Vista senior excited to have found perfect college for her

By: Matt Long
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If Katie Sipiora has learned one lesson over choosing a college, it’s the old adage about how the closing of one door leads to the opening of another. When the 17-year-old senior at Vista del Lago found out she wasn’t accepted to Stanford University, she was crushed. Fortunately, the very next day a new window of opportunity opened with another school nearly 3,000 miles from home, Swarthmore College outside of Philadelphia. Sipiora, an accomplished soccer goalie as well as student at Vista del Lago, didn’t take the time to see what was on the other side of the Swarthmore window at first, but persistent e-mails from the school’s soccer coach, Todd Anckaitis, eventually convinced her to take a look at the school. After she followed the link to the college to the Internet and read all there was to read about the school, she was intrigued. A visit to the school in February sealed the deal. “I fell in love with it immediately,” Sipiora said. “It’s the most perfect place for me. It’s a diverse school with a lot of things that I’m into like clubs, community service, sports and academics. The funny thing I learned when I went to visit is that they’ve got the same school colors as Stanford and their logo is a big ‘S’ like Stanford.” Anckaitis said he was simply trying to get Sipiora to take a look at the school. “Oftentimes students will say they’re not interested because they’ve never heard of us or they feel their grades aren’t good enough or that we’re too expensive,” Anckaitis said. “As she dug deeper and found out what we had to offer, she realized that we had a lot of things she was looking for. Here she can be a varsity athlete, study what she wants to study in the classroom and be involved in the extra curricular activities that she’s interested in, like dance.” While Sipiora fell in love with the school, she still wasn’t sure if she could get accepted to it. Since it’s a Division III school, which doesn’t give away athletic scholarships, Sipiora would have to make it in with her grades. She’s got a 4.25 cumulative grade-point-average, which is exceptional, but she was still worried. “It’s a tough school to get into,” Sipiora said. “They turn kids away with higher GPA’s than me, but I found out in March that I was accepted on an academic scholarship.” Sipiora was thrilled with the news. Even though the school is on the other side of the country, she said that she felt at home there when she visited. Sipiora plans to study biomedical engineering at the school, as well as play on the soccer team. An accomplished dancer, Swarthmore also offers a solid dance program, as well as several other clubs and community service opportunities that interest her. As for soccer, while Anckaitis said the program has had good goalies in his five years as coach, they haven’t had much depth. He’s excited because Sipiora will provide the team with that depth. “We’re an injury away from having to put a field player in goal and for our level of a program, we prefer to have a trained goalkeeper in there,” Anckaitis said. “Katie will come in here and work together and train together with Marie (Mutryn) and that will elevate both the players and our program.” Swarthmore’s soccer team went 16-4-1 last season and won the East Coast Athletic Conference Championship for the third straight year. The 16 wins represented the most in school history.