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by AMANDA WINTERS
Sara Hankins just made one of the most difficult decisions she’s faced in her 18 years of life.
Harvard or Yale?
The Sequim High School senior was accepted to five universities: Harvard, Yale, Wellesley College, Scripps College and the University of Washington. From April 13-18 she traveled solo to Yale and Harvard and fell in love — with both.
“It was really tough, because I loved Yale more than I thought I would,” she said.
Though as a young girl she ambitiously declared she would go to Harvard someday, acceptance wasn’t something she actually expected. To get accepted also to Yale was an even bigger surprise.
Tipping th e scale in Harvard’s favor were two things: a full-ride scholarship with a work-study opportunity and the proximity to Boston.
Taking it to the next level
While many high school students do what they must to get by and get out, Hankins took the opposite approach.
Aside from being involved in the Associated Student Body since eighth grade, Hankins played volleyball for three years, tennis and track for one, served as student representative to the school board, managed the boys basketball team her junior and senior years, tutored at Sequim Middle School on Thursdays, participated in the Honor Society and Random Acts of Kindness Club and on top of all that worked weekends at Tarcisio’s Italian Place.
“If I didn’t do all these activities, I don’t know what I’d do,” she said.
Being involved in student government and everything else stemmed from her desire to establish her own identity apart from being Kari Hankins’ younger sister, she said.
“When I was younger I looked a lot like my sister and I had all the teachers she had and everyone knew me as Kari’s sister,” she said. “Even though I looked up to her and wanted to be like her, I struggled to be my own person.”
People know her now and her above-and-beyond participation in high school, specifically ASB, made her stand out in her college applications. Her entrance essay for Harvard was on the personal growth she experienced through her participation in ASB.
“They liked my leadership,” she said.
Hankins said in her free time she likes to hang out with her friends, listen to music and read — though she admits she usually just reads textbooks.
‘Just amazed’While weighing her college options among five excellent schools, money was a big concern, she said.
“My goal has always been to get a higher education without becoming a financial burden to my parents,” Hankins said.
Hankins said her parents Mark and Nor Hankins were very supportive of her activities in high school and overjoyed about her acceptance to Harvard.
When she heard she also got a full-ride scholarship to the prestigious university, she was “just amazed at it.”
If she’d chosen the University of Washington, she would’ve had to take out $8,000 in loans for just the
first year, she said.
Yale also offered her a full-ride scholarship, but it wasn’t as good a deal as Harvard. New Haven also factored in. She didn’t feel as safe there as she did in Cambridge, and she liked the idea of living so close to Boston.
Hankins said she wants to major in biology, possibly as pre-med or bio-engineering. She discovered her passion for science through her teachers at Sequim High School, she said.
She officially accepted Harvard and will leave Sequim in August as the second graduate to attend the university. Allyson Keith Miller, class of 1993, was the first.
“I think the last days of high school will be sad,” Hankins said.
She’ll miss waking up to a mountain view in the morning and being surrounded by greenery. Everything in Cambridge seems to be tinted red, she said.
It will be different living on the East Coast so far from family and friends, but she is excited to leave in a matter of months. There’s just one downside ...
I’ll only have two months without homework,” she said, laughing.