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 2014 to June 2015!). 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.
When July 1st rolled around, I knew a few things for certain:
1. Universal Application opens. (I fully intend to use Common App for everything, but this marked the beginning of the 2014-2015 college application cycle. Terrifying.)
2. AP scores come out in a few days.
3. I’m done with SAT I/ACTs. Hallelujah.
4. College applications more like INSECURITIES. INSECURITIES EVERYWHERE.
5. I still have not finalized my college list, and I have no idea where to apply Early Action. (or actually, I’m torn between two schools, just like I have mentioned in my first post.)
…Dang it. I procrastinate, just like any other high school kid, but college isn’t something to just play with. This is serious, and I better buckle down and figure out my options before August 1st rolls around and Common Apps opens for real. (Cue intensified sobbing.)
The good thing is that I have, at the very least, figured out which colleges I will be applying in the fall. It’ll probably have a few more additions and possibly a few deletions, but hopefully it’ll stay more or less the same.
Here we go (In no particular order):
- UC Berkeley
- Johns Hopkins
The reason for such an array of colleges with quite different styles is based on my combined interest of both engineering and pure science (biology/chemistry). There is a 50% chance that I’ll be applying for med school eventually, so I am mainly looking at schools with either a good BME/CHE program or a good biochem program. I really need to get a grip and decide between the two soon. Nevertheless, these are all great colleges that will provide me with the opportunities needed.
Mostly, the make-or-break factor for these college options really resides on their academic rigor and research opportunities/resources available for their undergraduates. I want to continue researching when I am enrolled in one of these schools, and one of my personal goal is to get published on a paper for a project that I am able to work for in my undergrad years. All of these colleges listed above will provide me with such opportunities.
The tuition cost is another huge factor in the process of creating my college list. I have two younger siblings, so I must find a college that will provide me a good financial package. My in-state schools will be fantastic and basically free for me since I already have various scholarships from state contests and such under my belt. The top Ivy Leagues, Stanford, and MIT are all known for their generous fin-aid. I know that I can easily pay off the remaining tuition by working in a lab during summer. UChicago and Johns Hopkins, well, I guess I still have to figure those two out.
Location really isn’t on top of my list of factors to consider, but there are some cities that I would prefer comparing to the others. For example, I know that I would thrive in Boston, one of my favorite cities ever, but I probably wouldn’t be as happy in New York City, which is too big for my taste. (I grew up in Hong Kong, a city of 7 million people. It wasn’t the best experience trying to squeeze through the crowd everyday.)
Of course, then comes the general student body and the campus atmosphere. I try to dig in a little bit more and gather some information online, but I think it’s really hard to gauge unless you are actually on the campus, living and breathing the same air as all these other students do. I managed to only visit four of the schools mentioned above, and sort of another when I was visiting the city it was located in. Really, I’m just hoping that there would be some sort of full expense paid fly-in programs that I can participate. I really don’t have the money to do that otherwise.
Right now, I’m just having a pretty productive summer and living life to the fullest. I still feel like I’m under quite some stress, but a more positive kind of stress compared to that during the school year.
I’m working full-time in a chemical engineering research lab every day from 9 to 6, taking a U.S. History online course to fulfill the graduation requirement for my school, and trying to manage my time better so I would have time to exercise and hang out with my friends during the weekend. I went to Girls State last week, had a blast, and am generally pretty happy with how productive my summer is turning out to be.
I’m still pretty anxious about it all, but definitely don’t feel as burnt out as I was last month. Everything is looking up, and I’m hopeful for where I would be in a month, three months, a year, and beyond.
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