This Client Success Story was based on an interview with Cequyia York and her mother, Kelsey York. Cequyia connected with us for help on her college applications and essays. If you are also looking for assistance with your college applications and are interested in working with a CollegeAdvisor.com Admissions Expert, register with CollegeAdvisor.com today.
Overview: CollegeAdvisor.com Client Success Stories
In our CollegeAdvisor Client Success Stories, we feature CollegeAdvisor.com students who achieved their college dreams.
For each of the articles in our Success Stories series, we interview our CollegeAdvisor students to learn more about their college advising experience and college application journey. We discuss their background and interests, what it was like to work with one of our expert advisors, and what they learned throughout the college application process.
Our CollegeAdvisor Client Success Stories and the positive feedback we receive from our CollegeAdvisor reviews remind us why we do what we do. Our mission is to empower students of all backgrounds to achieve their college dreams.
We hope that our CollegeAdvisor Client Success Stories and CollegeAdvisor reviews inspire you as you begin your own college application journey, from building your college list to enrolling at your dream school.
Getting to know Cequyia
For this CollegeAdvisor Client Success story, we interviewed our client Cequyia York (Emory ’27) and her mother, Kelsey. Cequyia is a current senior in the Class of 2023, living in Mobile, Alabama. Cequyia is homeschooled, balancing AP courses and dual enrollment courses with her hobbies and interests.
“I’ve been homeschooling for the past three years,” Cequyia shared with us. “I get to choose the courses I want to take. I have a bit more freedom. Right now I’m doing online AP courses and dual enrollment,” Cequyia said.
Aside from her academics, Cequyia also participates in many extracurricular activities. “I am currently on the yearbook,” Cequyia told us. “I’ve been doing yearbook for the past three years. Last year I was the editor and this year with all my scheduling, I decided to be assistant editor.”
Cequyia also keeps herself busy by participating in cultural exchange programs. “And some of the things I’m really interested in – I do cultural exchange programs and different things with the State Department. I recently just came back from South Korea,” Cequyia said.
National Security Language Initiative in South Korea
Cequyia was in South Korea for two weeks, under the National Security Language Initiative for Youth or NSLI-Y program. There, she learned about South Korea’s culture and language.
Cequyia also participated in a merge program under the Stevens Initiative. “I also did a merge program…which was working with ladies from the Middle East and North Africa and the U.S., with mental health,” Cequyia told us.
“It was [about] becoming more resilient in your own mental health as well as learning ways and methods to share it with your community.”
Cequyia wants to continue learning about other cultures in college. “That’s something I am really interested in and I want to continue to do when I get into college,” she said.
“I do love learning cultures,” Cequyia shared. “I am actually about to go to a seminar to work with foreign policy and public policy on how to get people engaged in your more rural communities. So that’s what I’m really interested in, and that’s just a little bit about me,” she told us.
How to get involved with cultural exchange programs
Before we talked about her college admissions process, we asked Cequyia to share more information about how to get involved with cultural exchange programs like the ones she participated in.
“I would definitely suggest a quick Google search,” Cequyia stated. “You can either go to the state department and look up cultural exchanges, and there’s so many out there,” she said.
Once you’ve found a few cultural exchange programs that interest you, Cequyia recommends doing additional research. “Do your research to figure out, do I want to go to this place? Or do I want to study this place? And I think from there, that was my main way of getting into everything,” she shared.
Joining NCSA and CollegeAdvisor
Cequyia had her academics and extracurriculars covered. Now, it was time to start preparing for college applications.
“Probably around my sophomore year,” Cequyia told us, “I began to get a few emails from CollegeAdvisor.”
Cequyia watched a few of CollegeAdvisor’s webinars, but she wasn’t sure if she was ready to join yet. It wasn’t until Cequyia was a part of CollegeAdvisor’s former sister program, NCSA, that she decided to give CollegeAdvisor a try.
