Skip to main content

Quick Links

Information for...

GNS Student Finds Her Fit at Cornell University

GNSGNS photo
Congratulations to Hopper Kendregan ’22 who was accepted to Cornell University! Hopper will join the College of Human Ecology where she will study Global and Public Health Science. 

“I’m very excited,” she said. “Of course, I’m a little scared to go into this community with so many smart, talented and hardworking people, but that’s also why I’m so excited. It will be such a great environment.”

Hopper knew when the acceptances were going out, so that day at school was nerve-wracking for her. 

“It came out at 4 p.m., so not long after school ended,” she explained. “It was a very stressful day. The week before, they released what time the letters were going to go out, so it was a countdown.”

Originally, Hopper wasn’t planning on applying to an American university, but she has dual citizenship and found it helped with her process. The reason she wanted to attend Cornell, though, was because of the programs and college she would be joining, as well as its location in Ithaca, New York. 

“I was born in New York, and my aunt still lives there,” she said. “I was looking in the US at a lot of East coast schools because I’d be close to some family members. Also, the city is small but reminds me of Victoria with lots of hiking around there. It’s going to be a big change from GNS though, but it’s such a huge school and so many people from all over the world.” 

Applying to Cornell, Hopper said, was not an easy journey but it was all worth it in the end. 

“It felt like a part-time job for sure,” she said. “One piece was taking the SAT, which was an optional test this year because of COVID-19, but I wanted to take it and if I got a good score I could submit it to help my application. I ended up studying for it all summer. My summer felt like all Extended Essay and SAT prep, but I ended up getting a good score and I think that was one of the stronger parts of my application.” 

Hopper’s application included her SAT numbers, IB predicted grades and transcripts, activities, and personal essays. For Cornell, she only had to submit two essays; the common essay, which can be written on any topic, and an essay on why she wanted to attend the College of Human Ecology. 

“Overall, I think that the big thing that got me in was the fit,” she said. “It’s the reason I applied to that specific school was for that program. I loved what the college stood for and I loved the program and faculty. It’s what I want to learn about.” 

Hopper also noted that a lot of her activities helped her fit into the program she was applying to, including her work at a veterinarian office, volunteering at a hospital, and her harm reduction work. One thing Hopper added was that her education within the IB programme also contributed to her success in getting accepted to the program of her choice.  

“With the IB assessments and our Extended Essay, we can dig into the things we want to learn about,” she said. “It’s very individual, you can do any topic you want and your teachers will guide you. But, you pick your topic and research it, so I did a lot of things with public health for my IAs and Extended Essay.” 

Hopper’s essay topic was “Why are Indigenous peoples disproportionately vulnerable to substance use disorders in Canada?” Her Economics IA was a commentary on healthcare insurance under the Trump administration, her History IA was on the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and how the Reagan administration played into it, and her Biology IA was about mortality rates from non-communicable diseases and the human development index. 

“I wrote about all of these things in my essay for Cornell about what I want to study, this is why I want to do it here and this is what I’ve done already,” she said. “I think that was the biggest thing for my acceptance.” 

Hopper said many teachers helped her get into the program she wanted. 

“Ms. Colibaba, Ms. Elbert helped me tremendously throughout this process. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent during my first term at their desks,” she said. “I always had questions for Ms. Colibaba, I was meeting with her once a week. And then Ms. Elbert, I felt so lost on my essays until I met with her. They were both incredible! I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.”  

As for advice for those who are thinking about applying outside of Canada, Hopper says to do your research and find the school you want to go to. 

“It’s about fit. So many of the admissions officers will say that, but it’s so true,” she said. “I think they can tell when a student will be a good fit. And if it’s not going to be a good fit, and you don’t see it at the time, you probably don’t want to be accepted there. The other thing too—don’t be afraid to apply for it.”