For most high school students applying to an ivy league university seems like a long shot, but not for Jose Cruz. His dreams of attending Harvard are now a reality.

Jose Cruz, a junior, applied to the Harvard University Secondary School Program through the Texas Graduate Center (TGC), based in Mercedes. This program is a test-drive of college and allows high school students to fully immerse themselves in the college experience while receiving college credit that will transfer to the college of the student’s choice in the future. Students in the program have over 200 college courses to choose from.

Cruz was informed about this seven-week program last summer when he and 45 other high school students from the Valley were flown to Boston for the TGC’s first-ever Student University Tour.  On this tour, students had the privilege of visiting Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Brown and Boston University.

Excited about the program Cruz immediately started researching and found that the application opened in December.

“I got everything I needed, all my transcripts and as soon as it opened, that weekend, I finished six essays and turned in all my information,” said Cruz. “When I found out I was accepted I started preparing. I’ve been taking calculus online because that’s one of the classes I want to take so that when I get there, I’m prepared to take the class.”

Melissa Cantu, an academic counselor at Juarez-Lincoln High School, has known Cruz to be a very persistent and goal-oriented student.

“He made it a point to come to me every day to see if I had submitted all his recommendation letters and all that was needed from me for the application,” said Cantu. “Ever since last year he would approach me and showed interest in being a part of this program. His ability to do this on his own is proof that he is very self-driven and I have no doubt that he will do very well at Harvard.”

Cruz also applied for a summer program at Stanford, but says that since he’s been accepted into the Harvard program, the probability of going to Stanford is slim. He hopes that taking part in this program will help build a strong resume, that will allow him to stand out when applying for colleges his senior year.