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Oakdale Charter Student Named National Finalist
merit scholar
Chase Sanford is a National Merit Scholarship Finalist.

Chase Sanford is both humble and wise.

The Oakdale Charter School senior is also fortunate, as he finds himself in the prestigious position of a National Merit Scholarship Finalist.

Sanford was first selected as a semi-finalist during the spring of his junior year, as a result of a PSAT (Preliminary SAT) score of 1490/1520. His overall SAT score of 1560/1600 secured his spot as a finalist earlier this school year. It’s an honor which has now opened the door pretty wide for the senior, as he tours college campuses and weighs the pros, cons and benefits that a number of colleges have to offer a student of such caliber.

Scoring so highly, this honor offers a bit more opportunity than what he and his parents may had originally expected when his high school career began. Yet Sanford does not have a secret tip on how to score high or what to study more than the other when preparing for the test.

“I feel like you can freak yourself out and do way more damage if you stress about it,” he stated about PSAT and SAT prep. “You’re way better off to not over think it.”

Sanford most recently toured colleges in Texas and Oklahoma.

Not to be one to put all his eggs in one basket, he shared he’s submitted applications to over 25 colleges throughout the US. He noted a lesson gained from an older friend who set his sights on one specific college only to find himself not invited to that particular campus.

“A lot of it was research on our part, for which colleges offer better rewards,” Sanford said of the family travels to the Midwest. “It’s a great opportunity.”

The research he speaks of is in relation to varying colleges and the cash incentives offered to National Merit Finalists in regards to tuition. The senior shared some campuses offer larger benefits than others, which is worth considering when deciding which college to attend.

The senior sated he’s been admitted to some of the Midwest campuses visited, three of which have very good National Merit offers.

“Just as a reach we applied to some of the top schools, as well,” he said.

While he’s heard back from of those as well, a decision has yet to be reached as letters are just beginning to trickle in.

“I’ve never been someone who’s had their entire future mapped out,” Sanford said.

He does, however, plan to get his undergraduate degree in Economics and then proceed to law school.

He shared his favorite subjects are math and history. Math comes more naturally to the student and he enjoys history for the depth of learning.

“I’ve always had a sort of soft spot for history,” he said. “I think it’s really fascinating. It grounds you a little bit more in the world.”

As he looks ahead, Sanford shared his excitement for the next chapter. He described himself as someone who enjoys travel and adventure.

“I really do feel fortunate to end up in Oakdale Charter,” Sanford said of the transition from his previous high school to the small local charter school. “They really care about every student.”

“It has been my pleasure getting to know Chase and his family,” Oakdale Charter teacher in charge, Tim Parola said. “I have been thoroughly impressed by his relentless effort to his studies. He is an exceptional young man and has limitless potential.”