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My Journey (with Results)

kitts95kitts95 Registered User Posts: 470 Member
Since I have now made a final decision, I thought it might be helpful for future applicants to see how I prepared for the college application process and how they might be able to improve on what I had done :D
Firstly, I must preface this entire post by saying that I am very excited to be attending the school I have chosen as my final choice, but I still feel slightly knowing that I could have done better, had I put more time into crafting my applications. For example, I would have applied to a few more schools (Dartmouth, Duke and UChicago to be exact) and taken a few schools off of my final list for personal or academic reasons (Johns Hopkins, UVa, Boston College). I spent probably too much time poring over USNWR college rankings and (this is horrible but I hope I'm not the only one) chose colleges SOMEWHAT based on those rankings. Sure, I still visited every school to which I applied, but I should have had more foresight than I did when creating my list of colleges.
Secondly, I am still ever-so-slightly hesitant about attending the school I have chosen, because two schools were basically tied in my eyes once I had my final decisions, so I am telling myself every day that I made the right decision and that I will not have any regrets. Still, it has been challenging.

Some background information before I start speaking of my college results - I am a Hispanic male, interested in biomedical engineering. Only one of my parents graduated college, and out yearly income is around $200,000. I live in Pennsylvania.

So, now that the boring part of the post that nobody reads is over, here are my stats:

SAT: 2260 (superstore after three tries)
ACT: 34 (first and only attempt)
SAT II: 730 US History, 720 Math II (taken twice), 660 Biology (did not submit)
PSAT: 223
AP: Calculus AB 5, US History 5, English Language 4, Calculus BC, Biology, Spanish Language
Awards: National Merit Scholarship Finalist, AP Scholar, National Hispanic Scholar

Key Club (Officer),
Township Civic Association (Board Member),
Spanish National Honor Society (Vice President),
Tutor Center (Coordinator),
Soccer (Varsity two years, Junior Varsity one),
TOPSoccer (Buddy), and
Hospital Patient Transportation (Volunteer)
[Within my extracurricular activities, I was hoping that I could relay my love of volunteer work. I truly enjoy making others' lives better, and the best way for me to accomplish that is to get involved with several local volunteer organizations.]

I applied to 11 colleges: two Early Action (Princeton and UVa), one Rolling Deicision (Pitt) and eight Regular Decision (Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Northwestern, Boston College, Johns Hopkins, Northeastern, and UPenn).

University of Pittsburgh
Decision: Accepted with Honors
Money Awarded: $7,500/year
I applied to Pitt in early fall, as I knew I would get an early response that way. Within a month of my sending in the application around early October, I received my acceptance to the University as well as the University Honors College. I was happy with this decision, but had looked at Pitt only as a fall-back option.

Princeton University
Decision: Deferred EA, then Rejected
Money Awarded: N/A
Princeton had been my top choice coming into the college admission process, as it was close to home, had excellent programs in biology and a beautiful campus, and is highly regarded as the best college in the nation. However, when I submitted my Early Action application, I was not aware just how difficult it is to be accepted by a college like this, and so my hopes fell drastically after I was deferred. By the time I was rejected, I did not even feel upset because I knew it was near impossible.

University of Virginia
Decision: Accepted
Money Awarded: $2,000/year
I almost did not apply to UVa. My family was taking a road trip when we passed through Charlottesville and decided to take a tour for the heck of it. The campus was by far the most beautiful out of all the colleges to which I applied, and it also had strong programs in the biological sciences. I submitted my application seven minutes before the deadline, after deciding to apply early the day before the deadline.

Since my rant is too long to keep as one post, I'll post the college results in a separate post!

Replies to: My Journey (with Results)

  • kitts95kitts95 Registered User Posts: 470 Member
    Harvard University
    Decision: Rejected
    Money Awarded: N/A
    I visited Harvard over the summer after sophomore year when my family was in Boston and loved the feel of the school. That being said, even at that point in time I knew that if I applied, my chances at being accepted would be extremely low. I was correct! Even though I was not accepted, I did not feel disappointed at all when I heard because I was not expecting anything to begin with.

