EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. — Sydni Smith from East Stroudsburg High School South always knew she wanted to go to college. She just didn't know which one.
"There was no school I was dead set on. I just liked to have options and see them," Smith said.
When it was time to apply, she didn't waste any time. Her first acceptance letter came in November of 2021.
"I started applying at the beginning of the school year because I knew that I wanted to apply to a lot of places early on just so then I would know some things earlier and didn't have to wait up until April to know if I was accepted or not," said Smith.
Her hard work paid off in a big way. Smith was accepted to 57 colleges and universities and awarded about $2 million in scholarships.
The recent high school graduate says she used the Common Black College Application, where she was able to apply to all 64 historically Black colleges and universities at once.
"I got into around 40-something schools from the Common Black app in total, and the Common App, even the school suggests us to use it," said Smith. "The maximum you can add on there are 20 schools that I could do on Common App, and I just had to write all the supplemental essays, my Common App essay."
While Smith's time has ended at East Stroudsburg South High School, she's offering some advice for students who are getting ready to start the college application process.
"Start early. I wish I started in my junior year. Like I said, COVID took that away from me," Smith said. "If you want to cast a wide net, cast a wide net. Don't listen because sometimes people will say only do two or three, just pick your top choice and two safety schools."
Smith says if she had listened to others, chances are she wouldn't be going to the University of Michigan on almost a full ride.
"Some of them are like amazing schools that are really competitive too and super hard to get into, and knowing that I've achieved that is just like really awesome," Smith said.
Smith starts the summer program at Michigan this Friday and will continue her studies in the fall.
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