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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Brilliant young girl emerges US high school valedictorian, wins full ride scholarship to Harvard University

A brilliant young girl named Jorden Wallican has been awarded the overall best-graduating student of West High School, Waterloo in the United States. She also won a full-ride scholarship to further her study at Harvard University.

Jordan is a teen from Waterloo who graduated West High School as the top-ranked in her class by grade point average earning her the valedictorian position. She was also enrolled in Waterloo Community Schools’ International Baccalaureate Diploma Program for two years.

Before graduation, she applied to 31 institutions through the organizations Common Application and QuestBridge Regular Decision and was accepted into 24 universities and colleges including Harvard University.

“I knew I wanted to go to a top 10 school or at least a top 20 school. I ended up getting into 24 of the 31,” she said. Jordan mentioned that out of all the schools that accepted her, Harvard is her favorite as it has always been her dream school.

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“I’ve always really liked Harvard. I have a picture of me when I was younger in a Harvard shirt,” she said. Jordan mentioned that she was accepted into Harvard University on a full-ride scholarship.

Jordan was also awarded the Gates scholarship, which covers any remaining college costs for outstanding minority students from low-income households.

She mentioned that she initially had her top three options, all in the Northeast which are Harvard and Brown Universities and Williams College adding that she went on a trip to each of the colleges with her mother to make the right choice.




“I went to six different colleges in New York, Boston, and Washington D.C,” she said.  Jordan mentioned that she looked at factors like financial aid, reputation, and location and she liked Harvard’s campus which prompted her to choose it.

Jordan stated that several factors motivated her to excel in school and pursue an elite university education after high school. She mentioned that growing up, she wanted to go to a top school and also had a dream to be at the top of her class academically.

“I just wanted to see if I could be valedictorian. That’s why I did IB,” she said. The International Baccalaureate (IB ) is an internationally recognized advanced diploma available to East and West high school students as a rigorous two-year college preparatory program.

Despite doing the course, she acknowledged that the process of applying to 31 colleges and universities while being successful with three-quarters of them was challenging.

Jordan said before writing her 1,000-word essay and applying for college, she did a lot of research online, watched people’s videos about the process, and learned that higher education institutions are looking for people who are authentic and can be change agents.

“I hope to make an impact in any environment I’m in. I kind of thought of it as a job interview, I had to choose the parts of me that I thought are really special,” she said.

She said the essay was about her community service work. Jordan volunteers at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank and a nursing home. Through her junior year, she also volunteered heavily at her church in some capacities.

In addition, she is part of multiple student organizations that include service in their mission. She is president of West’s National Honor Society, vice president of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, and a service officer at Teen Trust, a program of the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa.

Jordan said she plans to major in women, gender, and sexuality studies with a minor in African-American studies when she resumes at Harvard University. She added that after earning a degree, she wants to start a nonprofit organization or become a college professor.

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