“I joined in with NCSA, and as soon as I joined and got my recruiting coach, I started getting a lot more emails and things from CollegeAdvisor,” Cequyia told us.
Cequyia utilized our extensive webinar series and read up on all things related to college. But she hadn’t yet taken that next step to be matched with an advisor. It wasn’t until the summer after her sophomore year that she decided to get serious about the college application process.
“I need to get my essays and stuff ready; I need to start doing this,” Cequyia remembered thinking to herself. “And I knew I didn’t have a college advisor of my own with school, because I’m homeschooled. So, I was kind of doubting my abilities or what I should be doing for my application,” she said.
Because Cequyia was already familiar with CollegeAdvisor, she and her mom decided to register. “We already knew about CollegeAdvisor, and we looked at it and everything, so we said why don’t we just make the jump?” Cequyia recalled.
“Why don’t we try it out and see what we can learn from it? It’s been a great experience,” Cequyia told us.
Working with an advisor
Once Cequyia and Kelsey decided on CollegeAdvisor, they scheduled a consultation to learn more. “We had a consultation to get a better understanding of what CollegeAdvisor actually offers,” Kelsey told us.
“And from there we were walked through as far as Cequyia would be set up with a match…somebody that was relatively like her, that went through the process as far as getting into college and completing the application process,” Kelsey said.
Cequyia was matched with one of our expert advisors, Gabriel Hall. “I joined CollegeAdvisor in August and I was paired with Gabriel Hall, and it worked out perfectly because he was also an athlete, too,” Cequyia shared.
“It just clicked. Because he was also able to not only help me with college applications but the recruiting process, like what questions I should ask my coach,” she said.
Since Cequyia was familiar with the college application process through NCSA, she knew what she needed to focus on in her meetings with Gabriel. “Because I was under college recruiting, I kind of already knew the schools I really wanted to target, so I didn’t have a huge list of colleges,” Cequyia told us.
“So, I already knew what I wanted to focus on, which was mainly my essays and how to still craft my best application, regardless of my athletic status,” Cequyia said.
Beginning the admissions process
Cequyia’s parents joined her in the first few meetings with her advisor. “The first meeting, me and my husband actually joined in, just to get a little familiar with who was going to be her advisor and kind of get a gauge of who he was,” Kelsey told us.
“He was always very polite and professional every time that he engaged with Cequyia. And then her second and third appointments with him, we really didn’t chime in because it was more for her to be able to just work on what she needed,” Kelsey said.
Cequyia and Gabriel worked hard to build her candidate profile. “He just worked really closely with the goals I had,” Cequyia shared.
“I knew what I wanted to share throughout my application,” Cequyia told us. “I wanted to share that I was into cultural exchange, and I was into community service, different things like that. And so, he was able to help break it down, like maybe you should talk about this experience you’ve had throughout your life with culture exchange, or that got you into this, for my personal statement,” she said.
Cequyia looked back at her process of working with an advisor fondly. “It was really good,” she said. “I was so happy. It worked out well because I didn’t have a lot of colleges I needed to worry about, so it worked really smoothly.”
Being authentic in your college essays
Out of all the pieces of the college application process, Cequyia believed that the essays were the hardest part. “The essays, of course, were challenging,” Cequyia shared.
Despite the challenge, Cequyia and Gabriel worked together through the writing process. They talked about the importance of being authentic in your college essays.
“It was just about being authentic and really sharing your personality with admissions and putting it into your essay and not just putting what the admissions want to hear and see,” Cequyia told us.
How CollegeAdvisor can help make your essays shine
From brainstorming to finalizing your supplemental essays, writing essays for college is a long and demanding process. Cequyia turned to her advisor, Gabriel, for help on how to make her essays stand out.
“I was just so stressed about how to go about writing the essays,” Cequyia told us. “I feel like my college advisor, Gabriel, was really helpful with keeping me accountable and also making [my essay] smooth.”
To help ease her stress, Gabriel suggested that Cequyia work on small parts of her essay. Doing so helped build her confidence in her writing abilities.
