NHIer Sofia Hernandez makes her voice heard in the Wall Street Journal
National Hispanic Institute alumni Sofia Hernandez and her Wheaton College classmates had an unusual challenge: Get published in one of the biggest and best newspapers in the U.S. during the semester and you’ll get an A.
Hernandez — who chose Wheaton in part through it being an NHI College Register member and being represented at Celebracion college fairs — was able to rise to that challenge, sharing her thoughts on “What College Rankings Don’t Tell You” for the venerable Wall Street Journal.
Hernandez shared her thoughts on her Chicago-area liberal arts college, noting that while rankings can help students “focus on what can be measured—classroom sizes, demographics, endowment sizes, research publications,” they also “leave out some very important information, the sorts of thing that can determine whether a student stays or transfers.”
“The lists can’t tell you whether professors will value your well-being more than your grades,” she continued, “or acknowledge that students have many responsibilities outside of school.”
The essay gave just a glimpse into how the San Antonio NHIer graduated from Legacy Christian Academy to Wheaton, but as with many who go through NHI’s programs, involvement in NHI becomes part of the story.
“Honestly, my NHI experience really shaped me into who I am,” Hernandez said. “It’s the reason that I’m a comm major, that I want to study communications in school and that I want to have a job in the communication arena.”
Hernandez started with the 2016 Texas Ambassador Great Debate, moving on to the 2017 Texas LDZ and the 2018 Northeast CWS. That latter experience, at Cabrini University, helped focus her on the college application process, capping a three-year journey that started with a middle school friend recruiting her to become a Great Debater.
“I feel like if it wasn’t for those programs, helping me build those different communication skills, that I wouldn’t be confident in making it into really prestigious schools,” she said of NHI’s connection to her college admissions journey. “So especially during CWS, I did have a lot of knowledge on the college process, because I did have some great connections with guidance counselors, but I still felt like being able to do this with everybody else at CWS made it a little more possible.”
Hernandez has now built additional confidence in herself going through the journey of being published in the Wall Street Journal. It wasn’t her first attempt at featuring in Future View — a regularly occurring feature in the paper’s Opinion section.
“I think I really want to do this,” she said upon seeing the prompt that led to her publication. “And I felt like that prompt, the week that I got chosen, was something that I felt knowledgeable in, because I feel pretty confident talking about the whole college process.”
She revealed, “I prepared extra. I submitted and really took the time to brainstorm for this. Even though it’s a little 250-word submission, I really tried to give some time to this … I felt like this could be a good start, trying to see where this could lead me and if I’m capable of being published in other places as well.”
Acknowledging the combination of her good luck and hard work, she added, “it’s definitely challenging me to want to be published in other places” — which very well could, in the future, include NHIMagazine.com.