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Feeling alone as you swim through the terrifying waters known as the college admission process? Have no fear! We have several seniors blogging about ups, downs, and random in-betweens of their college process for the next 12 months (from June 2015 to June 2016!). Sit back, relax, and get that “OMG I totally get you, bro” feeling. Information for how to contact a blogger will be at the bottom of his/her posts.

Amazing how much can change in just thirty days. Since you’ve last read my tale, I finished junior year (taking on an extra class this last trimester and still managing a 4.0). I also failed. A lot. I wasn’t chosen as my school’s NHS president for the upcoming year, nor was I chosen to be on board like I was this year. I didn’t become a finalist for Nordstrom’s national scholarship, either.

But even with those huge disappointments, I’ve found a lot of joy in the small things. I’m a co-manager of the literary magazine at school, and the last afternoon before we sent it to print, I had a lot of last-minute changes to make, so I stayed after school until close to 5 to finish it. There’s nothing quite like sitting in the darkened pubs room alone, listening to music and writing. That easily was one of the best few hours of the entire school year. “Celebrate the joy,” one of my doctors told me, and that I’m trying to do.

I also was lucky enough to attend Girls’ State. It’s part government simulation, part government class, and 500% amazing. I can’t even begin to find the words to explain why a fake government meant so much to 300 of us, but oh my goodness was it amazing. As an added perk, I now know more about drains than I ever wanted to, as I wrote a bill to standardize sewage systems across the state. I actually ended up becoming Secretary of State, and being sworn in on the steps of the Michigan state capitol was an experience I’ll never forget. Again, I did have some disappointments: I didn’t win the scholarship competition and wasn’t selected for Girls’ Nation (I was one of six chosen to interview). But pulling 20-hour days and writing seven bills and eating outrageously good dorm food and making countless new friends… It was all worth it, and I’d give anything to go back. Moral of the story: if you’re chosen for your state’s Boys’ or Girls’ State, go!

Speaking of college, probably should talk about that, considering this is what this blog series is supposed to be about. A word of advice: Never ever schedule college tours right after you get done with finals, the next day, and then have to go back to the university again the next day for a camp. Poor choices on my part. It’s funny, living in Farmington Hills, I’m only an hour away from the Ohio and Canadian borders and the campuses of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. It’s given me a lot of wonderful opportunities, and during the school year, I’m on U of M and MSU’s campuses monthly for Quiz Bowl competitions and choir practices. Because of that, I’m extremely familiar with both Ann Arbor and East Lansing. When I toured, I didn’t learn much, but I did get to see the dorms and dining facilities.

I already knew I was going to apply to both schools. My parents met at U of M as students, and countless peers from school and camp go to both universities. Plus, both secondary education programs are in the top ten in the country, so I’d be an idiot to pass that up. I’m lucky enough to not really worry about finances, so my college search has primarily been based on “fit.” That being said, I’ve also been raised in an extremely frugal household, so the Ivies and a lot of the Atlantic Coast schools have never been an option because I have U of M practically in my backyard.

I’ve always know I want to live in Farmington Hills the rest of my life. Being a homebody, I never expanded my college search much past Michigan, let alone past the Midwest. I know that limits me a lot, but I’m okay with that. The best education programs are in the area, and I want a student teaching position in southeast Michigan, so it just makes sense.

My college list is short (again, because I know what I need): University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, and Catholic University of America. There are a few small private schools who are waiving my admissions fees and a few others who are encouraging me to apply for full tuition scholarships, so I might tack those on purely to see what kind of scholarship offers I might receive.

I’ve visited six schools, and one Chicago school that shall remain unnamed came off my list after its visit – not because the tour was bad, but because the school was so very wrong for me. It’s funny; the “wrongness” came out months after I got home, but my parents were right when they said the day of the visit I wouldn’t be applying there. I’m visiting DC when I get home from camp, and that includes an interview and tour at CUA.

I’m oddly calm about the application process. The first draft of my Common App essay has been done for a month, I’m beginning to work on supplements, and I’m not taking the ACT again. It’s nice to be just a kid for a bit. I could not be more excited for July. If I get to continue on the path that June has laid out, this summer will be my favorite ever. I’ll keep you posted.

Want to get in touch with Katie? Connect with her on Tumblr, Instagram, or Twitter, or fill out our Contact form, and she’ll write you back ASAP!

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