Student Essay Offers Strategy for College Success

Jessica Ross


Jessica Ross has assumed the mantle of role model for students across the country since she was asked to share her academic success story in the Association of American Colleges and Universities publication What Will I learn in College? What You Need to Know Now to Get Ready for College Success.

Learning from extracurricular activity

In one of a handful of essays by college students included in the publication, Ross tells of the lessons learned from extracurricular activities in high school, where she was captain of the varsity cheerleading team and an all-star competitive cheerleading team, among other activities.

“In high school, I was never fully satisfied with my academic achievements, so in college I decided to make a change,” she wrote. “I examined what I had done right in my high school extracurriculars and then I applied those lessons to my college academics. It was a good move. …”

Her high school involvement helped her to “learn the importance of being active and helped me with communication and networking,” said Ross, but she says she should have spent more time on academics.

At Suffolk University she is achieving in both realms. Ross made the dean’s list as a first-semester freshman.

Now a sophomore, she is majoring in American Government and Politics, with a minor in urban education.

Helping others

She is vice president of the Black Student Union and a residence assistant. She also has helped high school students with the college application process through the Connections to College program.

“Connections to College is great because you get to be a mentor, and you get to be a friend,” said Ross.

Her inclusion in What Will I Learn in College?, by Robert Shoenberg,  has garnered a fair bit of attention back home in Columbia, Maryland, where her mother has proudly spread the word and alma mater Long Reach High School has asked that she speak at Alumni Day.

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Greg Gatlin

Mariellen Norris