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  • Writer's pictureLisa Perkins

Thomas Hutchison - The College Application Process - How Patience and Perseverance Pay Off

Updated: Mar 31, 2021

Some of the most marketable aspects of a student, as far as their college application is concerned, cannot be taught: perseverance, temperance, and focus are just a few of these qualities. Thomas Hutchison has all of these and more, and through his work with Avant Garde - College Prep Services (AGP), he was able to make sure his college application and essays showcased more than just his GPA and ACT scores.

Creating a clear picture of who you are as a student, and as a person, is the best way to ensure acceptance into your chosen college, especially when the numbers aren’t on your side. The college application process is a culmination of years of hard work, combining SAT/ACT scores, GPA/Class Rank, extra-curricular activities, college application essays, and more. It is a delicate balancing act used to highlight your absolute best self to admission boards, knowing that each application only receives about seven minutes of review time from admissions boards.

Thomas came to AGP as a student outside of the top 25% in his class, with dreams of pursuing veterinary medicine or dentistry. He, like many students, crammed for tests at the last minute, not knowing how to balance academics with baseball practice, a part-time job, and his many student organizations (FCA, NHS, HOSA), and volunteer work. Robb Jenson, Independent College Prep Consultant with AGP, worked with Thomas to establish better study habits, project scheduling, and general academic intentionality. Because of the nature of grading periods, and grade book requirements, many students find that their exams and big projects fall on the same days for every class. This can become overwhelming, as Thomas found out. Robb taught him how to chunk his studying, plan and draft his formal papers, and execute the delivery of projects in a manner that flowed with his schedule and improved his GPA and class rank. Thanks in part to Robb’s mentoring, Thomas will graduate ranked in the top 21%, and will enter college with the proper academic skills for success.

Planning for college (and beyond) is more than just a GPA game. Thomas had done an amazing job with his involvement in baseball, playing outfield and pitching for his high school team, and then spending summers with Brazos Valley Pride Baseball Academy. He was a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), National Honor Society (NHS), and even spent a year with Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), but he had not yet explored volunteer opportunities in professional settings that would help solidify his decision to pursue veterinary medicine or dentistry. Robb worked with him on applications for a variety of programs, which resulted in Thomas’ participation both with the Scott and White Hospital Helping Hands Volunteer Program Outpatient Therapy Internship and as a Brazos Valley Rehabilitation Center volunteer. After completion of these programs, Thomas turned his sights on Physical Therapy as a career path, as he felt this would allow him to help others more directly and at a deeper level. At Robb’s suggestion, he also signed up for Honors Anatomy for his Junior science course. This course was beneficial to his GPA (Honors courses are graded on a 5 pt scale instead of a 4 pt), and was more applicable to his chosen area of study, than his original choice of Physics.

Thomas also received ACT Prep instruction from AGP. By working with our team of professional ACT coaches, he was able to improve his score by 7 points! Adding this score to his improved GPA, Thomas was getting closer to his dream of attending Texas A&M University. His final step was crafting his college application essays.

The College Application Essays for Apply Texas are intentionally designed to allow every student the ability to share their stories and greatest attributes. AGP works with students to identify those stories and attributes, and then guides the student through the crafting of their essays so that the story is as impactful as possible. After all, essay reviewers only spend about 3 minutes reading each essay, if they finish them at all. For his essay, Thomas chose to focus on his unwavering patience, and how it has allowed him to become a better student and better leader. He says, “This quality [patience] has taught me to be persistent through challenging times, to be kind to those in distress, and to be a calm, confident leader during tense moments”. Patience seems like such a small thing, but it is a noble soft skill to possess, and Thomas was able to spin this quality into a powerful college application essay that showed him to be insightful, reflective, and tempered.

As a client receiving Family College Consultation from Avant Garde - College Prep Services, Thomas was able to take advantage of our personalized application assistance, guidance on internships and activities, college application essay coaching, and ACT Prep instruction. Robb and his team worked with Thomas every step of the way, guiding him through each decision with the specific needs/wants of him and his family in mind. AGP knows that every student is different, and is here to provide custom college consultation based on the individual. If you have a student who would benefit from any of our numerous services, please reach out to us via phone or through our website. The initial consultation is free!

Although Thomas did not graduate in the Top 10% of his class, he was able to achieve his dream of becoming the loudest and proudest member of the Fighting Texas Aggie Class of 2024. I asked him what he thinks helped him stand out, and he said, “ I would like to think that I was well rounded and that is what they saw in me… I had good grades in challenging courses while playing baseball, serving my community, and working. I also think my essay showed that I was able to look back on what my experiences taught me and learn from them. I also never gave up hope. I was driving my mom and Robb nuts because I didn’t have the backup plan they wanted me to have, but my patience paid off”. The team at Avant Garde - College Prep Services is proud of you Thomas. We can’t wait to see what you accomplish!

Thomas will attend Texas A&M University this fall, majoring in kinesiology in hopes of pursuing a career in physical therapy.

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