“Just work on this one sentence here and don’t worry about anything else,” Cequyia remembered Gabriel saying to her.
“That just helped me compartmentalize what I needed to add, what I needed to take out. And after a while, I looked back on my college process and my application, and writing the essays was actually kinda fun!” Cequyia exclaimed.
Understanding the college admissions process through webinars
The college admissions process can be daunting at first. With so many new terms to learn and processes to navigate, students and families might feel overwhelmed. To understand more about the college application process, Cequyia and Kelsey started attending CollegeAdvisor’s webinars.
“I really engaged in a lot of those webinars,” Cequyia recalled. “I think the first webinars that I started looking at were mainly helping me to understand what a college means by ED I, what’s the difference between Early Action [and Early Decision], and whatnot.”
Kelsey recalled the webinars she attended as a parent. “We did a couple of the webinars,” Kelsey said, “which was very helpful as far as setting up the next step[s].”
Pretty soon, Cequyia was diving into other webinars about college admissions. “I started looking at more webinars catered towards how to approach essay topics, or what I could write about,” Cequyia told us.
Attending webinars helped Cequyia in multiple ways. “One thing I found really helpful about the webinars was not only was I getting advice from a lot of different people that were in admissions or [that] were also college students, it was also all the other students on the webinar that would ask good questions…or give out good ideas,” Cequyia explained.
Once Cequyia connected to NCSA, she also participated in their college recruitment webinars. “With NCSA,” Cequyia mentioned, “they had a lot of webinars to help with the college recruitment process and your college search as a whole. So, both of these programs worked really well for me.”
Cequyia’s admission results and the road ahead
Even though going through the college recruitment process is a bit different than the normal college application process, student athletes that are being recruited are still required to submit college applications. So, where did Cequyia apply? And what was her top choice?
“My top choice was Emory University,” Cequyia told us. “That was the main college I was talking to, and I hadn’t yet made a commitment with swimming. So, I needed to still apply to [other] colleges,” she recalled.
“I got into Emory University and Fordham,” Cequyia shared with us. “And I got deferred from University of Chicago and Georgia, which was still rewarding because it wasn’t a flat-out rejection,” she said.
Cequyia was excited to announce that she’ll be attending Emory in the fall. “I chose to go to Emory,” Cequyia told us, “And I will be swimming there collegiately, and I’m so excited for that opportunity!”
What will Cequyia major in?
Cequyia wanted to major in a field that aligned with her interests in study abroad and foreign policy. “I want to stay with the cultural anthropology and history track,” Cequyia told us.
She is also interested in double-majoring in Korean as well. “I think I want to major in Korean [to] continue my Korean language,” Cequyia shared. “Or I might want to tiptoe in another direction with language.”
Either way, Cequyia is excited about the opportunities that await her at Emory. “Emory has a really great anthropology department and a lot of different opportunities for those that want to go down that track,” Cequyia said.
“I’m just so excited to get into that.”
Cequyia’s advice to future applicants
Now that Cequyia can reflect on her college application process, we asked her to share some advice for future college applications.
Cequyia’s first piece of advice is to start early. “Even though I didn’t have a lot of colleges I was looking at or applying to, I know the importance of just starting early,” Cequyia shared.
“I had to start way early with my college search, what colleges I’m interested in swimming at, and all that different type of stuff,” she said. “So I just really suggest starting your college search early and look[ing] at the littlest details to see, am I really interested in [that] college?”
Cequyia’s right—starting early can help alleviate stress and make the college application process easier. “You want to give yourself enough space so then you can actually enjoy your process,” Cequyia told us, “And it’s not as stressful.”
Well before college applications are due, students can start considering factors like grades, extracurriculars, essays, and financial aid. “Start brainstorming ideas for essays and look at financial aid,” Cequyia recommended. “And some of the things that you can start to work on [are] your grades or your extracurriculars,” she continued.
