Katrina Anderson-Little, a Year 2 student at Bard High School Early College in Newark, has the next 30 years all mapped out: Graduate from Bard, earn an undergraduate degree, attend Harvard Law School, practice criminal law at Loeb & Loeb in New York City, and finally open her own private practice in Newark.
“Opening my own firm in Newark will be the highlight of my life. My biggest goal is to give back to the place where I’ve grown up,” she said.
This level of long-term planning might be unthinkable to many high school students, but for Katrina, it’s par for the course. All she needs to do now is decide where to continue her path and choose which four-year college to attend.
She’s ranked her top eight colleges: Oberlin, Dartmouth, Yale, Princeton, University of Chicago, and Amherst. For a student of Katrina’s caliber, it’s likely she’d succeed no matter what, but that provides little comfort for her: choosing her undergraduate path is the toughest decision of her young life.
Katrina was a finalist in the QuestBridge scholarship program, a national scholarship, which connects outstanding academic youth from underserved communities with leading academic institutions. Over the summer, she flew to Indiana for a week to visit the University of Notre Dame, followed by a visit to Princeton University. Just last month, Katrina visited Oberlin, where she experienced campus life.
“After visiting all of these schools I want to choose the one that makes me feel the most comfortable and most at home, but also where the people love to learn,” she said. She’s already applied to each of the schools through QuestBridge.
While choosing colleges, Katrina said one of the important factors is the school’s study abroad program. “I want a liberal arts education that enables me to travel internationally and prepares me for a life dedicated to social justice. I want a school that is socially liberal with a rigorous curriculum, but also a school that will prepare me for practical success.”
Katrina has a keen interest in media law, something she’s drawn to by her love of music, pop culture, and media influences. “I have no musical talent,” she jokes, “but I want to find a way to channel my passion.
“Since I’m going to practice law, I think media law is great way to achieve that.”
Katrina first learned of the QuestBridge program from an older student at her previous high school and submitted her 30-page application for early decision.
If chosen, she would receive a full four-year scholarship to her school of choice, a job on campus, and a stipend for her monthly expenses.
Katrina is glad that she made the move to BHSEC Newark, since her previous high school wasn’t a perfect fit for her goals.
“The teachers at Bard really care, and they really try to inspire us,” she said. “Being in an academic environment like this is a great feeling.”
While Katrina is mulling over her college decision, one thing is clear: she is feeling undoubtedly confident about moving on to a four-year school after benefiting from a college environment at BHSEC.