Charles GrimesAs the 2019–20 school year comes to an end, we’re sharing the college choice stories of the Class of 2020!

In what grade did you come to MPA?

I came to Mounds Park Academy in 9th grade after looking at a variety of college preparatory schools in the Twin Cities area. MPA’s small class sizes, laptop program, and modern facilities piqued my interest during open houses and my shadowing experience. However, I ultimately chose MPA for high school because I knew my time there would be a valuable experience full of opportunities to try new things, find a passion, and challenge myself.

How did you come to choose the college that you did?

I chose to attend Barret Honors College at Arizona State University because it is a small academic community within a larger university setting. I found during my time at MPA, small classroom sizes were a huge factor in my academic success and wanted a similar environment for college. Barrett offers these small class sizes with focused and dedicated faculty, yet has the resources and opportunities of the larger university. Therefore, I chose Barrett because the combination of both these factors will best prepare me well for success later in life.

What are you most excited about as you embark on your college experience?

First off, I am most excited for the Arizona weather! But in all seriousness, I am eager to experience an independent life outside of Minnesota and take advantage of the opportunities Barrett has to offer. I cannot wait to meet new people from all over the country or world and learn from their experiences, opinions, and viewpoints. Additionally, I have never travelled outside of the United States before an am super excited to seek out study abroad opportunities and connect with people from wherever I go.

What did you appreciate most about the college counseling process at MPA?

I am so thankful that the MPA college counseling process is individualized to each student and seeks to find the right college fit for everybody. MPA understands that there is no “one size fits all” way to approach the college counseling experience and application process. Ms. Pederson and Ms. Kaltved engage with every member of the upper school and work with those applying to college to find the best place for them. I appreciate this dedication so much because the college counseling process can be very daunting at times and they will help you through every single step and question you have.

What about your MPA experience has best prepared you for college?

Throughout my time at MPA, my teachers have constantly pushed and challenged me to reach my academic potential. Their dedication has best prepared me for college because I now have the drive to learn and a curiosity to explore new ideas. When I came to MPA, I was self-conscious of my academic capabilities and apprehensive to contribute to the classroom learning. However, over the four years, MPA teachers have brought me out of my shell and instilled a confidence in me to learn. I am eager to share my ideas in the college classroom setting and learn new things.

What is your advice for MPA’s Class of 2032 (kindergartners)?

My advice to the Class of 2032 is to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself, even if that means venturing outside of your comfort zone. If I had never attended MPA, I probably never would have taken an improv course, competed in varsity debate, or run hurdles in track and field. I was nervous to try each of these experiences, however, I found that MPA’s faculty and students made it a fun and supportive environment for me to grow. MPA will always have your back and push you to succeed, but you have to initiate the first step outside of your comfort zone.

The 53 members of the Class of 2020 plan to attend 41 different colleges and universities in 18 states, Washington D.C., Canada, and Australia. See their destinations here. Learn more about MPA’s College Counseling Program here!

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