“I know it’s a stressful time either way,” Cequyia told us, “But you can take off some of that stress [because] starting early gives you the advantage of looking at what type of people the colleges bring in and what they’re looking for,” Cequyia said.
Cequyia’s second piece of advice is to remain authentic throughout the process. “Just be authentic to yourself,” Cequyia said. “Really just share what you’re passionate about because that’s the easiest way to go about it.”
By being yourself, you’ll find the right place for you. “If you are true to yourself,” Cequyia told us, “You’ll find a college that really wants you and [where] you’ll really succeed.”
Kelsey’s advice to other CollegeAdvisor parents
We also asked Cequyia’s mom, Kelsey, to share her advice with other parents going through the college application process with their children.
“I just want to let them know if they are looking for an intense program that’s actually going to meet them where they are, as far as moving from the first stage to the second stage and [making] their college research less stressful [and] more productive, then I would recommend seeking CollegeAdvisor to help them walk through their process,” Kelsey told us.
Tips on how to get through the college recruiting process
Cequyia had some additional tips to share regarding how to get through the college recruiting process.
“Because recruiting starts in your sophomore year,” Cequyia said, “you’re starting pretty early. [Don’t] be shy…because you’re going to be talking to a lot of different people.”
In addition to talking to different people from different schools, student athletes also need to research which programs and coaches that interest them.
“You’re going to do a lot of research,” Cequyia shared. “Please reach out to schools. Don’t be shy. Call the coach or email the coach and [say] I’m really interested in your school, and I would love to learn more and have a conversation with you,” Cequyia told us.
“Don’t be worried if they don’t respond back. Or if they do, then you’re on the right track,” she said. “Make sure that you’re not shy, you ask questions, you do your research, and when it comes to the colleges you want to go to, find the one where your needs will be met and you can enjoy both lifestyles,” Cequyia suggested.
“Find one where the balance is great…[and] you can enjoy being an athlete and being a student.”
College admissions and homeschooled students
Although the college application process can be difficult for most students, it can be especially hard to navigate for homeschooled students. Cequyia had specific advice for other homeschooled students as they begin their college admissions process.
“You have to do a little bit more research on what colleges want from homeschoolers, and what things that you need to have ready for going into college,” Cequyia said.
Doing some extra work at the beginning of the process can help both students and parents. “It’s so much that’s out there that’s not actually introduced to the homeschool parents,” Kelsey shared. “I would tell [parents] to do a lot of research and try to seek help, especially whenever they’re trying to get their student into one of the top colleges.”
Cequyia agreed with her mom. “Find online resources,” Cequyia told us. “Feel free to go and ask questions. Do your research. Don’t be shy to email the college admissions program. It was a bit more difficult for homeschoolers, so just find ways because homeschool students are great students,” Cequyia shared.
Most colleges will list any special requirements for homeschooled students on their websites or applications.
“Emory, in their college application, [has] a spot for homeschoolers and what you should have,” Cequyia told us. “So again, [start] early, a bit earlier than you would if you were in regular schooling,” Cequyia advised.
“CollegeAdvisor is just a great place for you to get a personalized experience,” Cequyia said.
Kelsey agreed. “Using CollegeAdvisor made the process a little easier and less stressful,” she said.
“They can help you try to craft an application that really shows who you are and can resonate well with admissions. It gave me a lot of different life skills that I probably wouldn’t have gotten if I was just on my own,” Cequyia said. “I was really happy that I found CollegeAdvisor.”
This CollegeAdvisor Review and Success Story was based on interviews with Cequyia and Kelsey York.
We’re proud that our CollegeAdvisor reviews highlight how our advisors can help students increase their confidence and turn the college admissions process into a learning experience filled with growth and value. Even the best college advisors are only as great as the students they support. At CollegeAdvisor, we’re grateful that our college advisors get the chance to support so many incredible students every day. Every CollegeAdvisor review reminds us how wonderful our community is.
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