Summit seniors accepted to 260 colleges nationwide amid a year marked by record-low acceptance rates

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — In its first Virtual School graduating class, 95% of Summit Public Schools (Summit) seniors were accepted to college—a 2 percentage point increase over last year—amid a year marked by record-low acceptance rates. Class of 2021 seniors have been accepted to 260 unique colleges, including prestigious universities experiencing historically low acceptance rates: Harvard University, Columbia University, and Johns Hopkins University. Summit graduates were also accepted to all 23 California State Universities, all nine University of California schools and many other distinguished institutions of higher learning.

Summit is a network of 14 high-performing schools in Washington and California. Across all Summit high schools’ 759 graduating seniors, 99% of students applied to a four-year college or university, and 95% to date were accepted. All Summit students participated in Virtual School—when teaching, learning, and work is happening but school buildings are closed—this school year. Students stayed on track to graduate college-ready through daily, one-on-one interaction with their teachers, and regular check-ins with their mentors.

“I’m proud of myself and my peers for pursuing our goals and graduating after a challenging year. I never thought I’d go to college until I was inspired my sophomore year after enrolling in human rights in contemporary U.S. society, a class at Summit,” said Summit Everest graduating senior Itzel Ramos Valverde. “When senior year came around and it was difficult to balance school, college applications, and family, my mentor, Mr. Anderson, supported me and helped me stay motivated. After being with the same mentor and mentor group for four years, that sense of community and deep relationships were there when I needed it most.”

Ramos Valverde will attend Claremont McKenna College as a QuestBridge Scholar and Sequoia Award recipient. She was recognized for her efforts in leadership and academics, which include founding the Human Rights Club at Summit Everest, a public high school in Redwood City.

At Summit, students explore interests through real-world opportunities that often influence choices after graduation. For example, Anja Azizaj is a graduating senior at Summit Tahoma in San Jose who will attend Johns Hopkins University — where the acceptance rate has dropped by nearly 2 percentage points. Azizaj will major in pre-medicine with the goal of becoming an orthopedic surgeon. She was able to learn more about orthopedic surgeons through Expeditions, a fully immersive, experiential two-week program for Summit students. During this two-week intensive, students gain exposure to new career fields, explore their passions, and develop skills.

“During my senior year, I participated in independent study as part of Summit’s Expeditions program. I had the opportunity to interview orthopedic surgeons, and it changed my entire perspective,” said Azizaj. “I was always interested in medicine, but after having so many compelling conversations with surgeons, it inspired me to pursue this career path. I am driven to pursue a career as an orthopedic surgeon because I know it will be fulfilling to me. Not only will it offer the stability to provide my family a good life in the future, but it will also offer me the chance to give back to others.”

Azizaj’s family immigrated to California from Tirana, Albania during her youth. Her family chose Summit Tahoma for the one-on-one attention and small school community.

In addition to the five Bay Area high school graduations, Summit Atlas, a middle and high school in Seattle, is celebrating its first graduating class. Summit seniors were also accepted to every public university in Washington state.

Summit schools embrace the fact that every student is unique and learns differently. Through self-directed learning and the support of a one-to-one mentor, Summit students practice the skills that set them up for success in college and beyond. To learn more about enrolling at Summit Public Schools, please visit

About Summit Public Schools
Summit Public Schools is a leading public school system that equips all students to lead the life they want to live. It operates 14 public college-prep schools that serve diverse communities throughout California and Washington. Summit schools are consistently ranked among the best in the nation. All Summit students graduate prepared for college and its graduates complete college at double the national average. To learn more, please visit www.summit-public-schools.local.