Jordan Larson ‘16 tells us about being accepted to University of Michigan’s graduate program in the School for the Environment and Sustainability (SEAS).

Congrats! Tell us about being accepted at SEAS.

Since graduating from Quest, I’ve been working for EcoWorks, a non-profit in Detroit. As a coordinator in EcoWorks’ youth program, I facilitate groups of students called Green Teams in schools across the Detroit Public Schools district.

I’m especially interested in the topic of energy justice/democracy, and SEAS houses a research initiative focused on those issues, called The Urban Energy Justice Lab.

Also, the SEAS program is known for having an incredibly tight-knit, supportive and engaged community of students, which I value highly after my experience at Quest. I can’t wait to start in the fall, and who knows, maybe I’ll decide to pursue a PhD in the program as well!

We heard you also received a merit scholarship and were told you stood out as a passionate applicant!

In my acceptance letter, they said I stood out as one of the most talented and passionate applicants in the most competitive applicant pool they have ever seen. It felt really great to know that my hard work, passion, and unique academic background came through in my application and that I am the type of applicant the program is looking for. And regarding merit-based funding, I have been awarded a fellowship scholarship that will cover the majority of my tuition for my first year in the program, so I’m pretty happy about that, too!

That’s awesome! Do you think Quest helped prepare you for your application to SEAS?

Quest helped me in more ways than I can count.

I am a much better writer now, thanks to the priority Quest puts on written assignments, and I’m sure that helped me craft a more compelling application. Additionally, having research and formal presentation experience stemming from my Keystone project, being published in Quest’s peer-reviewed academic journal Momenta, and having two stellar letters of recommendation from Quest faculty members also helped make my application very strong.

But on a much deeper level, I feel confident saying that I likely wouldn’t have applied to SEAS at all, much less worked in Detroit Public Schools doing environmental justice work, if I had not attended Quest.

My entire experience at Quest instilled and reinforced in me that pursuing an education is truly about searching for meaning, fostering fascination, and asking the hard questions that need to be asked in your life and in the world at large. It’s not about getting a certain job or setting yourself up for some blanket and impersonal definition of “success.”

I will acknowledge that I’ve made very little money through the work I’ve been doing the past two years, but I now feel more like a human being, more alive, and more excited and motivated to live an intentional and impactful life than I would be if I hadn’t attended Quest.

What would you say to anyone thinking about applying to Quest?
Take a leap of faith and apply! There isn’t any other university like Quest, and while it isn’t perfect, after nearly three years of reflecting on my experience there, I still believe there isn’t a better or more engaged learning environment.

It’s hard to put into words what it’s like living in a community of people that are so passionate about what they are doing and studying. Not only will you make the best friends of your life, you will also get to work remarkably closely and develop meaningful relationships with your tutors, which is so incredibly valuable!

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