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2010 January

Megan D.

My Experiences at MAPS

By: Megan D.

I have always strived to be the very best student that I could be. From my earliest years in school, I put everything into getting the very most hat I could get out of my education. In high school, this translated into taking the most challenging courses available to me with the highest grades that I could achieve.


Like any other conscientious  student, I spent the summer prior to my high school year exploring the world of college admissions and the application process. Quite frankly I was overwhelmed As an upperclassman, I searched for the best resources to get into the most renowned and prestigious college that I could. However, I soon found myself in a web of confusion. I had no idea how I was going to tell colleges who I was and why I thought I would do well at their institution. During the fall of my senior year, I spent countless weekends at college fairs searching for test preparatory services and application assistance agencies that would give me the guidance I so badly needed.


I first met Sarai Koo at a college fair in the Anaheim Convention Center. She was there representing the MAPS 4 College program. She told me about her ACTS preparation classes and I gave her my email address.


A few days later, Sarai sent me an email regarding a free ACT test offered to all students through MAPS. I was really interested in taking the test and a little surprised that the test was being offered to students entirely free of charge. However, what struck me the most was the kindness and generosity that Sarai showed when I went to take the test. I expected to be pounded with the usual “you need this program in order to get into any good college” to be delivered as I had experienced in all my past experiences visiting institutions that offered test prep and application assistance. The only thing that I received was kindness, generosity, and courtesy. A few days after I took the test, I told my parents about how refreshing it was to meet such an encouraging and generous person. We met with Sarai to see if she offered help with the application process and were truly impressed with how Sarai presented herself and the program. Every other institution we had visited has bombarded us with boasting of past ivy leagues that clients had gotten into. They had told us that we must take every standardized test preparation that they offered so that I could get into the most prestigious and renowned institutions. Sarai told my mother and I that it was not about getting into the most competitive colleges, but finding the colleges that fit me and in which I would prosper.


I knew that MAPS was the place that I needed in order to ease my fears and apprehensions and to get a healthy perspective on college admissions. I signed up for the program and met with Sarai twice a week for the next several months. I entered the program with a list of college to which I was sure that I wanted to apply. However, before I could even write my name on an application, Sarai had me truly analyze what I wanted out of my college experience and where I would personally thrive. I didn’t just look into the “big name” colleges, but ones that offered incredible programs and environments.


Sarai considered success to be getting me into a college in which I would be happy and would thrive in a college that would excite and challenge me. She truly cared about my well-being and future happiness. I found that my time at MAPS truly made me grow and mature as a person. I would not have changed it for the world.