’I was having a party on the inside’: High school senior celebrates college acceptance after her Bronx school launched push for early admissions

ByMichael Elsen-Rooney
KIPP High School senior Lizbeth Garcia, 17, poses with Northeastern University's flag Monday, Dec. 9 in the Bronx, New York. (Barry Williams/for New York Daily News)

KIPP High School senior Lizbeth Garcia, 17, poses with Northeastern University’s flag Monday, Dec. 9 in the Bronx, New York. (Barry Williams/for New York Daily News)

One of the secrets of college success isn’t just applying yourself — it’s applying early.

Lizbeth Garcia learned that lesson as a junior in high school, when a counselor at KIPP College Prep High School in the South Bronx approached her about filing for early acceptance at the college of her choice.

Applying early would boost her chances of getting in, the counselor told her. And help her secure a generous financial aid package, while the school still had plenty of funds to allocate.

All of that sounded good to Garcia — except for one thing. The early admissions process requires a firm commitment from the student to their first-choice school. If they get in, they’re expected to attend.

“I’m very indecisive. I didn’t know if I’d be able to commit to one school,” said the 17-year-old, who lives in Manhattan.
But since counselors at KIPP College Prep High School in the South Bronx started the conversation early with Garcia, she had time to warm up to the idea. She liked the increased odds of a yes and the more likely guarantee of financial support.

And her concerns she’d get locked into a college that she didn’t like evaporated when she was able to make a visit to one of her top picks, Northeastern University in Boston.

“When I stepped foot on campus, the feeling I got was that I belonged on campus,” she said.

Garcia decided to take the plunge. She was one of the nearly 30 seniors this year at KIPP College Prep who opted for the early applications — a step the school is aggressively pushing to improve their chances of long-term success.

“Top liberal arts schools that have extremely high graduation rates are filling over 50% of their classes with early decision. Admissions chances are double or triple for some schools. That’s just a huge opportunity we didn’t want our students to be missing out on,” said Rebekah Bambling, the school’s director of college counseling.

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