    Yale University
    Decision: Rejected
    Money Awarded: N/A
    My situation with Yale is literally the same as with Harvard, so... see above?

    University of Pennsylvania
    Decision: Rejected
    Money Awarded: N/A
    I was very upset about being flat-out rejected from Penn. My parents could not believe it (even though I told them it would probably happen) and I felt very guilty for a long time because I felt as though I had let them and myself down by not getting accepted. Even now, I still regret not applying to Penn Early Decision, because I loved everything about the campus, the programs it offers, and the students. Perhaps I felt too cocky when applying to Princeton EA, when I should have had an ever-so-slightly more attainable goal.

    Cornell University
    Decision: Accepted (likely letter)
    Money Awarded: $62,000/year
    I received my acceptance from Cornell two weeks before Ivy Day, which made me very nervous because I thought it was a joke. I even called the Office of Admissions three times in two days just to make sure it was not a hoax. At that point, I had not yet heard back from any other Ivies, and so I had very high hopes about the rest of my colleges. Overall, Cornell had a beautiful campus, an absolutely incredible engineering school, and tons of modern facilities. The full-ride Yellow Ribbon Scholarship they offered me because of my father's military profession did not hurt either.

    Northwestern University
    Decision: Accepted, Attending
    Money Awarded: $62,000/year
    I almost did not apply to Northwestern because I had not thought of leaving the East Coast when originally thinking of my list of schools. But when Northwestern offered me a fee waiver on my application (I'm still not sure why), I decided to look into it and see if it fit my needs. It did! NU has a great engineering program, with a Biomedical Engineering major, and although it is freezing most of the year, it is close to a big city which I really wanted! I received a full-ride scholarship from NU for the same reason as I did from Cornell.

    Boston College
    Decision: Accepted
    Money Awarded: $0/year
    I was accepted to BC just after Northwestern. I loved the campus during the tour we took when in Boston, and although they did not have an engineering department, I had thought originally that their biology program would be enough. Looking back, however, I should not have applied here because it did not fit my needs. Also, the lack of financial aid turned me off very quickly.

    Johns Hopkins
    Decision: Rejected
    Money Awarded: N/A
    Frankly, I was a bit shocked when I saw that I had been rejected from Johns Hopkins. I did apply to the BME major, which I knew would be more difficult, but I also thought that I had a very good chance of getting into the university without the BME major. In the end, though, I did not care much, because at that point I already had two great options I would have chosen over JHU anyway. Still, I'm a little bummed by this, just for personal pride reasons.

    Northeastern University
    Decision: Accepted with Honors
    Money Awarded: $30,000/year
    I visited Northeastern when I toured Harvard and Yale after sophomore year. Although I did not like the campus (or lack thereof), I decided to apply once I received my PSAT scores back and found out I was eligible for National Merit Scholarships. Northeastern's package was very generous, and they gave me the most merit-based money of all the colleges.

    Kudos to you if you just read that whole thing! I pretty much just poured my entire last two years of high school into one (very long) post, so this is my college application story!

    To future applicants of any of these wonderful colleges and universities: good luck! I realize that it is extremely hard to be accepted into selective colleges today, but if you work hard and put the effort into creating your applications, you will end up where you are supposed to be! Trust me :)
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 38,202 Senior Member
    Thanks for the post and for the way you made your decisions. Very helpful.
  • momcincomomcinco Registered User Posts: 1,069 Senior Member
    OP, this is a great thread. The ins and outs are very helpful. Congrats on all your acceptances and don't take rejections too personally --you were an extremely well-qualified candidate for each and every school.

    My question is, it isn't clear why in the end you chose Northwestern over Cornell. The $ looks the same. Could you give us the final reasoning (you alluded to it in the beginning, about having to choose btw two excellent options but I for one would like to know more.)
  • kitts95kitts95 Registered User Posts: 470 Member
    Thank you both for the positive feedback! I am glad I am able to help at least somebody with my experiences regarding college.

