From South, to the East and West

Two Patriot graduates will be attending college on opposite coasts.


2023 graduates Nell Williams (left) and Anushka Rawat (right).

One will be a member of the Harvard Crimson and the other a Standford Cardinal. Two South 2023 grads, Nell Williams and Anushka Rawat, are attending college on opposite coasts.

College applications and admissions are for most high school students, the most important time in their high school career. Making sure their standardized test scores are in order and have been added to their applications, collecting teacher recommendations, completing their FAFSA, and meticulously crafting their essays that will play a key component in their application. 

Some applicants may apply to 1-3 schools, and others may choose to apply to 10-30 colleges like senior Nell Williams, who decided to apply to 20 schools and committed to Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Some students choose to go to state schools such as Mizzou, KU, ASU, and more; while other applicants such as senior Anushka Rawat decided on going to Stanford University in Stanford, California.

“I think it was the rigor of the academics and the wide offerings of the academic opportunities and extracurriculars. Also, it’s in California and all of the sun,” said Rawat.

Another aspect of schooling to keep in mind when applying to colleges are the post-graduate resources; including internships, recommendations, feeder programs, and more.

“I think I’ve always been interested in going to Harvard. Academics are amazing and they have a lot of resources for after graduation. Always wanted to live in a big city so Boston was a choice,” said Williams.

When deciding on which colleges to apply to during your junior year, whether you’re a current sophomore or freshman, the environment, academic opportunities, and post-graduation resources are very important details that should greatly determine your admission decision.

Many colleges require a specific or more broad notation of your intended major to be listed on your application, but some students decide not to list their major choice if they are not sure what they want to do or they have not committed to the idea of their major.

Schools like Stanford allow students a change of major up until the beginning of their sophomore year, allowing applicants to wait until acceptance and even after first-year classes to commit to a career path.

“At Stanford, you don’t decide until the end of your second year,” said Rawat.

 Though her current focus in her course selection is Environmental Studies and Symbolic Systems (a Stanford-specific program).

“Just because it’s what I’m interested in as of now, I will probably add minors or change my major,” said Rawat.

Williams has decided to major in Political Science, inspired most by black female politician Kim Schofield, a Georgia House of Representatives member, whom she interned under during her junior year.

“Maybe also double majoring in History and Science, I also like medical ethics,” said Williams.

Deciding on which clubs or athletics you will participate in on-campus aren’t detrimental to your college life, but it may help you further plan out your future on your college campus.

“For clubs, Pre-law society; because I don’t really know if I want to do law, and then a ceramics club because I just love ceramics,” said Williams.

College admissions can be an exciting experience for both students and parents, some students opt for planning a party just to display their college acceptance(s), and some opt for a simple phone call to their families and friends; Nevertheless, the excitement will be mutual all around!

“They were really excited for me! My parents and I didn’t really expect me to get in, we’re all really excited though,” said Rawat.

A college acceptance is something to remember and be proud of no matter what college you end up going to, it’s normal to want to tell everyone you know and care for.

“The day I got excepted I told my mom and my brother at first and we were all screaming and crying and jumping up and down,” said Williams. “I called my friend soon after and we were just all extremely excited. It’s just been a lot of excitement and I’m very grateful for that.”

A lot of students already know that academic stats, standardized test scores (like your GPA, SAT, ACT,), and honors and AP courses are incredibly detrimental to your college experience. In some colleges, the score you achieve on one singular test can dictate your entire educational route in the future.

For comparison, Mizzou is a school that many South seniors feed into, with an acceptance rate of 77%, an average GPA of 3.52, an average SAT score between 1110-1320, and an average ACT score between 23-29.

In contrast, Stanford students carry a 3.96 average high school GPA, a 34-35 average ACT score, and an average 1500-1570 SAT score. Harvard freshmen have a 4.2 average GPA, a 33-36 average ACT score, and average between 1480-1580 for the SAT.

“I took 16 AP classes, AP Calc BC (s) AP Biochem, Physics 2, all core subjects are usually AP courses for me, 5’s on all taken exams, a 36 super score on the ACT and I didn’t take the SAT,” said Rawat. “Also independently studied linear algebra and multi-variable calc.”

Some students decide to take a multitude of AP courses, sometimes as many as they can fit into their schedule. On the other hand, some students may opt for a more simple AP course setup, prioritizing AP courses in their junior year just in time for college applications.

“AP exams from my junior year were 2 5’s (highest score) and one 4 ACT,” said Williams. “Got a 33 superscore on the ACT but didn’t submit it and I did not take the SAT.”

A common denominator between these two South scholars, Williams and Rawat, besides the fact they will graduate from South, is one of our AP Psychology teachers.

AP Psychology teacher Mitch Stevens taught Rawat and Williams in their separate AP Psychology classes.

“I think they’ve set a lot of goals for themselves along the way,” said Stevens. “That kind of separates them from average college students–they’re so goal-driven.”

So many students lack the drive and motivation to reach for their goals, or for a higher education. Some students just need that push and support to do something great.

“I would say to take the highest level of classes that you can, but also keep your application and your essays genuine… colleges want to know you and that’s the most important part,” said Rawat. “Stanford has a roommate essay and it focuses on your personality, if you show that you are a person it helps them connect with you.”

Williams also shared some advice.

“I think being very organized is important, I have like 10 spreadsheets over the months of applications. Whatever makes you organized,” said Williams. “Keeping track of admissions and deadlines, I also think essays are the most important part.”

“I think they’re great role models for high school students,” said Stevens.

Stevens shared his predictions for the future of these two graduates.

 “In the future, Nell will probably be on a legal team for a non-for-profit company that helps people get the same skills that she has,” said Stevens. “Anushka will probably be a high-end lawyer at a high-power law firm but on the side, she’s going to be consulting in a field like politics and economics.”