Determination Drives Ohio State Newark Student to West Point
Autumn officially began on Sept. 22, but classes are well underway for students across the nation. By now, most college freshman have found their routine and settled into their new life. For one Utica High School graduate and former College Credit Plus student at The Ohio State University at Newark, that meant learning how to line up in formation, salute and stand at attention. Rachel Orr is on her way to becoming an army officer at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.
But first, Orr had to complete the six-week cadet basic training over the summer. This three-sport athlete is no stranger to physical challenges. Just before heading off to West Point, Orr led her high school softball team to a second consecutive Licking County League division title and was named The Advocate Softball Player of the Year. It’s part of the reason why she chose to continue her education in the military.
“I’m definitely excited for the sense of having a team around you,” she said days prior to leaving her small hometown. “It’s always something I’ve had in high school and even before that.”
Being accepted into the nation’s oldest service academy takes more than athleticism and strength. Cadets must also impress with their grade point average, class rank, standardized test scores and demonstrated leadership. Part of Orr’s academic resume includes college courses at Ohio State Newark.
“It’s always been important for me to push myself academically. There are classes here on campus that are not offered at my high school, so I wanted to expand my academic rigor,” she explained. Over her junior and senior years, Orr completed four courses at Ohio State Newark. “It sets you apart from of your peers and puts you ahead of the game once you get to college. If you want to be a standout applicant, taking College Credit Plus courses is very important.”
Combining high school courses, college courses, practices and games creates a busy schedule for any teenager. Over her two years in CCP, Orr had to perfect her time management skills. Prioritizing academics over extracurricular activities was a priority instilled by her parents. Balancing her many activities was a challenge, she said. “I overcame it with determination.”
Orr will need that determination as she completes the rigorous coursework and physical trials at West Point. She is majoring in chemical engineering and, after West Point, will seek to enter a branch of the Army that meets with her long-term goals of graduating medical school for a career in anesthesiology. Upon graduation she must complete five years of active duty and three years in the Inactive Ready Reserve in the United States Army.
Read Orr’s interview with Senior Admissions Counselor C.R. Barclay below to learn more about her experience in CCP at Ohio State Newark.
Q&A WITH RACHEL ORR
C.R.: Rachel if you could tell us a little bit about yourself that would be wonderful.
Rachel: My name is Rachel Orr and I graduated from Utica high school in June. I participated in sports
there, and I did student government. Now I’m on my way to West Point in a couple days.
C.R.: Outstanding! So how did our College Credit Plus Program here at Ohio State Newark help you
prepare for West Point?
Rachel: It definitely helped me balance my course load and my outside activities, which I’ll have to do at
West Point as well. So my homework, courses, preparing for exams as well as practices and games for
my sports teams at Utica was definitely a challenge. But taking College Credit Plus Courses really helped
me prepare for all of that, that I am going to be experiencing at this campus.
C.R.: What was the most challenging part of the College Credit Plus program for you?
Rachel: Being able to balance my coursework here at Ohio State and at Utica was definitely a challenge,
but it was something that I learned to overcome. So being involved in outside activities and balancing
this is something that I've got a lot better at than when I first started here as a junior.
C.R.: What advice would you give to the students who are considering College Credit Plus right now?
Rachel: Taking College Credit Plus courses really sets you apart from your peers. And once you start
applying to colleges, and they see that you already have taken college courses, that really stands out to
admissions people. So it's very important if you want to be a standout applicant. Taking College Credit
Plus courses is very important
C.R.: How different was the work load that you did in College Credit Plus compared to your high
school course load?
Rachel: There was definitely a lot more papers I would say. I have written 30-plus papers here at Ohio
State and not as many at my high school. But with that I have learned how to write well-organized
papers. I have gotten a lot better through my junior and senior year, so it’s definitely helped me. When I
go to write application essays or just an essay for school I know how to now.
C.R.: Finally, what was it like to take classes on the college campus? Can you tell students who are
thinking about it what they could expect and what they could feel when they came here?
Rachel: When I first arrived on campus I was a little nervous because I was so young and there where
real college kids around me. So it was different. but it was something that I adapted to very easily. I met
friends in my classes, and I was able to hang out with them in the library and eat lunch with them. It takes
a minute to get warmed up to it, but it doesn’t take long. People here are really easy to reach out to and
make friends with.
C.R.: On behalf of the campus we wish you the best of luck and thank you for giving us your time.
Rachel: Thank you.
The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that is inclusive of diversity, challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State’s more than 200
majors. It’s where learning comes to life. Research, study abroad and service learning opportunities prepare students for their careers in ways they never expected.