Genesis (USA)

Bryn Mawr College



The Pianist

Genesis attends a public high school in New York City made famous by the TV movie From Homeless to Harvard. Her school does not have a college counseling office, so The Short List has been providing pro-bono services to her school for all of our 15 years. Each year, we help students research schools; take them on college tours; and provide help with test prep, applications, and filing for financial aid. Most of the students are children of low-income, immigrant single parents and will be the first in their family to attend college. Their families never ask where their child will go to college, but rather how they will ever be able to afford college. Genesis’ situation was no exception. Genesis will graduate at the top of her class. She is one of the most determined students we have come across, a personality trait that apparently was born in her. Genesis grew up loving church music. She begged her mother to buy a piano but was always told there was no money in the family budget. Imagine Genesis’ surprise when she opened her Christmas gift one year and discovered a keyboard. She learned how to play by watching YouTube artists until she finally felt confident enough to approach her church’s music director, who saw her potential and invited her to practice with the church band. Genesis worked hard to learn the music by ear. The church wanted to support her efforts and one day showed up at her home with a piano. Genesis now plays twice a week for her 1,400-member congregation.

The Short List took Genesis to visit 10 suburban schools.
Genesis also took a local college psychology course during her junior year of high school, and she began to understand how music could be used in therapy. She wanted to find a school that would give her the chance to continue studying psychology but also to learn how to read and study music. Ultimately, she wanted to find a way to combine the two interests. Having grown up in New York, Genesis also wanted to experience life outside the big city but stay close enough that she could easily travel home to visit family. 

The Short List took Genesis to visit 10 suburban schools. We saw her incredible potential and pushed her to reach for the stars. She had fallen in love with Bryn Mawr College, one of the sister schools to the Ivy League. She loved the empowering all-women environment, the emphasis on the social sciences and arts, and partnership with other nearby elite colleges. She gambled and applied Early Decision. Six weeks later, Genesis sent a simple text: “OMG, I got in!” Bryn Mawr too saw her great potential by offering her a scholarship. It is not difficult to understand the burden the scholarship lifted and the opportunity that Genesis now has in front of her.

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