Like many people his age, an outgoing high school senior from western Ohio is moving onto a new step in his life in the form of college. Unlike many of those around however, he will not be attending a local or state school, but is instead enrolling in an Ivy League institution.
Dominic Becker, a senior at Anna High School in Shelby County and the departing Anna FFA chapter president, will be attending Yale in the fall.
“It was a little daunting at first, just the thought of being around some of the smartest kids in the world,” Becker said. He plans to study economics and political science while at the prestigious university.
“Where my interest in going to an Ivy League school started was, at the start of my sophomore year, I was invited to a conference held in Columbus that was hosted by a handful of Ivy League schools,” he said. “After leaving there, I knew about all of the opportunities to students of schools of that caliber and that was where I wanted to go.”
Taking a step back, Becker says his journey to Yale had a major turning point when he began to schedule classes for his freshman year of high school.
Getting into the New Haven, Connecticut school is no easy task with the admission process involving applications and interviews. According to Yale’s website, “An applicant’s academic strength is our first consideration. We review grades, standardized test scores, and evaluations by a counselor and two teachers to determine academic strength. The admissions committee then factors in student qualities such as motivation, curiosity, energy, leadership activity, and distinctive talents.”
Becker feels he had a distinct advantage over his peers due to his heavy involvement in the National FFA Organization. But things weren’t always that way. In fact, when Becker was entering his freshman year at Anna High School, he had little intention of joining ag classes and it was only through the advice of a family member that his schedule ended up including FFA.
“When we were scheduling for freshman classes my 8th grade year, I didn’t necessarily intend to take an agricultural class or join the FFA,” said Becker
Dominic heeded the advice of his aunt who encouraged him to join the school’s ag programs after telling him of successful alumni and the scholarships they offered.
“I thought well, if they give good scholarship money, and if she knows of some doctors that were in FFA, I don’t have to be a future farmer to be in FFA, so I’ll give it a try,” Becker said. “More or less on a whim I decided to sign up for an ag class and join FFA.”
Becker said he began to like what he was seeing the first couple of months in FFA, but things really changed towards the organization’s favor when he signed up for the chapter’s trip to the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis.
“I remember being in the Indianapolis Pacers stadium waiting for the first general session to start and looking around and there being over 50,000 FFA members and over 50,000 blue jackets,” Becker said. “I have a lot of respect for people who are passionate about what they do. That many people that were passionate about the FFA – I knew that the FFA was for me and from that point on I was pretty much all in for whatever the FFA could throw at me.”
On the Career Development Event side of things, Becker became involved in Public Speaking and Parliamentary Procedure three out of the four years he has been in the organization. Becker said several contests, including Job interview, helped him prepare for admission to Yale.
He was elected treasurer of the chapter his junior year and president his senior year. From a leadership standpoint, Becker says leading by example is just one of the many things he learned. Becker says the FFA has helped in more ways than just Yale, giving him the qualities needed to be elected to a prestigious position in the summer legislative camp Buckeye Boys State.
Becker did not grow up on a farm, but was involved in agriculture through his grandparents. Baling hay, growing crops, and feeding steers were normal for him. His rural Ohio town activities got him started on his road to the Ivy League.
“Growing up, I’ve always had an interest in making money. The lemonade stands and selling corn on the cob as a kid — we all just have an intuitive sense inside of us to make money. I was always looking to advance that and take that to the next level,” Becker said. “When I was probably about 14 or 15 years old, I started looking into the stock market and started doing my own research. When I turned 16, I started investing my own money into the stock markets.”
Becker, who received confirmation of his acceptance to Yale University in December, says that experience led to his “ultimate goal” of someday working on Wall Street. Becker was one of 735 students admitted Early Action and once the regular admission acceptances come in, Yale is aiming for a total of 1,360 students for the class of 2018. The institution expected close to 30,000 applications this year.
The western Ohio student got his first taste of his future this past summer when he attended a summer program at the university called the Yale Young Global Scholars.
“I was a little nervous at first coming from a public high school in Anna, Ohio compared to the kids out there that go to prep schools and boarding schools like Exeter and Andover and they’re prepared to be at an Ivy League university their entire lives,” Becker said. “It was nice to see after the first few days of the program that I was able to keep up academically with the rest of them.”
When asked about what advice he has for others, Becker quickly gave points for aspiring youngsters to look to.
“I think first and foremost, you need to figure out what you’re passionate about and go from there. It really helps when you’re totally into something and you can attack it from that point of view,” he said. “There’s really no one that can stop you from doing what you want to do if you’re willing to put in the work and get there.”