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Local student accepted to Yale


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4 13 mallory lester

By Brian Besch
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Two weeks ago, Livingston High School student Mallory Lester learned that she had been accepted into one of the country’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning. She plans to attend Yale University in the fall. A dream for many who excel in academics, the school founded in 1701 consistently ranks amongst the country’s elite.

“When I started in the fall, I only applied to one school,” Mallory said of beginning the college search process. “I got accepted into that school, but I had my eye on this really specific program at that school. It was a scholar honors program, but I got rejected from that in November. I was really scared, because it was my only plan.

“It was pretty late in the process to start looking at more colleges, but that’s when I found Yale. I applied to one more college that I would kind of like to go to, but Yale was definitely always the top choice. I visited all three of my schools and I really liked all of them, so I definitely had a really nice plan B. But it worked out for plan A, so that was really good.”

Mallory was accepted into Baylor in early October. She also applied to Belmont in Nashville, and was accepted there as well.

“My parents and my sister and my grandparents and aunts and uncles all went to Baylor, so I kind of already knew the community established there,” she said. “Especially in the early fall, I didn’t really know what I wanted to major in. I had my eye set on this specific program, because it was interdisciplinary and it let you bring in all these different classes and didn’t make you declare a major. Through the fall and through applying to Baylor and praying and thinking it through, I decided to major in education psychology, which is the study of the education system and how it works with child behavior.

“After I didn’t get into Baylor (the scholar honors program), Belmont has an education studies major and that is why I applied there. I was actually just Google searching for what is the best education studies program in the nation, and Yale came up. I was like, ‘Sure, I’ll apply. I might as well just go for it.’ And here we are.”

Two weeks ago, Mallory received a message informing her of the good news. That Thursday was “Ivy Day,” which typically occurs in late March or early April. It is the day that all Ivy League schools release a list of those who have been accepted. This year, the Ivy League schools received a record number of applications.

“It was at 6 p.m. and since Yale was the only Ivy I applied to, I wasn’t checking all these different things,” Mallory said. “I was just open on my application portal and it popped up that I had a status update. I clicked on it and it was just this video of bulldogs – because that is their mascot – and they were dancing and there was music. I was just really confused, and I thought, ‘I guess I got in, I don’t know. Why are these Bulldogs having a party?’ Then, I clicked through, and it was the whole letter and congratulations, and then it all made sense.”

The accomplishment is well deserved. Mallory has not made a grade lower than an A throughout her high school career. When trying to think back if she had ever been graded lower, she said there may have been something in junior high, but couldn’t recall. She is currently rated at the top of the Livingston senior class, but also participates in extracurricular activities. She is an all-state performer in choir, a cheerleader, and recently won first place for the second time in UIL academic writing competition. She is the student body president, hosts the Lions’ Live News broadcast, is part of the worship team at First Student Ministries and participates in American Sign Language.

Yale University has a 5% acceptance rate, and the application process is a lengthy one. Applicants write eight different essays and take part in interviews prior to being considered. Mallory said she labored over the assignments with editing help from a few family members through much of the Christmas break. Upon receiving her acceptance letter, the university also sent the statistics, claiming that 52,248 applied and only 2,275 were admitted.

The school located in New Haven, Connecticut, does not force students to declare a major until the end of their sophomore year. Mallory plans to take advantage of that by taking courses from different fields of study to determine her path.

“Right now, the plan is to go in studying humanities and psychology, kind of with a certificate in education psychology to study child development and human behavior, but also, the ethical and policy aspect of the education system, so I can use those as a duality for whatever I decide to do when I figure out my career. I’m definitely going to explore a lot my first two years, but that is kind of the main track.”

You may have heard the weather in Texas isn’t quite the same in the northeast, and there will be preparation for cooler days.

“Over spring break, we flew out to Nashville and then flew over to Connecticut to look at Yale and take a tour there. It was probably in the 40s, so it was cold, but it wasn’t like snowy miserable. I know it gets that way. I am definitely not prepared as of right now and I’m not really a cold kind of person. I’ve heard from lots of students at Yale that it’s not bad and you get used to the change pretty fast. I’m also not a 110-degrees type of person.”

The future Ivy Leaguer was quick to give credit to those who helped her along the way. Citing assistance from family and teachers, Mallory is thankful for the success she is now enjoying.

“I’ve really just been reflecting on how my teachers really did prepare me for this. Starting from a long time ago, my sixth grade GT teacher taught me how to do an interview and to look people in the eyes. My seventh-grade writing teacher taught me how to use imagery. I just have all of these people through junior high and high school that gave me all of these skills. It definitely was not a ‘me’ accomplishment by any means. I had so many people read over my essays and write me recommendation letters and help me practice interview questions. It was definitely a God thing and everybody that helped me get here to make me who I am.”

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dawn Diglio · 10 months ago
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Karen Ritter · 9 months ago
    Mallory, I knew your Dad at FBC, Marlin, in the 90s, when he was a student at Baylor.  You are an amazing young lady.  Congratulations and much continued success in the future.   Ask your Dad if he remembers Momma Ritter.