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Is high school tough? Our Caltech interviewee says toughness is what got him through.

We had the opportunity of interviewing Mojo Joshua Sonola, an alum of California Institute of Technology, about: High School Courses


Mojo is a graduate of Caltech with a degree in degree in chemical engineering and a minor in computer science. In high school, he attended the Wheeler High School magnet program while dual enrolled at the Georgia Academy of Mathematics Engineering and Science. Throughout his life, Mojo has been involved in different extracurricular activities, revolving around music, sports, and leadership organizations. Mojo is currently an associate at Goldman Sachs.




Key points Mojo made:

  1. I was able to manage my course load and succeed academically by being organized and having a well-defined structure to my life.

  2. I always studied early and often for my exams. I often wrote down and asked myself questions that I thought could be the exam based on the material. I never found success in cramming for exams the night before, as it was easy to forget certain details.

Q: Acceptance into the magnet program at Wheeler High School is competitive (currently, only 36% of applicants are enrolled). What do you think made you stand it and get admitted?

A: My grades and academic background were very important in being admitted to Wheeler High School's magnet program. Since elementary school, I’ve always taken advanced classes and never accepted mediocrity, striving for the highest possible grade in all my classes. Because of this, I took a rigorous set of classes in middle school and performed very well in them. Outside of academics, I participated in an array of extracurriculars that showed that my interests extended beyond the classroom. I played on different sports teams, was in all-state and honor band for percussion, and was a Boy Scout.




Q: How did you manage the rigorous course load and do well academically? (e.g organization, motivation, etc.)

A: I was able to manage my course load and succeed academically by being organized and having a well-defined structure to my life. At an early age, all I knew how to do was put my head down and work hard. My mom kept me on a very regimented routine and often rewarded me for doing well with the chance to watch TV or spend time with my friends. This kept me away from a lot of potential distractions, and in hindsight, contributed heavily to my success.




Q: What were some of the most challenging courses you took and how did you handle them?

A: The most challenging course I took in high school was biology during my freshman year, mostly because I was not interested in this subject at all. This was the first instance I had to realize I’m not going to like everything I have to do, but that I still needed to find the motivation to do them. For this class, it was a matter of just sitting down and doing all of the reading and studying that was assigned, no matter how uninterested I was.




Q: What is a testing strategy you used for your exams?

A: I always studied early and often for my exams. I often wrote down and asked myself questions that I thought could be the exam based on the material. I never found success in cramming for exams the night before, as it was easy to forget certain details. Instead, I started studying early and on the night before an exam, did one last read-through of all of it’s material. Outside of this, I used some common test-taking strategies such as process of elimination, using other questions on the exam to help answer the current question, answering easier questions first, and pacing myself so I could attempt every question.



Want to learn more about Mojo? Check out his LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joshua-sonola


Thanks for reading Mojo's Interview. Still have individual questions you want personalized advice to? Sign up for our AlumniAdvisors program at: https://www.alumnianswers.org/app-landing-page.


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