Classical Collegiates—Luke Trujillo

LukeFor most seniors, applying to college can be the most stressful time within their high school career. Being accepted into a college is a great achievement, especially if you’re offered the chance to visit the school of your dreams.

In the case of senior Luke Trujillo, one or two colleges was far from enough. In his senior year alone, he “applied to 10 colleges, got accepted to 4 [and] waitlisted on 2.”

Trujillo applied to Duke University, a private research university in North Carolina with a 10.4% acceptance rate. However, he wasn’t just accepted. In an attempt to persuade him into attending, “Duke bought me a plane ticket, and I got to stay there for 3 days,” Trujillo said. Despite an all-expenses paid trip to the East Coast, he chose to attend Harvey Mudd, a private liberal arts college in Claremont, California with a 13.6% acceptance rate.

But why?

According to Trujillo, “Duke doesn’t have that many research opportunities, whereas, at Harvey Mudd, it’s a requirement for everybody to do research. I’m looking for a lot of research opportunities. I’m really interested in pure math.”

Being the youngest of five, there was a lack of emphasis on education in Trujillo’s childhood. With his father only receiving a 6th grade education, Trujillo “never [had] much of an example,” in academics. However, because of his 7th grade teacher who motivated him to boost his grades, he jumped from an average of C’s or D’s to a straight A student.

In addition to bringing  his grades up, Trujillo also discovered a new passion: math. “I want to become a mathematician because I feel like that has the most freedom in a science field,” Trujillo said. “I used to want to be a chemist, but when chemists go into a lab they have a very strict procedure to follow.” The summer after his sophomore year, Trujillo checked out several math textbooks and taught himself three years worth of math. In 10th grade he had taken Algebra 1. When he returned to school as a junior, he was enrolled in Calculus.

Math doesn’t come easy to most. In fact, it can be a struggle to pass. In Trujillo’s words, “For some people, doing math for 2 hours straight is just a nightmare. For me, I could go on doing math for 7 hours straight and that doesn’t bother me at all.”