CompassPoint Points Students in Right Direction

We all have different goals. No matter if you want to go to med school or write the next great American novel, there’s one thing we can agree on: High school helps define our aspirations by shaping our personal and professional growth. Success in high school is also crucial for receiving admissions from universities, and the college admissions process can be daunting. How much easier would it be if we had some support from students who had already gone through the high school experience and could help point us in the right direction?

Carl Shan and I, Lynbrook High School 2010 grads, believe that the best guidance comes from within your community, rather than from outside of it. We founded CompassPoint, a personalized peer mentorship program that connects high school grads with rising college juniors and seniors from their alma maters who can provide them with college advice, leadership development and personal growth. Since founding the program this past March, it has received the support of students, parents and administrators. The program has spread to schools across the country and is spearheaded by students who help individuals from their high schools discover their passions.

Want my personal advice? Tackle high school with four I’s: initiative, interest, impact and intellectual curiosity. Particularly for Asian Americans—don’t be afraid to like something that may not be a traditional career track. Pursue what you care about, aim for large-scale impact and focus on what makes you unique. As an admissions officer once told me, college acceptance is not a reward for your accomplishments in high school, but rather a prediction of what you will accomplish in the future. Getting into college should not be an end, but rather, an opportunity to continue to build upon your high school successes.

So, dream big, seek mentorship, and success will come!

Guest blogger Kavya Shankar is a rising sophomore at Harvard. Learn more about her initiatives, Bravura Prep and CompassPoint, or contact her at kshankar@college.harvard.edu.