skipped seventh grade and then threw herself into high school.

Band. Chorus. Plays. She joined Oak Hill High School’s legislative assembly. She started a school newspaper.

She also squeaked in odd jobs to help pay for her dream school, Brandeis University.

Summer camp work. Baby sitting. Horse sitting.

In June, Fraser graduated in the top five of her class and earned enough in scholarships and financial aid that Brandeis is almost paid for.

How’d she do it all? Well, we just had to ask.

Lives: Litchfield, with parents Paul and Sheri Fraser and older brother, Kenyon (who also attends Brandeis University)

Age: 17

Why Brandeis? When I started looking at colleges, many of them met my initial search criteria: lots of green space on campus, close to a big city, academic rigor, plenty of student activities, etc. But Brandeis University, in addition to meeting these standards, places a special focus on social justice, which is something I value very highly.

You clearly hustled during high school. How did you juggle it all? I wish I could say it was all about focus and proper time management, but what it really boiled down to was passion. I truly cared about everything I was participating in, so I didn’t mind going straight from classes to a newspaper meeting, to my after-school job and to rehearsal right in a row . . . because those places were exactly where I wanted to be.

Anything you wish you’d fit in? My biggest regret is not having been more involved with athletics. I had to quit the soccer team after my freshman year because of several injuries, and while I ended up playing a lot of pick-up pond hockey, I missed the camaraderie that comes with having a team, a coach and a jersey.

The highlight of being a newspaper editor: The highlight for me was definitely the interaction with my fellow writers. We laughed and shared cookies at meetings, we helped each other tackle tough topics and make meaningful revisions, and together we created something that the rest of our community could enjoy. The process was always more rewarding than the product.

The low-light? The part that made me uncomfortable, especially the first few months, was setting and enforcing deadlines. After all, why should the staff take orders from a kid who can’t go to R-rated movies by herself? It felt very strange telling other writers — including one of my teachers — what we needed and when we needed it by. Luckily, I had a group of supportive and responsive writers who turned this (perceived) burden into a guilt-free opportunity!

Thing you’re waffling on bringing to college: I’m torn about whether or not to bring a Keurig machine for my dorm. On the one hand, there’s an opportunity to get enough rest without having caffeine disrupt my sleeping patterns, but on the other hand: instant coffee.

Thing you’re most definitely bringing to college: One thing I refuse to travel without is my guitar. Not only do I enjoy making music, but it’s also the type of instrument that brings people together. It’s easy to teach, fun to learn and well suited for singalongs.

Advice for incoming high school freshmen: Read and write! And don’t forget that reading and writing means more than just research papers and the classic literature that you’re going to study these next four years. Read books, but don’t forget to read food labels and road maps and refrigerator magnets. Write papers, but don’t forget to write personal notes and grocery lists and love letters. Words have incredible power. Other than that, participate in everything you can, and wear sunscreen!

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.