Ms. Dickey’s College Advice to Seniors

Sophia Scott ‘21, Arts & Entertainment Section Editor

With college application deadlines quickly approaching, pressure mounting, and Marymount’s seniors anxiously awaiting their college decisions, it is an extremely stressful, scary, and exciting time for the class of 2019. For seniors who are intimidated and overwhelmed by the application process, for seniors who are nervous about being accepted into their top choice colleges, and for seniors who have already been accepted into college(s), but are apprehensive or indecisive, Ms. Dickey offered you some wisdom, encouragement, advice, and shared some of her own college experiences.

Courtesy of Loyola Marymount University

Ms. Dickey: “Slow Down And Stay In The Present”

Ms. Dickey grew up in the Los Feliz district of Hollywood. She attended Holy Family High School, an all-girls Catholic school in Glendale. During her college application process, she remembers, “I never spoke to a college counselor. I knew I wanted to go to college, but my parents didn’t have the means to send me. I only applied to two schools, UCLA and Loyola Marymount University because we couldn’t afford the application fees. I remember spending hours with my Dad filling out financial aid information. I hustled for every dollar I could make so I could pay for books. I am grateful for the scholarships and Pell Grants and Work Study and everything else I could scrape together to attend. I also had many different people throughout my career write me letters of recommendation for those scholarships and grants.”

Ms. Dickey was admitted into both UCLA and LMU; however, she decided to attend LMU after she visited the campus during her senior year of high school for a Woman’s Choral Festival. She recalls, “I loved the campus, and I liked the people I met from the school. I never looked back once I got to campus. I enjoyed my 6 years at LMU—I stayed to complete my Masters in English—and I never felt intimidated because I didn’t know any better.” She also received some wonderful advice from a friend of her family that she still believes today: “apply where you want to attend; if you don’t get in there, another school will accept you.”

For seniors who are not accepted into their top choice colleges, Ms. Dickey advises, “go to a school that wants you. If a top choice school defers you or doesn’t accept you, move on. Why would you want to go to a school that rejects you? We are so lucky in this country to have an amazing collegiate system that draws people from all over the world. Where you go to school is never as important as who you are when you get there and what you become once you are finished.”

Where you go to school is never as important as who you are when you get there and what you become once you are finished.”

— Ms. Dickey

With regards to her time at LMU, Ms. Dickey says, “I enjoyed school—I guess that’s why I am a teacher. I have great memories of friends and professors who I still see today.” Ms. Dickey’s standout college memory involves a performance she did during her senior year at LMU. She remembers, “The ASB invited me to play a concert on the Mall at LMU. I spent weeks preparing for it—picking a playlist, rehearsing with an accompaniment.” Ultimately, her biggest takeaway from college was “to challenge yourself, and study something you find interesting. I started as a Political Science major. I found it too easy. By the end of my Freshman year, I looked back to see which classes challenged me and fascinated me. Needless to say, it was English, and the rest is history.”

For seniors who have been accepted to several colleges that they like, but have difficulty deciding on a college to attend, Ms. Dickey suggests, “attend the college where you found your people. If you visit a school, and the people aren’t friendly—and I don’t mean the tour guides—or appear to be stuck up or standoffish, those people won’t change; ironically, you will become like them. I wanted a school that would feed my brain and my heart and my spirit, that’s why I chose LMU over UCLA.” For seniors who are anxious about receiving responses from colleges, Ms. Dickey reflects, “I have to admit that once I apply for anything—college, National Endowment Scholarships, Conference Presentations—I work hard on crafting the best application that I can. Once I send it, I forget about it. I can do absolutely nothing to make me stand out after I hit send, so why fret? I have been very fortunate in my career; I have traveled to Japan, studied with renowned scholars, developed my own study programs all because I am not afraid to put myself out there, and I take the time to complete the application.”

I have been at Marymount for 25 years, but in 1993, I was the freshman, the new kid. I wouldn’t trade my journey to where I am today for anything.”

— Ms. Dickey

To Marymount’s Class of 2019, Ms. Dickey says, “I know that so many of you are already turning outward – looking at the future. Slow down and stay in the present. So many good things will happen over the next few months; revel in your final year of high school where you are the top of the heap. Before you know it. You will be a lowly freshman, again. That’s life. I have been at Marymount for 25 years, but in 1993, I was the freshman, the new kid. I wouldn’t trade my journey to where I am today for anything.