaining my need for success. My experience at my community college enabled me to shift my perspective and value the opportunities I encounter, no matter where those opportunities present themselves. Judging a massive experience in black and white was a mistake. My ability to see both the big picture and focus on the steps needed to achieve it has given me a unique outlook as a new incoming student: I know the value of forming relationships, and how to recognize and utilize the resources at my disposable.”

What advice do you have for incoming/current high school students to succeed?
“There may be setbacks in the process of getting into college, but do not let the setbacks discourage you from achieving your goal. ?It is essential for students to have a high GPA and SAT score. ?The number of extracurricular activities you participate in is not as important as the positions held within those. ?The college essay is an opportunity for students to show who they are with information that did not fit other areas for the application. ?Make sure to start the application early and be yourself.”

How did you stay focused during community college to make yourself competitive for re-applying to a four-year university?
“Since day one, I was determined to transfer to a four-year university within two years. I immediately connected with students who attended my community college and asked them for guidance. I joined the Scholars Program which was similar to an honors program, and it allowed me to take accelerated courses to challenge myself. It also guaranteed an early enrollment date for classes so I would not struggle to get the classes I needed. In order to transfer in a timely manner, I created a two year plan with my scholars counselor to make sure I was taking the right classes for my major and general education requirements. To get involved with on-campus activities, I joined Phi Theta Kappa which was an honor society, and I was an academic tutor for the accounting department. My work ethic continued to remain strong, and I made sure it was reflected through my grades. Lastly, I knew this process would have been a lot more difficult if it wasn’t for my family who supported me each step of the way.”

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