Next month, Jose Melendez and his classmates in the College Scholars Program will celebrate their graduations from SEEDS. Over the past 17 months, College Scholars have spent Saturdays and three summer weeks with SEEDS, preparing for college enrollment. These 40 seniors have all been accepted to college and will enroll in some of the nation’s top institutions this fall. Jose is the first student from SEEDS’ College Scholars Program to enroll in the University of Michigan, where he would like to conduct astronomy research and study science communication.
What are you most looking forward to at Michigan next year?
I’m looking forward to proving to myself and to others that I belong at such an elite university. I’m also looking forward to exploring all the vast resources that Michigan has to offer.
How has your knowledge of the college process changed over the past year with SEEDS?
I used to think that the admissions process just consisted of finding a college, filling out the application, and hoping for the best. I now know that a lot more that happens beyond that, like filling out the FAFSA and CSS profile, getting recommendation letters, and picking the right colleges to apply to in the first place. Without SEEDS, I wouldn’t have been able to navigate the process, and might have been discouraged to apply to college at all.
How did SEEDS help with your path to Michigan? How might your college experience have been different if not for SEEDS?
Were it not for SEEDS, I wouldn’t have had the courage to roll the dice and apply to competitive schools like Michigan. Instead, I probably would’ve gone to a local school. I also would have experienced the same hardships in applying to college without any knowledge of how to deal with them.
What would you tell a student who is considering applying to NJ SEEDS?
I would tell them that they should apply regardless of whether they think they’ll get accepted or not. I didn’t think that I would get accepted either, but the SEEDS team looks at the whole student. Prospective students shouldn’t get discouraged by the amount of work they’ll have to do, because the overall experiences you’ll have with SEEDS are experiences that will stick with you forever.
What does NJ SEEDS mean to you?
NJ SEEDS allowed me to make lifelong friends and learn lessons I’ll carry with me the rest of my life. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve been fortunate enough to have, and I want to make sure that others in my position have them as well. Being a part of NJ SEEDS has been a memorable and valuable experience.