The college application process can be a stressful experience for students and families. Gunnar Swanson didn’t want that to be the case for his own journey. As he prepared to enter his senior year at Redmond High School in the fall of 2021, Gunnar knew it was time to take his future into his own hands.
That’s when Gunnar and his mother, Sunrise, discovered Find Your Fit, a Lake Washington Schools Foundation program offering guidance and support to students through free and interactive workshops. Find Your Fit workshops are facilitated by Mary Pat O’Neil, independent college counselor and owner of True Fit College Counseling.
Mary Pat shares, “I think it is important for students to take control of the college application process and know what they need in a college, in order to have a better chance of success. Students need to own the process – I am here to guide them.”
Gunnar added Find Your Fit’s College Bootcamp to his resources, taking webinars that covered the topics of creating a balanced college list, completing college applications, and writing a college essay.
Taking Mary Pat’s suggestions to narrow his choices to schools that were the best fit for him, Gunnar applied to just two colleges: Western Washington University and Gonzaga University.
Good news followed soon after. In October of 2021 and February of 2022 respectively, he received acceptance and scholarship offers from both schools.
“Find Your Fit helped me understand what colleges were looking for and how to formulate my essay in a way that highlighted my strengths and told my unique personal story,” explains Gunnar. “The best part of the program was the opportunity to share my draft essay with Mary Pat and get her immediate, constructive feedback.”
Gunnar graduated from Redmond High School in June 2022. He ultimately selected Western Washington University and is excited to begin classes this September. He plans to study Secondary Education, History and Theatre Arts.
Gunnar’s mother, Sunrise Swanson Williams, remarks, “Gunnar’s participation in the Find Your Fit program allowed me to step back and let him take charge of his college decision and application process, knowing he had the resources he needed. It was pretty inspiring to see the growth in his skills and confidence in just a few short weeks. It was the first time I could see him really envisioning himself as a college student.”
Find Your Fit offers webinars and other interactive events to the LWSD community throughout the year. Past workshops include College 101, Understanding What College Costs, Completing College Applications, Writing College Essay, Standardized Testing, and more. Students and parents can register for upcoming workshops at on the program’s webpage.
Sunrise is thankful for LWSF’s Find Your Fit program and feels hopeful about her son’s future. She adds, “We couldn’t be more grateful. Mary Pat is a treasure.”
*Please note that ideal path to success will be different for every student. Find Your Fit is just one resource for students seeking support for their college applications, and the results of one individual are not necessarily guaranteed for others.