Bright future: ACCS’ Patel means business when it comes to his future

Published 12:21 am Wednesday, July 20, 2016

NATCHEZ — Adams County Christian School 2016 valedictorian Sneh Patel said going from a small Mississippi community to the fourth largest metro area in the U.S. will be quite an adjustment, but it is one he is ready to make.

The 18-year-old said it helps that he’s going to Dallas, so he’ll still be in the South, and his college — Southern Methodist University — is a relatively small school. The college has a class of approximately 12,000, and Patel said he worried he’d have gotten lost at first at a school with 40,000 or more students enrolled.

“Dallas is in the South, so I don’t think it’ll be too different culturally. I just went for orientation,” Patel said. “I really liked the campus and it’s a cool city,

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“I think I will have a lot of opportunities to grow in every facet of my life.”

Patel said his experiences at ACCS gave him access to the resources he needed to attend a high-ranking, out-of-state academic university.

“I think being at AC really worked out to be the best for me,” he said. “I love AC. I’ve been here for 16 years, and I’m going to miss it.”

At ACCS, Patel was the basketball team captain for a team that went to the state semifinals this year. Patel, also went to the state finals in tennis singles. He was also the Student Government Association president.

“I think doing all of that, being a team captain and a SGA president, and also performing well in these aspects, is what enabled me to get into SMU,” he said. “I didn’t have the resources a student coming from a big Texas school district might have had, but I participated in everything I could and took the most rigorous courses.”

Since Patel knew he wanted to major in the business-related field of finance, Patel said SMU started to shoot up his list of school choices. He said it was also voted the second-most beautiful campus in the country, which was a draw.

“In a lot of schools, biology or something medical-related is the big program,” Patel said. “One thing about SMU is that 25 percent of undergraduates are business majors.

“Because of the size of the business school, it has a large business alumni network. Networking is key in climbing up the ladder in the business world.”

The school is noted for placing graduates into jobs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, which he said was attractive as well.

“I want to work there for four to five years and gain experience and then apply to grad school and get an MBA,” he said. “The best business schools usually require experience before they will accept you.”

Patel said the diversity of the school was also a selling point.

“There will be a larger Asian population than one I’ve ever interacted with,” he said. “I think it will really help me broaden my horizons.”

One advantage Patel said he has thanks to ACCS is having completed course work complete on the college level thanks to the school’s agreement with Copiah-Lincoln Community College. Patel said he will enter his freshman year with 9 credit hours.

“That’ll be important if I decide to rush (a fraternity). I can take less hours and still be ahead,” he said. “I should finish my first year with 36 hours or more.”

Patel is the son of Eric and Alka Patel.

“They pushed me to do well, but they were also 100 percent behind any decision I made,” he said. “That gave me the opportunity to pick where I wanted to go to school.”

When Patel isn’t studying, he said he likes to play basketball with his friends, stay fit, and he’s trying to get back into reading more often than he does.

“Growing up, I always read a lot, but I started making excuses to not read,” he said. “I think it helps you everywhere in life, from speaking, to writing and comprehending material quicker.”