By Hannah Lilley

With summer coming to a close and school back in session, many incoming seniors are beginning the process of applying to colleges. One notable and academically strong student of Ponte Vedra High School’s class of 2016 shares her experience throughout senior year to preparing for college, as she looks back at the journey of becoming a graduate. Kyla Scott graduated last school year ranked at the top of her class — maintaining a high GPA and keeping up with all Advanced Placement courses. In addition to academics, she was active in various extracurricular actives, such as being a member of multiple honor societies, the lacrosse team, clubs and playing the violin; however, moving to Ponte Vedra Beach during her junior year was not an easy task.

Scott said, “Having lived in Tennessee for more than 10 years, a new school was a huge culture shock. Coming from a central magnet school, the education style in Florida is completely different. It was difficult to grasp various teaching styles and adjusting to Common Core testing procedures.”

To overcome this obstacle, Scott immersed herself in school clubs, such as Model United Nations.

She said, “I wanted to try a new hobby at a new school. I enjoy presenting, writing speeches and politics, but struggled with debate. This club helped me gain more confidence and learn new skills while becoming connected with the other team members interested in global issues.”

The experience inspired her to realize her future goals, as Scott intends to learn uncommonly spoken languages to give medical aid to those unable to acquire proper help due to language barriers.

The decision process to find the right college was difficult, as Scott applied to seven educational institutions during her senior year and was accepted to all of them.

She said, “Ultimately, it came down to my intended major and tuition funding. I also did not want large class sizes, such as that at major universities. I decided to attend East Tennessee State University due to the choices available.”

She found the school during a summer internship program held at the campus for her desired career field. Scott received a full scholarship, as well as school paid expenditures for study abroad, research prospects and internship opportunities. With the successful completion of prerequisites and acquired college course hours completed under her belt, she can already be qualified as a college sophomore.

Additionally, she will be a part of the university’s honors scholar program with a focus in medicine. Her career goal is to become a doctor, working specifically with the Centers for Disease Control. After college, Scott plans to attend graduate school at Harvard University, but until then, she will double major in public health and microbiology health sciences.

Scott’s advice for transitioning seniors is to make the most of their final year of high school.

She said, “Wherever you go, make sure you can see yourself enjoying that school. Apply to where you dream of attending classes. Trust yourself and don’t give up, as it will all pay off.”

Photo courtesy Kyla Scott

Kyla Scott will be attending East Tennessee State University this coming fall as a student of the class of 2020.


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