From Common Apps to Gowns and Caps


Davion Cottrell-Miller

QuestBridge Matched seniors pose with their posters.

Geovanni Lopez and Troi Slade

College, a relatively small world with huge implications. For many high schoolers, college is the official step into adulthood, the cusp of success, so to speak. It’s the epitome of living with no parents, studying until dawn, and, for some, partying like there’s no end. From cozy coffee shops to cold sterile labs to hot, green football fields, college is different, and every college is different. 

Here, from Geovanni Lopez and myself, Troi Slade, we’ll be commemorating and shedding light on the college process at SBP for the Class of 2022. Let’s start at the beginning with college guidance.

Troi getting assaulted by the sun, and Geo’s awkward poster grabbing. (Davion Cottrell-Miller)

Geo, take the mic. 

Despite the setbacks presented due to the pandemic, it did not stop St. Benedict’s from getting its seniors prepared for life outside of the Hive. Many changes came along with the college process this year. The impact of the pandemic was seen throughout the entire college process: most colleges went SAT optional, physical college visits were halted and replaced by virtual webinars, and meetings regarding college had to be held through either Zoom or Google Meet. 

The virtual environment the process had to take deprived the Class of 2022 of all college trip opportunities during their junior year. In his interview on the Buzz Podcast Dean of College Admissions, Mr. Jean-Baptiste ‘86, stated, “I don’t think there are any positives of not having the in-person visits but we did the best we could with those what we called B-Carts.” Remote meetings allowed the school to bring in more alumni from colleges around the country. Mr. Jean Baptiste, commonly referred to as D.J.B by the senior class, continued to stress the way these meetings allowed for more alumni to speak on their experiences, the importance of applying early, and programs like QuestBridge. “I think that planted the seed for you guys to say okay I have to take this seriously, I have to apply early.”

Coming back in person for this year allowed for the process to go back to its immersive nature as with school, in-person meetings and college visits were back. Preparation for college applications for this year’s seniors began in the summer phase with the Senior Portfolio class. Led by Ms. Mueller and Ms. Connolly, seniors began working on their essays, developing a basic draft that could be of use when writing supplementals for schools. During this time, students also began researching schools of interest and developing their college lists. 

For some students, the process was much more accelerated. Seniors Jaden Oates, Joseph Jumbo, Marie-Rosa Jeudy, Troi Slade, and I, Geovanni Lopez, with the exceptional achievement of being selected as QuestBridge National College Match finalists took on the gruesome challenge of getting in all our college applications with a delightful November 1st deadline. The painstaking process of writing specific supplementals, completing the FAFSA, and other Questbridge-specific paperwork was regulated through constant meetings, a lot of time at the College Guidance Center, and the devotion of D.J.B, Mr. Drill, Ms. Connolly, and Ms. Mueller. In the end, we got through it with Joseph and myself having to hold D.J.B to a midnight exit from St. Benedict’s on deadline day. 

The work of all involved paid off when St. Benedict’s saw 4 of its seniors match with elite colleges on full-ride scholarships through QuestBridge; the lucky universities included The University of Pennsylvania (Jaden Oates), Emory University (Joseph Jumbo), Yale University (Troi Slade), and Northwestern University (yours truly). 

“When I had first seen that I matched, without even checking to see what school I matched to, I was very excited. But then when I saw that it was Penn I went ecstatic,” Jaden recalled. Ecstatic is definitely the word to describe a never-ending victory lap around the school. “The full-ride aspect is a blessing because there are people who’ve worked just as hard as me, not just academically but even athletically, but unfortunately do not have full rides. So for me, it is genuinely a blessing,” he concluded. 

Troi, back to you. 

QuestBridge is like the early decision’s, early decision. It’s the ED of all ED. Now, let’s move on to early decisions, or shall I say regular early decisions. 

Cristine Alvarez committed to an ED2 offer to New York University. When asking Cristine why she decided to apply early decision over regular decision, she made an emphasis on the encouragement of Mr. Drill and Mr. Jean Baptiste. “I didn’t think much of it. After my ED1 application was denied at a different university, I was ready to settle somewhere close by. I had a lot of doubt, negativity, and worry, and of course, finances played a big factor in that worry. Mr. Drill and D.J.B really pushed and motivated me to apply. I had lost all motivation,” she said.

Like many, the stigma behind the rigorous college application process with the input of information into multiple portals and the essays, or what feels like hundreds of essays, on top of the senior academia, is tiresome. It’s having to prepare for the future while fulfilling the present. It’s staying up late on the Common App while doing coding homework. Luckily, here at the Hive, we are fortunate enough to have a College Guidance department that takes the time to work with each and every senior on their plans for their future. 

“NYU’s application wasn’t rigorous because it just asked one main question: Why NYU? Now, the FAFSA and CSS were very tedious. Drill and D.J.B., were with me every step of the way. Of course, logistic-wise with recommendations and stuff like that but emotionally too. They were just one phone call away. D.J.B. specifically stepped in as a parent through the process. With my parents being busy with work and family, D.J.B was there to both help me make decisions and even talk to my parents about my future,” she added. 

Now, Cristine can bask in the accomplishments of her hard work and her NYU commitment. Christine concluded by saying, “It’s a relief because all of that chaos and doubtfulness is gone because I’ve made it.” 

Back to you Geo. 

Along with academic excellence, Benedict’s prides itself in brewing athletic prowess. The process for our athletes to look for new places to bring their talents could begin as early as ED1, as was the case for Nestor Martinez SY. 

Rowing has been a prominent part of Nestor’s day to day since freshmen year. He has never let the commitment to rowing get in the way of his academic pursuits though, therefore keeping that balance between academics and athletics was a key factor in Nestor ultimately deciding to commit to Skidmore College for the next four years. 

Nestor Martinez SY signs his letter of National Letter of Intent for Skidmore College rowing. (Photo via @graybees on Instagram)

“The school was a good size, the dorms were nice, the environment was very friendly, and they had what I wanted to study. I was also able to meet some of the rowing team members and their facilities. While searching through colleges, I wanted to find one where I was still able to continue to row because I’ve developed a deep passion for the sport here at Benedict’s. Skidmore seemed to just have everything that I was looking for in a college,” Nestor elaborated.

Connections through rowing also facilitated the process for Nestor to feel more welcome and ultimately make the commitment to Skidmore, “The coach did help advocate for me in admissions if you want to consider that recruitment or scouting. Being able to attend Skidmore College and continue my rowing career is really great. When I first heard about the school I wasn’t that interested, but it was only when I did a visit to the school and met their rowing coach that I did find myself more and more interested,” he concluded.

Now, to the finale. 

From hours and hours on laptops filling out applications, to full-ride matches through QuestBridge, to early decisions and athletic scholarships, college, university, higher education, whatever you’d like to call it, has become the new standard for life after high school. Is it the key to success? Well, that’s all dependent upon us as individuals. What we can say is that the Class of 2022, with the more than generous time and effort put in by college guidance, has successfully been admitted to their top school choices and some of the best schools in the country. To add, even if college isn’t the path you are going to take, you are just as important. We’ve all made it so far. 

To close, below is the full list of college acceptances for the St. Benedict’s Prep Class of 2022 thus far. Congratulations to all!

Geovanni Lopez, Northwestern University ‘26, and Troi Slade, Yale University ‘26 over and out!

We out! (Davion Cottrell-Miller)