Hamid headed for Ivy Leagues


Submitted Photo

Hiba Hamid poses with her parents during Decision Day at Spring-Ford High School. Hamid will attend the University of Pennsylvania next year.

Rumaan Hashmi and Inaya Khan

With many seniors having already received their acceptance letters, the hype for college preparation is rising in Spring-Ford.

Hiba Hamid, an 18-year-old senior, is one of two people from the class of 2019 that have been accepted into the University of Pennsylvania.

UPenn is a very reputable Ivy League institute, requiring an arduous effort for applications and having incredibly high expectations for its incoming students regarding their high school endeavors. With an acceptance rate of only 10 percent, admission is far from easy and definitely competitive.

Although the seniors have concluded the application process, many upcoming applicants are still curious about their options, and whether or not to include reach schools like Ivy Leagues into the picture.

The most apparent difference between Ivy Leagues and other colleges is that Ivy Leagues are part of the Ivy athletic conference. They offer a more rigorous approach to certain subjects and include many accelerated programs that may not be available in other universities, which is why they are exceptionally selective with their admissions.
Ivy League schools are searching for very driven students, and there are many options when considering which colleges to apply to, including UPenn, Brown, Cornell, Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale, and Columbia.

These schools are very competitive and often look for outstanding academic achievement, plentiful involvement in extracurriculars, top percentile test scores, and other defining and unique qualities about the applicants.

This extremely selective process causes many students to be disappointed in themselves if they are not accepted.
However, it is important to keep a bit of perspective.

“(While) academically, Ivy Leagues are schools that many people strive to get into due to the opportunities that one can obtain from attending, calling other colleges ‘regular’ undermines the amazing opportunities that one can achieve when attending any institution,” Hamid said. “For example, colleges such as Hopkins, MIT, Georgetown, and Stanford are all amazing schools to attend but are not in the Ivy League.”

While Ivy Leagues are something to consider, they are certainly not the be-all and end-all, and in no way does a rejection project an unsuccessful future.

Hamid has advised those who are looking to apply to think about their purpose in applying.

“For example,” Hamid explains, “I decided to apply to Penn early because of the groundbreaking research regarding car-cell therapy (a cancer immunotherapy which treats liquid tumors, such as leukemia and lymphoma), which is a field that I desire to go into during my undergraduate year. Penn is where this therapy was developed, and thus I wanted to be able to experience the process of being able to learn about this treatment first hand in cancer research.”
Hamid also adds that weighing the pros and cons of the school is a good idea before applying, just like with any college, because it is important to apply to Ivy Leagues not just solely for the title, but to also consider if the programs offered by that school will be beneficial in a potential career path.

Just as with any other college, Ivy League students have the choice of living on campus in dorms or off campus. The environment surrounding campus is crucial for an enjoyable and fun experience, because while the purpose of college is education, it is also a crucial period in life to develop social relationships and learn independence.
As Hamid is still in high school, she is not completely familiar with how the Ivy environment differs from any other, but she believes it will be a fulfilling experience.

“Being able to take challenging classes while learning about current breakthroughs in science and medicine is something that I aspire to learn about at Penn, and I can’t wait to attend in the fall,” she said.

The Ivies are competitive schools to get accepted into, but that does not mean it is impossible. Students who are passionate and determined to continue their education in an environment that will allow them to strive for the best in themselves are more than qualified to apply and even get admitted.

UPenn is only one side of the story, and there are many other college options — Ivy and non-Ivy alike — that offer exclusive opportunities to further one’s education. As long as students are making an effort to achieve the best they can, and enjoying their college life as they do it, they will have a positive experience, which is what matters the most.
“I believe that the college experience is what one makes of it, no matter the institution that is being attended,” Hamid said.