Many students have reservations about leaving the reservation to attend a college or university far from family and friends, which is why 2017 graduate and Columbia University Sophomore Wyatt Jewett is participating in a program that allows him to come back to his alma mater and share his experiences at the university as well as information about Columbia admissions.
Jewett highlighted for students several things they can do now to improve their chances at getting into a university like Columbia.
He told students to apply for College Horizons, and seek a scholarship if money is an issue. College Horizons prepared Jewett for the college application process. He received help completing the Common Application, which is a one-stop center with an application that can be sent to multiple universities.
College Horizons also helped him shape his admissions essay, something that most colleges require from applicants.
Jewett also said that participating in school activities and community efforts help. Getting involved needs to be more than just attending meetings, Jewett explained.
Students will want to take an active role in a club or organization, such as running for treasurer, secretary or some other leadership role.
Academically, Jewett said that students are required to read extensively for their classes, and they have to use their extra time to do the homework required for their classes.
He said that learning the skills of annotating and analyzing texts in his high school English classes was useful to him in all of his college coursework.
Jewett also shared with students the benefits of attending a large university in the largest city in the United States, from the access to the arts to the diversity of people.
Walking down the street, Jewett said he might hear 5 different languages being spoken.
Many students think that attending a school far from home would be too expensive, but Jewett said that there are 150 million scholarships and grant programs based on financial needs can help pay for a large portion if not all of the cost of attending a place like Columbia.
Students asked Jewett questions about the best coffee shops (which he could not say because he is not a coffee drinker), how to cope with being so far from home, if he saw a lot of rats in the city (he said he has seen two on the streets), and if the city stinks.
Jewett said that some places in the city stink, but not all, and when it is cold, the subway does not smell as bad, but when it warms up, like here in Eagle Butte, the smell can be pretty bad.
Jewett shared the kind of curriculum students would be expected to take as undergraduate students at Columbia, the way the school’s housing system works, the school’s tutoring and mentoring programs (Jewett is a mentor now for a Native student from Montana), the 500 clubs students could choose from, the intermural sports they can play in, and how good the food is, especially at Ferris Dining Hall.
Jewett said that 90 percent of the students who attend Columbia are in the top 10 percent of their graduating class.
There are 6,000 undergraduate students at Columbia, but most classes are between 10 and 19 students with student to faculty ratio of 6 to 1, which is unusual for a large university.
Several students decided to complete information cards about the Columbia University application process, and thanked Jewett for coming to the school and speaking with them about Ivy league opportunities.