Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.
City Girl, Davidson Girl
A first-generation American whose parents moved from Jamaica, Avril Coley grew up in Brooklyn and attended Stuyvesant High, a rigorous school with enrollment four times the size of Davidson's. "I'm a city girl, but when I came here, the sense of community was really strong. You hear that at a lot of schools-but here, you really see it. It's just a warmer environment."
Interested in pre-med "since forever," Coley wanted to avoid undergraduate loans so she'd be better able to afford med school. "Money was a big factor in my college choice--but I didn't want to sacrifice academic quality." A counselor nominated her for Davidson's Belk Scholarship, which covers comprehensive costs, and provides two summer stipends. "I was thrilled when I got it. Ecstatic. Because I knew it would allow me to come to Davidson."
Supportive and Challenging Faculty
With interests in biology and chemistry, Coley appreciates the way that Davidson's faculty have supported and challenged her. "I was doing really well in Bio 111, but Prof. Campbell told me he felt I could do better. To have a professor who cared about my reaching my potential--that was very comforting."
More to Life than the GPA
Coley makes a point of finding time for friends and fun. "There's a group of four of us who see each other every day. We have meals together, we go to Charlotte and Wal-Mart together. It's good to have a core group." A member of the ATC, she also sings in the Concert Choir. "I do it just because I love it. I feel great after I leave that room."
Making Mom Proud
Coley's parents were professionals who initially took minimum-wage jobs when they moved to the U.S. "My mom went back to school for a nursing degree when my sister and I were little. Watching her work while she was going to school and raising two kids--I don't know how she did it. The tests I have here may be rough-but I look at what she did and I know it could be rougher. My dream moment is to hand my mother my acceptance letter to Harvard Medical School-because I know how hard she and my dad worked to provide for me and my sister."