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. Information for how to contact a blogger will be at the bottom of his/her posts.
Making a decision is strange. This strangeness is made even more so when the decision you’re making is one of diametrically opposed certainties. No, not like, “I’m certain if I get this 5 pound gummi bear, I’ll be happy, and if I don’t, I’m certain I’ll be very sad”, or “I’m certain if I put on deodorant, I won’t smell, and if I don’t, I’m certain no one will sit next to me after gym.” Rather, the certainty and uncertainty that come with applying to a school Early Decision.
Being the person that I am–one who is almost assured in similarity to you readers–I am indecisive at times. For a very long time, up until what I would have to say was about a week ago, I had no top school on my list of choices. The Thomas Wolfe Scholarship (which, for you aspiring creative writers, is a great, albeit incredibly difficult option) was one that posed such little chance at being attained, I basically put UNC-Chapel Hill out of mind. Even the other schools I applied EA to (these being Case Western and Fordham University) were not at the peak of my interests.
However, after getting in touch with a professor and his colleague, visiting the school itself, and discussing it with close friends and family, I decided to apply to the University of Pennsylvania ED. Now, as I’ve previously stated, I can be indecisive. This, however, was not a time where indecision clouded my judgment, nor a time where it enforced it, something I think can play a part it shouldn’t in people’s college decisions. I used to be a person who had a dislike for the Ivies, not because I knew enough about them to make a real, informed decision or knew people who attended, but because of what I was told by the masses. I was told to be wary of their pretentious, gunner-inducing aura and just apply to other schools around the country.
Although I’m sure there are people who indeed exemplify such attributes, after contacting professors and talking with students on my campus visit, I realized that they were not the norm at UPenn, and can only assume the same for the other Ivies. After understanding this, it became clear to me that with the immense academic opportunity, student network, student body, intense passion for the pursuit of knowledge and so much more, the risk of applying ED was far outweighed by the immense possible reward. I wrote my essay days previous and with only a few days left until the deadline, I applied.
But I haven’t simply given up all other endeavors nor stopped searching for or applying to other schools, something that I believe happens to many seniors applying ED. Although it’s great to have a number one school, to be sold on a place that you feel so right about, I see a detriment that can only be solved through expanding one’s mind. So many emotionally invest into one place, and if they’re not accepted, they become utterly crushed by their denial. It is lucky for me that UPenn is so out of my reach that I am forced to keep an eternally realistic mind about acceptance, but not all are so lucky.
For some, when they feel their school is just nearly out of reach, they are unable to stop themselves from becoming sold, from continually picturing themselves there. But after speaking with graduating seniors last year and current college students, I’ve found that they are still so happy about their final school of choice, and that worrying about ‘what could have been’ is senseless. So what to take away from all this, my high school peers? Well, I say go for it. If there is a great school you aren’t sure about, but like and can make a well-reasoned argument for, why not?
Applying Early Decision will certainly help your chances and if you don’t already have a number one, if it makes sense financially, then take the plunge! But the other small token of advice is while you buddy up more to the school, don’t become so emotionally invested that if denied or deferred (a word pre-college kids really hate, as I now learn myself) you’ll be absolutely heartbroken. If it’s already too late for that and your heart has been poured into it, then good luck and if it doesn’t work out, you’ll still end up happy.
Trust me. I think….
Until next time, y’all.
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