Will Todd, Year 12 student from Trinity Grammar School in Sydney’s Inner West, recently completed the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma, and before exam results are even released he has managed to secure himself a four year scholarship to Columbia University, an Ivy League University in New York City, USA.
The good news comes on the back of three years of preparation. “I’ve been working towards this since I was in Year 10 – it’s been a dream come true to be accepted into an Ivy League University, and Columbia was my top pick,” said an ecstatic Will.
Will’s application was supported by his football career, leadership skills and academic results. He has been playing and training at the highest level of football in NSW for the past eight years, having played with clubs Marconi, Sydney Olympic FC and most recently with the Sydney FC Youth Team for the past two years. Will was also Captain of Football, House Captain and School Vice Captain at Trinity. His academic achievements have also been stellar, consistently ranking amongst the top 10 students in his Year. Will achieved an impressive SAT score (standardised USA college admission test) that placed him in the 99th percentile of students. “I’ve always maintained a strong balance between my football training and playing, school work and leadership commitments,” said Will.
Under his own initiative, Will prepared an application package that included his academic and co-curricular achievements, video footage of his games, and references from both teachers and coaches. He emailed the coaches of several universities and received a few offers, however Columbia won out. Will explains his choice: “New York City has always been my favourite city in the world and it has been my dream to live there for as long as I can remember. I am really looking forward to living in the city that never sleeps and experiencing the magic of such an incredible place, with its cultural diversity and fast-paced lifestyle.”
Following his email application to Columbia, he had several discussions over Skype with Columbia coaches before being invited to spend a few days in New York at the University’s expense. While at Columbia earlier this year, Will was invited to play with teams over there, so that coaches could assess his ability and get to know him. At the end of the trip Will was offered a spot on the Men’s Soccer team in the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Soccer League, with the aim of helping the coaches and squad to win their first national championship. He then completed the formal application process before the decision was made official under the Early Decision Agreement.
The team trains five times per week and plays a combination of weekend and mid-week games around the country during the college season from September to December, and unofficial friendly games against local club teams during the Spring from February to April.
Will said he owes his success to Trinity Grammar School for “its extremely strong academic environment, support from outstanding teachers and the football program that I was fortunate enough to be part of.”
Asked how he felt when he was told the good news Will, said: “It was incredible. I felt so excited and unbelievably happy. It had been a lifelong dream of mine to move to the US and study at an Ivy League University while continuing to pursue my dream of playing professional football, and when I heard that it was becoming a reality, it was definitely one of the happiest moments of my life so far.”
Will intends to make the most of the opportunity that he has been afforded and will live on campus. “The US system is different to the Australian system, in that you don’t have to choose a particular course to study at the beginning of study. Instead, you start off studying the University’s core curriculum in the first year and narrow down into more specific areas as you progress and eventually choose an area of study to major in. I’m not too sure at the moment, but I’m thinking about majoring in either Psychology, Linguistics or Political Science,” commented Will.
While he is looking forward to the challenge ahead, Will says he will miss his family and friends most as well as being able to visit Coogee beach for a swim. With the move to New York taking place in August 2018, he has plenty of time to spend with his loved ones before he leaves. In the meantime Will plans to work part time, keep training and playing, and visit the beach as much as possible.
Despite having his tertiary studies sorted, Will is still very eager to receive his IB results which are release on 4 January 2018. “I found the IB to be a very enjoyable and challenging course. The workload was tough, but I think I had good time management skills in organising all my homework and study. It offered a unique chance to study subjects with great depth and breadth, and I’d definitely encourage others to do the IB,” said Will.
The IB is an alternative to the HSC and in growing in popularity. Over 50 percent of Trinity’s 2017 Year 11/12 cohort undertake the IB instead of the HSC. The IB is intended to provide an education that develops the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills needed to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalising world.
“When a Trinity student scores an Ivy League scholarship such as this, it’s a testament to the remarkable things that our boys can achieve. We’re very proud of Will and all that he has accomplished. He is an exceptional young man and gifted soccer player and we’re really pleased that his determination and initiative have paid off … we will follow his career with eager anticipation,” concluded Trinity’s Head Master, Milton Cujes.