Jocelyn Zacarias knew she wanted to go to college when she was a young girl. She also knew she wanted to grow up to help people in some way. In junior high at Yolo, she was introduced to her first service club, Hispanic Youth Leadership Conference. She connected with the ideals of that community.
Her freshman year at Orestimba High School she knew she needed to start building her profile in preparation to apply for college. She started by taking her first honors class and joined the HYLC club, taking on an officer position. The combination of her academic and social choices fit her goals well. She had found her path, the road that suited her goals as a person and a student.
As a freshman she was fascinated with every field from Science to Math to English and more. She decided to register for AP classes in every subject available each year forward. She also moved ahead with her involvement with HYLC noting she really enjoyed attending the cluster meetings when various clubs in the area would meet to share ideas and information. Jocelyn is currently the OHS club’s Vice President.
As a high school junior, Jocelyn joined a college prep scholars program offered by Questbridge National Match Program. She found the summer program to be very helpful as she began the college application process her senior year.
All the work she had done academically and personally for 13 years, allowed her to be able to apply for admission to many colleges and apply for scholarships to help fund her future education.
The road was not always easy. There were definitely challenges along the way, times when she needed to push herself to complete an assignment, stay up late, actually choose to make her goal the priority and learn to time manage her day. “My parents have always supported me; they have alot of faith in me,” Jocelyn shared. Her friends have been a reliable source of support as well. “We’re in this together and motivate each other when our schedules get too busy,” the OHS scholar explained.
Jocelyn decided to make the University of Chicago her number one choice when asked by Questbridge to rank schools she’d like to attend. She ranked nine, applied to each of them, but was hoping for UChicago.
Jocelyn said she plans to study Psychology, Child Psychology specifically. “I’m fascinated by the brain and how it develops. I want to work in a field that helps others. This is perfect for me,” she described. “And, UChicago has a top psychology program,” she added. The Orestimba senior has been to Chicago to visit family and liked what she saw which was another factor in deciding upon her top choice. She hasn’t been to the campus yet but, from the research she did online she feels confident it will be a good fit for her.
Growing up in Newman, she likes the small town vibe she gets from the virtual tours and online testimonies from students. “The architecture is beautiful and the students seem creative, brilliant and close. It reminds me of Newman in that way,” she said. “The city of Chicago is busy but people seem determined in what they are doing. There’s a positive energy, a good vibe, and I felt safe when I was there.”
On December 1, Match Day, Jocelyn was notified by Questbridge to check her status on her account. She nervously went to her computer to access her portal and shortly after, she received the news she’d been hoping to hear for years. “You matched!” And specifically, she matched with her number one choice! University of Chicago offered her early action admission with a full-ride including tuition and room and board. She had done it. All the work, the diligence, the commitments, the determination, the confidence, led her to this moment. She did it and is now on her way to pursuing her dream.
“I’m excited. I’m a little nervous, this will be a different setting than I grew up with but, moreso I am excited to begin this new chapter in my life. It’s like the world is starting to open up for me,” Jocelyn happily shared.
The OHS class of 2023 will graduate May 31. Over the summer, the future Phoenix will complete her admission paperwork and take placement tests before attending Freshman orientation in September. Her parents, Gabriel and Nicolasa Zacarias, will be helping their youngest child move in to her college dorm in traditional style.