Sofia thought a blemish on her GPA in freshman year of high school would ruin her chance of getting into the Ivy League. Working with educational consultant Mark Montgomery helped expand her horizons and guide her toward success. In the end she wound up at her first-choice Ivy League school, Brown University.
Hi, I’m Sofia La Porta. I’m a high school senior and I live in Hanover, New Hampshire. I’ve been working with Mark since the summer after my freshman year. I think I thought the college process was going to be about me following directions and getting a 2400 on my SAT and getting straight As, and I quickly learned that that wasn’t going to be the way it was going to go, possibly because I got a B+ in the first semester of my freshman year and realized the 4.0 out of reach at that point. And I sort of started to tell myself that I wasn’t capable. And I think that I thought that admissions officers would be able to see right through that, and that they’d see my blemished GPA and say, “Oh, she’s not worthy.”
I’m not really sure how my fascination with Brown University started out. I think that someone I knew had gone there and talked really highly of it, and it was the only college I really knew about so I was like, “That’s the one. That’s it. I’m going there. Gotta go there.” So I went on Naviance and was like this is the GPA I have to have, this is the SAT I have to have, and I strove for that. And so three years later I applied early decision, got deferred, and it was heartbreaking, but not in the way that I had expected because I think that when I was applying, it was the only school that I could think about. But as I started to write supplements for other schools I started to fall in love with all these other options that I could have, and in a way I started to feel like, was it too soon to commit to something that maybe just my heart was into but I wasn’t so sure that my mind was really following my heart. And then I ended finding out that I did get into Brown, where I will be attending in the fall.
I think, as I’ve talked about, Mark was really helpful in terms of figuring out ways that I could channel my interests. And even if he didn’t know the exact person that I could work with he was really great at giving advice about how I could get from uninterested, ninth grade Sofia to this person who cared about things, and who cared about making the world a better place, and that was hugely important. Also I think that knowing that someone was looking over all of my documents and everything that I was writing, my college essay, my supplements, looking at what I was doing to prepare for standardized tests was hugely stress-relieving, not only for me but also for my parents, who didn’t go to college in the United States so it was a pretty new process for them. And I think knowing that someone knew what was going on and knew how to take certain signals and was able to really proofread my essays to deleting two words, or adding one, or how I was going to take away a sentence and make sure that that information, that sentence, was still replicated throughout the rest of the essay, was invaluable to my college process.