Catching up with a grad: Bianca Rose, SVHS ’11
‘College is what you make of it’
Bianca Rose, Sonoma High ’11, is only halfway through her freshman year, but she is already a fantastic model of what it takes to succeed in college today, and how perseverance can really pay off.
In high school, Rose was active in the peer tutoring program, had a lead role in almost every Broadway Bound Kids production, was an active member of the Spanish Honors Society, worked as an intern at the Sonoma Ecology Center, and volunteered at many Rotary Club, Soroptimists, and La Luz Center events.
Rose was accepted at more than 10 colleges last spring, but deciding on the right school that would offer a top-rate, pre-med program at an affordable price was of primary concern.
After weighing her options thoughtfully, Rosa enrolled at Sonoma State University as a residential student, living in the dorm fulltime. From the moment she stepped on campus, she threw herself into college life. She tells it best in her own words:
“I’ve just finished with my first semester at Sonoma State University, and so far it has been great. I got a job in the Performing Arts Department as a technical assistant (to stay involved in theater). I also joined the Bonner AmeriCorps program on campus, in which I have committed to do 300 hours of community service this year, in order to receive a scholarship. I decided to complete the majority of my hours at a free clinic, in order to start gaining experience in health care. However, I have also spent a lot of time volunteering at homeless shelters, elementary schools, and other nonprofit organizations. Volunteering at all these places last semester made me realize how much I care for people, and how happy it makes me to help them.
“School is still my first priority and I spend most of my time studying, but I try to balance it out with productive activities, such as being involved in my community and on campus. My class sizes are small enough for me to build relationships with my professors, and since I arrived with about 20 units of AP credit, I get priority registration, which is great considering how difficult it is for students to get into classes at state schools nowadays. Since the student body is so small, I also have a better chance of getting internship and job opportunities than I would have at a larger school.
“The biggest adjustment this year has been moving away from my family, and not being able to see them as often as I would like to. The hardest adjustment has been learning how to manage work, with school, and extracurricular activities. So far, I have made friends from all over California, including Los Angeles, Orange County, San Luis Obispo, Fresno, Santa Rosa, San Francisco, San Jose, and Sacramento. I even know people from Russia and China. The campus is very pretty and the residential communities at SSU include individual dorms that look like hotel suites, town houses, and apartments. I personally love my apartment-style dorm. I have a roommate who I get along with very well; we share our kitchen, living room, and bathroom with our two housemates.
“My best advice to college-bound students is to seek out their counselor and research schools as early as possible in order to find out what the requisites are to become a strong candidate. I would strongly encourage them to build a rigorous academic resume by balancing (and excelling in) honors, and Advanced Placement courses that will both challenge and better prepare them for college-level work. It is also important to get involved in prolific extracurriculars like sports, community service, or a job in order to demonstrate that students are well rounded and different from the rest of the crowd. All these steps will most likely ensure, not only college acceptance, but also scholarship awards if students decide to apply for them.
“To sum it up, I’m very happy with my decision to come to Sonoma State. I’ve grown up a lot even in the few months I’ve been here and have a broader perspective on my life and goals. I think it’s true when they say, ‘college is what you make out of it.’”