Student Skips Senior Year

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Student Skips Senior Year

George Guckenberger, Web Editor

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Junior Christian Salinas is saying goodbye to LASA one year early, and skipping his senior year to attend The University of Southern California (USC) through their Resident Honors Program. He was accepted into their Engineering school, which he said is ranked as one of the top ten programs in the nation.

“USC is my dream school, and getting in was a dream come true,” Salinas said. “Being able to say I was accepted in their engineering school, which is one of the most competitive in the country, was a huge accomplishment and something that I couldn’t turn down.”

The program usually accepts around 20 students, and receives between 200 to 300 applications. Salinas was initially intimidated by the low acceptance rates, but said his GPA and scores were high enough for him to be a competitive applicant. He spent the entire month of November working on his application, because the deadline was Dec. 1.

“The application was similar to the applications the seniors filled out in some ways and different in other ways,” Salinas said. “I had to submit the common application, like most seniors have to do. I also had to do the common app essay and a supplement for the engineering school itself. That consisted of nine short answers, which was a lot and pretty much unheard of at any school, and an additional essay… and I needed three or four letters of recommendation.”

Salinas said his interest in math and science motivated him to pursue mechanical engineering as a major. He also especially likes the resources the school has available for their engineering students, as well as their approach to teaching.

“USC’s engineering program is very hands on,” Salinas said. “They build models and don’t just sit behind a desk all the time. We are going to go and create things, and being able to do that now is something that really entices me. Being able to actually work in labs and work with models is exactly how I learn best.”

He also explained that USC does not require students in this program to obtain a high school diploma, but he was able to figure out a graduation plan with his counselors and Ms. Crescenzi. Salinas is is enrolling in intro to theater this summer at Austin Community College for his final credit required for graduation.

“I had to switch into DELTA in the last six weeks of the year,” Salinas said. “But they helped me through it. LASA wants me to graduate because they don’t want to have a high school dropout on the books. They did everything they could, and everything is falling into place.”

Salinas has always considered himself to be a STEM student, and said he feels that he has always pushed himself academically. He considers skipping his last year of high school as being representative of his academic work ethic.

“I’ve always been interested in pushing myself further,” Salinas said. “So taking a lot of harder classes and enrolling early really kind of symbolizes me wanting to keep moving in my education.”

Salinas said that he feels like LASA did a great job preparing him for college. Despite his excitement for this next chapter in his life, he says he will miss LASA.

“The thing I will miss most about LASA is my friends,” Salinas said. “I will be moving 1300 miles across the country and having no friends when I enter campus. It’s going to hurt a lot losing this great community that I’ve surrounded myself with.”