Jose Varela CastilloAs the 2018–19 school year comes to an end, we’re sharing the college choice stories of several members of the Class of 2019!

In what grade did you come to MPA? 
I came to MPA in ninth grade. MPA has been a great fit and I’ve really enjoyed my time here.

How did you come to choose the college that you did?
I chose Tulane because I wanted to be in a place that was warm and close to home. Also, I wanted to be in a five-year architecture program, and Tulane was my favorite school in the south that offered it. I also was looking for a medium size school, but one that still had lots of school spirit and D1 athletics. Tulane also allows me to double or switch majors because admission is not school specific giving me more options if architecture is not the path I ultimately want to take.

What are you most excited about as you embark on your college experience?
I am really looking forward to taking more art classes and doing more hands-on projects. I am also looking forward to more independence and the ability to have more control over my schedule. College will also give me the opportunity to find out what I really want in life and discover new paths. I am excited to meet new people who have had different life experiences than I have. Studying abroad is another thing that I am excited for, since I love to travel and like living in different countries.

What did you appreciate most about the college counseling process at MPA?
I enjoyed the personalized approach, such as getting lots of feedback on my college essay and supplemental materials. Also, MPA helped me a lot in choosing what school would fit my personality and interests best. It has helped me manage my time and plan out my approach to college. Furthermore, the art department was very supportive in helping me with selecting pieces for my art portfolio.

What about your MPA experience has best prepared you for college?
MPA has dramatically improved my writing and reading skills that will be essential in college. Also, due to MPA’s great visual department, I was able to develop strong skills in drawing and painting that I hope to use in architecture school. MPA has done a great job in teaching me how to think, giving me the skills necessary to be academically successful.

What is your advice for MPA’s Class of 2031 (kindergartners)?
My advice is to be open to new experiences. Through your time at MPA, you will be exposed to many subjects. Approaching each topic with an open mind will allow you to find out what you want to do in the future.

Insight from Ms. Pederson, Director of College Counseling:
José’s college search process was principally guided by his strong interest in architecture, as well as his desire for warm weather and closer proximity to his family, who live abroad. The summer before his senior year, José completed a month-long summer program focusing on architecture at Pratt Institute of Art in New York City. This exposure gave him the chance to test his interest in architecture as a future career, and also to complete a substantial amount of work on the art portfolio he submitted with his college applications. In applying to Tulane, José also targeted a school with overall academic strength, and a medium sized student community, located in a city (New Orleans, for those who may not be familiar). Given his success as a sailor on MPA’s Sailing Team, perhaps José also will find some time to get out on the water during his college years!

The 55 members of the Class of 2019 were offered admission to 107 different colleges and universities in 30 states, Washington, D.C. and Canada. They will attend 44 different schools in 18 states and Washington, D.C. Learn more about MPA’s College Counseling program here!

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