Ivy League school Brown University is the eighth oldest university in the United States with an acceptance rate of only nine percent, which makes the acceptance of a Model High School senior to its 2019 freshman class very notable.
Alexander Hammond, or Xander to his friends and teachers, was also awarded a full four-year scholarship to the university through the QuestBridge National College Match program.
Hammond has been a Model student since elementary school, and credited the Floyd County College and Career Academy as what helped him with his success. Hammond plans to pursue a degree in engineering and currently has an internship with the Rocky Mountain Hydroelectric Plant in Armuchee. He said his second degree choice would be computer science.
This year Hammond said he has been involved in an academic decathlon, the secretary for the National Honor Society and a member of the Key Club on top of school work and his internship. He also played Model football since the seventh grade, but took the year off this year to focus on his internship.
Hammond did have some advice to lower classmen as well as rising seniors.
“I would say don’t try to pressure yourself to take harder classes just for the sake of taking them,” he said. “Don’t try to overextend yourself.”
Hammond said he took all AP classes this year and it was very stressful for him. He says it is important for students to know their limitations. He also added he hopes Model will offer more AP classes in person instead of online in the future, stating online classes have more of an impersonal feel which makes them more difficult.
Two faculty members Hammond said were the most inspirational during his time at Model were Jenny Wear, counselor for 11th and 12th graders, and Angela Brock, assistant principal of curriculum and instruction. Hammond said after he called friends and family to tell of his acceptance into Brown he called Wear, who later told him she began shouting in her office. Wear said she may have startled some of her coworkers but it was only one whoop of joy.
“As educators, we always enjoy seeing our students succeed,” Wear said. “In my role as counselor, I thrive on helping my seniors achieve their dreams — whether that be acceptance at a specific school, a phenomenal scholarship, the “perfect” job, or donning a uniform in order to serve their country.”
Hammond said Wear was the one who introduced him to the QuestBridge program which connects lower income, high-achieving students with full scholarships at prestigious schools. Hammond applied to 12 schools through QuestBridge with his top five being MIT, Yale, Stanford, Princeton and of course Brown. By using QuestBridge, students will forfeit their applications to other colleges once they have been accepted by one on their list. This means Hammond will never know if he would’ve been accepted by other schools on his list, however this did not seem to bother him. Brown has a strong STEM program, which is one of the reasons it made Hammond’s list and he is very enthusiastic about attending next fall.
According to their press release, QuestBridge received a record high number of 16,248 nationwide applicants this year and selected 6,507 finalists who were considered for the College Match Scholarship. Out of those finalists 1,044, including Hammond, received a full scholarship to a school on their list.
As a freshman, Hammond will live on campus and said his only experience with the Northeast so far has been a trip to New York. He is planning on taking his spring break trip this spring to visit Brown University for the first time and begin to get a feel for what life there will be like.
Hammond has been the only student accepted to an Ivy League school so far this year by using the QuestBridge program. He is planning to work on campus to cover what his scholarship doesn’t so he won’t have to take out any student loans.
According to QuestBridge’s release, this year’s College Match Scholarship Recipients had an average unweighted GPA of 3.93. On standardized testing, the middle 50 percent received 1360-1500 on the SAT and 29-33 on the ACT with 94 percent within the top 10 percent of their graduating class. Financially, their median household income is $32,491.