Rejections/Acceptances: a list

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Since my last post,  everything that was actually post-worthy happened. May 1st is tomorrow, and I’ve narrowed down my college decision. I’ll be paying a deposit to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, but due to difficulties in the financial aid (on my side, not theirs!) spect of things, I have not received my financial aid package; the non-refundable payment doesn’t finalize things (so Southern is still looming).

I hoped to introduce Oakwood into the conversation (I need the “vision,” as a friend of mine says. I need to be in a place in which I am finally affirmed that I am just as capable as anyone, and being a successful, “classy” black girl isn’t a rarity), but even though the cost is comparable with Southern, my dad closed that option.

Anyway, that’s what’s going on. Without further ado:

Acceptances:

Brandeis University (big ups to the Jewish tradition, which would allow for Sabbath rest, on top of its stellar academics and proximity to Boston)

Hampton University (surprisingly because I thought I never completed my application, decision was promised for 3 weeks post submission, got it a few months later)

Oakwood University

Fordham University (when things started feeling real!)

Milwaukee School of Engineering

Case Western Reserve University

Southen Adventist University

Marquette University

Loyola University Maryland

Macalester College (a personal favorite of mine for everything that isn’t academically-related, EVERYTHING; ask me about it because it’d be a long explanation)

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (huge surprise, especially since last year only 7% of accepted students had GPAs lower than a 4.0, and only 15% of out-of-state students were accepted, not to brag because I actually feel like HOW DID THIS HAPPEN FOR ME)

Rejections:

Washington University in St. Louis

Stanford University 

Harvard University (another one that I never finished the application [missing required standardized test])

Georgetown University (of which I once obsessed with, that I thought I would get accepted,–or even wait listed–of which I thought things were looking up with fewer applicants that year and then what I could bring to the particular school I applied to)

Waitlist:

Washington and Lee University (I loved that school. So generous with aid, too)

 

It’s amazing how things are turning out. I just want to make sure people know what I wish I knew.

From outside the fog of my past college daydreams

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(University of Chicago, July 2013)

If you know me, you’ll know I’ve had college daydreams since forevva, mostly elicited by a combination of  my memories of life at Michigan State University and life as seen on television (20% – 50% – 30% other influences). Fantasies of walking in through ivy-covered gates, debating the meaning of life on the university lawn with other wanna-be intellectuals, and walking hand-in-hand on said lawn with a super attractive hipster frequently danced in my head; I envisioned myself going on late night coffee shop runs with my roommate (aka soul sister) to put in hours of enthusiastic study sessions.

Flash forward to the year 2013:

I had no idea that writing applications could significantly alter my view of what college life really entails.

I’ll be sweating.

Typing in all the activities that I have participated in over the course of my high school career, sending in my standardized test scores,  and weighing my applications with freshman profiles of colleges nationwide forced me to realize the fact that I’m not all that special. I won’t maintain the title of being the girl who always has the keenest answers. Expectations made my professors will far exceed those established by my high school teachers; I will be among many like me, so to stand out, I’ll have to exert twice, three times, as much effort as ever before.

$$$

Calculating the actual cost of college–including housing and meal fees, subtracting merit and need-based scholarships–has also been as a splash of ice water on my heart. To be able to manage costs, I’ll definitely need to participate in work-study programs. As a result, I cannot imagine that I will have tons of free time to frolic in on the campus lawn. Things get serious when you have to plan for $20,000, $30,000, $40,000 debts.

The weather(?).

Considering the fact that only about 30% of the schools that I applied to are below the Mason-Dixon line, I had better be factoring the implications of most likely going to school up north. The fact that many of the major snow storms east of the Mississippi River occurred around the schools I applied to doesn’t help to calm my fears of miserable flu seasons and a constant struggle to keep warm from November to March.

Dating and the social scene.

The very aspect of college life that enticed me the most has now arisen so much uncertainty within me. Will any of the guys on campus share my core values? Will I be able to resist the temptations offered up at parties? Will I even have a social life – especially with my finances? (Assuming that I’ll make it out of Collegedale) how will my classmates react to my peculiar beliefs as an Adventist? I’m starting to realize the additional challenge, not reprieve, that will come with the college social scene.

But the comfort I have received after this understanding lies in the simple truth that my education is for the purpose of fulfilling my career aspirations. My education will be the passage through which I come to my ultimate purpose of helping to promote a socially just world.

I should just stop all of this and go to Southern.

That would make sense, right? Why, you ask?

1. For one, with my dad’s subsidy and the Hope scholarship and the leadership scholarship for students in my school, it would be incredibly cheap.

2. And, I’ve been accepted. So if I halted everything and decided to go to Southern, there would be no more of this anxiety–even more, I’d stop having to deal with all these self-esteem issues. I’d be done.

3. I have friends there. I have a campus job. The transition would be a breeze.

Buuuut,

What about going to a school near a city that connects me to internships before graduation? Like I’ve always talked about?

Or going somewhere that let’s me get lost in the crowd like I’ve always wanted, where I have to go through the exhilarating process of searching for new friends that will enrich my life, and I theirs?

I kid myself when I say that an easy transition would be a benefit to my college experience. I’ve always found going someplace where no one knows me and I don’t know them, where I have to stumble through the environment for the first few days before finally not needing to ask for directions, where everything is new and opinions have yet to be formed, a thrill. 

I still want all of that PLUS a stimulating college experience that promotes small classes for in-depth discussions, one that challenges me.

The most difficult college application question ever

What do you like about our college, and what do you think you can contribute to our campus?

That question freaks me out; I read it, look at the computer screen, and blank out because:

1. I honestly can’t afford to travel to a lot of the schools I’m applying to, so I have no choice but to exert a lot of effort into gleaning what I can from viewbooks, websites, and forums, which means

2. I can’t help but regurgitate what these colleges already know, what they advertise as reasons to apply. Which is unfortunate because the only thing I know about answering these kinds of questions is that I shouldn’t say what colleges already know about their school.

3. Then, I have to struggle with the fact that these schools receive applications from thousands of well-qualified students with all sorts of interesting backgrounds, passions, and gifts, and when I go to answer the question how would you contribute to our community, words escape me. I have a difficult time with the bragging aspect of college applications because I know that, in the perspective of admissions counselors who have seen it all, I’m not that special.

Sure, I can tell you all about why I adore the field of study I’m interested in, and I can recount an experience that changed my life; if it’s personal to me, I’ve got it. But when I’m trying to prove myself to you in terms of something that you know better than I do (the college you work for, FOR EXAMPLE), then I am at a loss for words.

Colleges that I’ve sent my portion of the application to. (A list)

Milwaukee School of Engineering

Simmons College

Southern Adventist University

Oakwood University

Pacific Union College

Fordham University

Stanford University

Marquette University

Washington University in St. Louis

Brandeis University

the list wouldn’t be so long if it wasn’t for:

1. College fair (free applications!)

2. Emails (offering free applications!)