Taylor - Cal Poly Pomona - Class of 2009
Hometown: Los Gatos CA
High School: Public
Major: Hospitality Management
Goal: Restaurant ownership and management
*Writing score not included
Freshman Year Update
Everyone told me that college is very different from high school. I did not believe anyone. I felt that the only thing that was going to be different was the work load. I was very wrong! There is more freedom, but you have to be good at managing your time. Choosing classes is hard, and so is getting into them. For example, I thought I would have more hands-on classes, but cooking classes won't start until my junior year. On the social side, I have made a lot of friends in my dorm and in my sorority.
Sophomore Year Update
My sophomore year was exciting and adventurous, full of new experiences and challenges. Freshman year was difficult for me in the sense that I was getting used to the whole "college atmosphere", and going to class and studying came second to socializing. This year it has been easier for me to manage my time and balance school, work, and social activities. Right now my major classes are in restaurant and hotel management. I plan to start culinary (cooking) classes in the fall.
Junior Year Update
My junior year was honestly the most challenging, as I juggled work for the Disney College Program with my school work. I started to take the majority of my classes in my major. I collaborated with other students so that in the spring quarter we could run a successful restaurant! Throughout the year, I learned so much about how others like to be managed and how they liked to be motivated.
Senior Year Update
The whole focus of my senior year is on graduating! This year has been exciting and a little bittersweet! I have taken very interesting classes and learned a lot more about the hospitality industry as a whole. After graduation I am planning to work for Bubba Gump Shrimp Company as a front-of-house intern. I want to learn as much as possible about the company so I can obtain a management opportunity with them. My advice to new college students is to remember to have fun and make the most of your time, because when you are facing graduation you will be wishing you could go back to the beginning and do it all over again!
I love to cook, and my dream is to own and manage a restaurant. I might have been happy going straight to a culinary school, but my parents, my counselor and my high school environment all pointed me to college. So I wanted to get a college education and at the same time develop my culinary and business skills.
Combining college and cooking
I started out in the summer before my senior year looking online for schools that offered hospitality, culinary, and business management programs. Purdue and Cal Poly Pomona were the most highly ranked, so they were at the top of my list. I applied to other top colleges, like the University of Houston and Las Vegas. The rest of my applications went to a few state colleges that looked interesting, but these were not at the top of my list. The more prestigious the school in my field, the more I wanted to attend, because the opportunities were better.
Visiting pays off
When I visited, I found that every campus was completely different. The smaller schools made me feel more welcome and helped me feel more at home. They were not as overwhelming. Although many students find large campuses exciting, I felt like just a number.
I paid attention to how well organized the campus was. Cal Poly Pomona had an open house event that was well run. The people were really nice and couldn't wait to show me everything. I felt completely at home there.
I wanted a top culinary and hospitality program, and I got that in Pomona. Except for Purdue, the other colleges just weren't as competitive in those areas. Purdue was too spread out for me, and I liked the Pomona environment much better.
My ups and downs
Even with tutoring and a test prep class, my SAT scores did not change. This was very frustrating. I am just not a good test taker. My grades are much better in comparison with the scores.
When I visited Cal Poly Pomona after I applied, I talked with an admissions person who looked at my application online. That person told me I probably would not get in. Even my dad and my counselor thought I would not get in.
My Pomona acceptance was the last to arrive, so you can image how difficult it was to wait for it. I was so happy when I got in!
What I learned
One of my friends applied to 26 schools because she had no idea where she wanted to go or what she wanted to study. She actually visited every single campus! She did not have a life for her entire senior year. I think it is very difficult to choose among so many schools. You should do the work to narrow down your choices before applying.
Colleges are very different from each other. What matters is to choose a school that feels good and which allows you to get a good education.
Applying for scholarships and filling out the FAFSA can pay off. Many students don't this. There is a lot of money out there to help for college.
The money factor
My parents and grandmother are paying most of the cost. I do have $4,500 in scholarship money. Next year I will take out a loan and do work-study.
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