College Decision Q&A with Cappex Rock Star Scholarship Winner

Ilya KEarlier this month, Cappex was happy to announce Ilya K. from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, as the winner of the 2013 $5,000 Rock Star Scholarship.

This fall, Ilya will attend the University of Pennsylvania to pursue a dual-degree in Biology and Finance and a minor in Mathematics, and continue his studies until achieving a PhD in Microbiology. His clear passion for science has driven his aspiration of working as a scientific researcher to explore how microbes can be used to produce industrial materials that do not further damage the environment – quite a noble ambition for a much needed cause.

Ilya graciously took some time to share how he approached the college search process:

What factors did you consider as you were making your college decision?

I considered the geographical area along with the strength of the college in my areas of interest and I checked to see if the university had any special programs combining my interests. For example, one of the reasons that I chose the University of Pennsylvania is because they have a dual degree program in business and life sciences, two areas that interest me. In addition, I considered the size of the university and the university’s philosophy on education. Some colleges emphasize theory and rigor and some, such as Penn, emphasize practical and multidisciplinary education.

Which features of Cappex helped you with your decision and why?

I found the admissions trends and the “My Chances” section to be very informative as a starting point in deciding whether I was a competitive applicant for the college. In addition, the scholarships section of Cappex proved to be a great resource. It not only matched me with scholarships that are suited to my profile, but also provided more information about the scholarship in question, such as the deadline, the length of the application, and the number of other people applying for the scholarship. This allowed me to budget my time accordingly and maximize my chances of earning scholarship money.

If you could share any piece of advice for students just beginning the college search process, what would it be?

I would advise students to first make an inventory of the characteristics of colleges that are most important to them. Examples include geographical area, size, price, majors offered, etc. Then I would use a college search tool, such as the one offered by Cappex. These tools will help narrow down the list of colleges that are good fits and then I would suggest that the student explore the websites of the selected colleges to see if they may be interested in applying.

What are you looking forward to the most about college?

I am looking forward to the wide array of activities and academic opportunities that the University of Pennsylvania offers, particularly the unique courses that are available as part of the dual degree program that I was accepted into.

Thanks again to Ilya for his helpful college search tips and insights!

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