    @momcinco, to answer your question, I have to say that Northwestern just felt "right". I know that sounds horribly cliche, but it is true. When my family toured the NU campus, I was amazed at how laid-back everything was, even though it is such a prestigious and highly-regarded university. The students at Northwestern also *seemed* (from what I gathered walking around the campus all day) to be more relaxed than their counterparts at Cornell; for those reasons, I had to choose Northwestern. The Big Ten athletics didn't hurt, either ;)

    If anybody else has ANY questions, please ask away! I am here to help all those who have a hard (but pleasurable) few years ahead of them.
  • momcincomomcinco Registered User Posts: 1,069 Senior Member
    Good choice then, given that financial aid (and I guess, academics) were equal. Being happy in life with one's choices is a beautiful thing :) Congrats again and enjoy your time on campus!
  • TSTOTPTSTOTP Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    Why were you shocked at getting rejected from Johns Hopkins? I was going to apply (only didn't because I got accepted ED elsewhere) and all the stats implied to me that it would have been a reach for many people with your stats.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 38,202 Senior Member
    Do you regret making such a reach-heavy list or not? (and why)?
  • BetterThanBestBetterThanBest Registered User Posts: 313 Member
    Can you EA both Uva and Princeton? I thought Princeton had Restrictive early action.
  • BetterThanBestBetterThanBest Registered User Posts: 313 Member
    Got it. UVa is public. So you can ea there along with Princeton.
  • kitts95kitts95 Registered User Posts: 470 Member
    Thanks for responding! I appreciate these insightful questions.

    @TSTOTP: I guess shocked wasn't really the right word to use in that situation, but I was surprised by the decision. Usually, Hopkins accepts about 5 kids from our school, and according to Naviance, average accepted SAT range is about 2080, while average accepted GPA is 4.15. This year, only two kids got in, both of whom applied early. My scores were both significantly higher than the average (which I know doesn't mean I'm guaranteed a spot) and so I was surprised when I was outright rejected. But I've moved on since then! :D

    @MYOS1634: I do not regret having such a top-heavy list. I included two safeties, Pitt and Northeastern, and I would have been happy to go to either of those schools. Additionally, both were financially doable, so I had no worries about not being able to go to college. I do regret, however, applying to a few of the schools (I already mentioned this before but this includes Johns Hopkins, Boston College, and Harvard), and picked other schools that would fit me better (like Dartmouth, Duke, or even UChicago). So overall, I do not regret applying to so many reach schools, because I figured that I would have a better chance of getting into a great school if I applied to more. This may not be the case, but it was my thinking process.

    @BetterThanBest‌: You got it! Princeton offers Single-Choice Early Action, which prevents students from applying to most schools early. However, You are allowed to apply to schools with Rolling Admission (like Pitt) and public schools with non-binding Early Action plans (like UVa). I only realized the second part of that last sentence two days before the deadline, so I was very cramped getting my UVa supplements done. Oops!

    Keep the questions coming guys!
  • BetterThanBestBetterThanBest Registered User Posts: 313 Member
    Well done mate. Good luck for college! ;)
  • TSTOTPTSTOTP Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    Ah. Yeah, that makes sense.
  • AnnieBeatsAnnieBeats Registered User Posts: 1,958 Senior Member
    edited June 2014
    What do you mean when you say 62,000/year? You wouldn't get that much aid if you have an income that high.
  • kitts95kitts95 Registered User Posts: 470 Member
    @AnnieBeats, as I explain under the Cornell section of my second post, I was awarded the Yellow Ribbon Scholarship by the VA for my father's past active duty military profession. Thank you for doubting what I wrote though... I'm sure you know better than I what money I was awarded from which schools!

    If you have other questions, please read the whole posts before asking! :D
  • AnnieBeatsAnnieBeats Registered User Posts: 1,958 Senior Member
    edited June 2014
    You don't have to be rude. I was just confused as to what you meant. And no, I don't care that much about you to waste my time reading the entire thread. Obviously it wasn't a scholarship for character because if it was, you wouldn't have gotten anything.
This discussion has been closed.