Q&A with $2500 Scholarship Winner Jake Golden

Congratulations are in order for College Raptor’s most recent $2,500 scholarship winner Jake Golden! His essay made me curious about Jake’s college journey. Luckily, he was kind enough to answer a few more questions. Here’s what he had to say!

CR: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Jake: My name is Jake, and I’m currently a senior in the engineering academy at my high school. I was accepted into Duke University ED, and at Duke, I plan to major in biomedical engineering. Outside of school, I run varsity track and enjoy hiking, skiing, playing the piano, and hanging out with friends.

CR: Tell us about your college search journey.

Jake: I chose the schools I wanted to apply to based on a variety of factors, but the most important were a good engineering program, opportunities for professional development such as internships and research, and a strong sense of community (events, sports, etc.). I started actually visiting colleges in person my sophomore year, and I remember loving Duke’s campus at first sight. Duke ended up being my top choice because of its academics and the electric college basketball culture. Some of the other schools I was considering were UMich, the University of San Diego, and UNC.

CR: What College Raptor tool(s) did you use?

Jake: The College Match tool was really helpful for me in comparing the costs of different schools in an easy, organized fashion. It made important information about each school easily accessible, such as the typical amounts awarded through merit- and need-based scholarships, which can vary wildly from college to college.

I also found the scholarship search tool very helpful, as it allows for a high degree of customizability and searches for private, institutional, and government scholarships. Without the scholarship search tool, it would have taken me much more time to find legit, quality scholarships to apply for.

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CR: What did you think when you heard you won a scholarship?

Jake: I was very excited, especially because the tuition at Duke is so expensive, meaning every dollar counts.

CR: What have been any challenges you have faced in the process?

Jake: One of the most significant challenges I faced was trying to get all my essays done in time to apply early to as many schools as I could (six in total). I started my essays at the beginning of the summer before my senior year–which I’d recommend to anyone applying to college–and was able to get my common app essay and all my supplementals done before my first early action deadline, but it was a lot of work.

CR: What are you most looking forward to in college?

Jake: I’m most looking forward to the new people I’ll meet and the new experiences I’ll be able to have. I view college as the first real step toward independence and adulthood, and I’m excited to start that journey.

CR: What’s a piece of advice you would give to an upcoming HS graduate?

My strongest recommendation for high schoolers is to start building your resume as early as possible. As everyone knows, colleges look at so much more than just your grades and test scores (though those are very important as well), so it’s important to have activities that demonstrate your passions, whether it be sports, internships, work experiences, or community service.

Also, I’d recommend making the most of your summers. I think one thing that made me stand out as a college applicant was my hands-on experiences with engineering, including a biomedical research internship I did the summer of my junior year of high school.

CR: That’s great advice Jake! We want to congratulate you again and thank you for your advice and insight. Best of luck at Duke.


If you are like Jake and looking to help offset the cost of college with scholarships, head over to our FREE scholarship search tool. And while you’re at it, apply for College Raptor’s quarterly scholarship. You could be our next winner.


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