Feeling alone as you swim through the terrifying waters known as the college admission process? Have no fear! We have five seniors blogging about ups, downs, and random in-betweens of their college process for the next 12 months (from June 2013 to June 2014!). Sit back, relax, and get that “OMG I totally get you, bro” feeling.
Ah, the late night Netflix runs and waking up at 3PM everyday. Such happiness is what we’ve called summer for the past two glorious months. Summer has treated us all so well, whether it’s allowing us to take long vacations across the country or simply staying indoors all day watching reruns of NCIS. Having spent over two months in this little heaven has made many of us stuck in the delusion that we’re never going back to school. Before summer began, I made a list of things to focus on during the summer so that I could at least remain somewhat productive. The list was pretty general and included things such as finalizing my college list, finding scholarships and volunteering at the hospital. Sadly, I’m ashamed to admit that none of this has happened. Seeing as school is in less than a month, I desperately needed to snap out of this facade.
A few days ago, I got a call from Baylor University, a private university located in Waco, Texas. I’ll be the first to admit, I was super stoked to get this call not because it’s my top choice or anything, but because this was the first time a college/university has ever called me. Even though I had very little interest in Baylor, I probably cried and/or squealed when I picked up the phone.
I spoke with Brittany, a current student there at Baylor, and she asked me about my future plans for college, what colleges I had in mind, what I was looking for in a college, and if I was interested in applying. Although it is a fabulous university, I didn’t think Baylor was the right choice for me. But then she began talking to me about the unity that the students shared with one another, the extracurricular activities, and the whole admission process.
As it turns out, admissions is quite simple at Baylor because they don’t require an application fee or an essay (short answers are required though, but it’s definitely doable in an hour!). Not only that, but Baylor is incredibly generous with their financial aid and scholarships. I told her my rank and SAT scores and surprise surprise, I was eligible for a $15,000/yr scholarship! For 8 semesters, it would be close to $60,ooo and that definitely caught my interest. After she finished fangirling over Baylor, she invited me to visit the school during their Premiere Night (open house) and proceeded to tell me that if I were to go to Baylor, I was in for the ride of my life.
By the end of that conversation, I was sold. My heart literally SWOOOOOOOONED from the sheer door of opportunities that this one call provided me. With that simple call, I snapped out of the summer reverie and tumbled headfirst into the abyss of reality. That call made me realize just how quickly my whole college application process was happening.
Last night, I spent a good hour creating a spreadsheet (easy instructions here), where I can compare schools in terms of required SAT scores, tuition, financial aid, research opportunities, majors and programs, housing. Though I’ve only begun comparing schools, this little task has already helped me define my reaches, dreams, match, and safety schools! Not to mention, it’s incredible and stunning to see just how unique each individual college really is. Each has something new and completely extraordinary to offer.
Not only that, but talking to Brittany also opened my eyes to searching for colleges that may not have appealed to me before, simply because I didn’t bother looking too much into it. In my wee early writing days (aka my first post), I put Stanford and Tufts down as schools that appealed to me because of the name and prestige. After doing a bit of research, I’ve realized that although they are terrific dream schools, they aren’t what I’m looking for. Instead, I’ve added St. Mary’s University, Barnard College, and even Smith College as schools to definitely look into. Though I’ve heard their names before here and there, I’ve never really looked into what each school has to offer. Creating that spreadsheet has definitely helped me reconsider schools I could have never imagined even applying to!
Just in a week, my motivation and encouragement to finally begin my college admission process has reached a new high. Just a bit of research has showed me that there’s a world of schools outside the Ivy League and top tier club, and we shouldn’t get too caught up in going after a school’s name. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t get psyched for applying to top ranking universities. Get stoked, get crazy, get fired up but don’t get overcome with emotions and only go for some college that “sounds nice”. Before school starts, we’ve all got to investigate what we really want for college. This process is about being realistic with what you want and what you can get. If there’s something about a college that’s holding you back, try to see if there’s a way around it. For me, I’ve come to terms with having to retake the SAT and 2 SAT Subject Tests again come fall (/sigh). I’m obviously not thrilled about it at all, but I know that if I push myself to my own goals, I can get where I want.
Summer’s been splendid y’all, but senior year starts in less than 30 days. Homies, I’ve got 3 words for you: Bring. It. On.
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