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Attending a Safety + Other Hindsight

ahardboiledeggahardboiledegg 126 replies9 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 135 Junior Member
To start, here are some quick stats for myself: 1520 SAT, 93 UW GPA, 113 W GPA, 6/355 in class. ECs included a part-time job, drama/musical theater, lots of music stuff like choir and a capella groups. (Subjectively) good essays and recommendations. Applied as a history major with music as a second choice for most places.

I was rejected from Brown, waitlisted at Bowdoin and Vassar, and accepted to McGill (denied my acceptance soon after realizing it's not a good fit for me), Clark (couldn't really afford despite large merit scholarship), and SUNY New Paltz. I'll be attending New Paltz in the fall.

I can't lie, I was completely crushed by the admissions process. As a high-achieving student throughout my life, I equated a lot of my self worth with academic success and prestige, and being waitlisted by Vassar especially made me feel like a complete failure. It was completely heartbreaking to feel like my hard work wasn't worth it, and though I'm happy with where I'm ending up now, I still can't help but feel some of those sentiments. I know I made some mistakes as I applied- I was probably overconfident, didn't apply to enough schools, didn't apply early enough (didn't receive any merit aid at New Paltz because of that), and didn't ask for any outside help.

But something I did right was apply to a safety that I could fall in love with. I never thought I'd end up at my safety, and I remember crying after all my rejections that I didn't want to go to it. Now, I don't even feel like I'm settling. I visited campus and loved it, loved the surrounding area, and can really imagine my life for the next 4 years being there. Admittedly, it feels strange to attend a safety, to think I could've got accepted with much lower grades, but I'm telling myself that I'll just be much more prepared for college than many people there and thrive. My advice to any underclassmen is to love your safeties and prepare for any worst case scenario. Too often, I see people ending up at places they hated because they didn't think they'd end up getting rejected everywhere, or they were unrealistic and get waitlisted/rejected from what they thought were safeties.

Even harder advice to take is to stop placing all of your self worth in the college process. It'll inevitably hurt to get rejected, especially comparing yourself with your peers and every faceless account on CC, but you must remember you're not the only one experiencing this and that your intelligence is not rooted in your college outcomes. Admissions officers know so very little about you, even if you poured your heart and soul into your applications. And most importantly, college is what you make of it. If you go to Brown and stay in your dorm all day, you will not get the connections or have the fun that everybody talks about. But if you go to your state school with the best outlook that you can and join clubs and make friends and build relationships with professors, you'll have an amazing 4 years ahead of you.

Thanks for reading and I hope my rambling can help somebody. Go Hawks! :)
edited April 18
11 replies
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Replies to: Attending a Safety + Other Hindsight

  • Nocreativity1Nocreativity1 1051 replies49 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,100 Senior Member
    Amazing post and attitude. You are already a success and will continue to succeed!
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  • smarnoldsmarnold 2 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2 New Member
    This post is wonderful. I shared it with my twin daughters who both had ups and downs through this crazy admission process. You are very thoughtful and you will do amazing things in school. Enjoy every minute of it!
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  • rickle1rickle1 1723 replies14 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,737 Senior Member
    Outstanding post. Should be required reading!
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  • FlyerDadFlyerDad 36 replies4 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 40 Junior Member
    Kids really overlook the "love your safety" school part--because these days that could be the reality. My son's "dream" safety school was Wisconsin, and he was elated when he got in. I can't say he was disappointed that he got into his reach schools, but he was wistful about Wisconsin because he knew how much he would have enjoyed it. Sounds like that's what you found with New Paltz--congratulations.
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  • Trixy34Trixy34 1166 replies6 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,172 Senior Member
    edited April 19
    OP - congratulations! You have a great attitude and I promise you, you will get an excellent education at New Paltz. If you have any interest in geology at all, take a class with Professor Bartholomew. I'm sure he won't disappoint!
    edited April 19
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  • damon30damon30 1147 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,152 Senior Member
    Excellent "lessons learned" post, thanks OP! Besides the "have a safety to love" happy ending, the other takeaways are avoiding good school/bad fit applications (McGill in this case) and good school/can't afford (e.g. Clark).
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  • TheGreyKingTheGreyKing 2045 replies98 discussionsForum Champion Williams College Posts: 2,143 Forum Champion
    edited April 19
    @ahardboiledegg - Attitude is important, and you have a great one!

    The village of New Paltz is so charming- a bustling town with great restaurants and pretty houses, surrounded by incredible natural beauty. You absolutely must go hiking in “The Gunks”— the surrounding Shawangunk mountains with their sheer cliff faces. Check out Minnewaska State Park and other surrounding parks. The hike to Gertrude’s Nose along the edge of the cliff is amazing, but even just walking on the cliffs around Lake Minnewaska is magical. There is also Bonticou Crag, Sam’s Point, the ice caves, the Lemon Squeeze at Mohonk Mountain House, etc. Great waterfalls include the easy-to-access Awosting Falls, and Stony Kill Falls. There is also a cool rail trail that leads right from the town, good for biking or walking.

    (Plus I am friends with a psychology professor at SUNY New Paltz, and if the way he talks about his classes and students is at all typical of professors there, you are in for a great experience!)
    edited April 19
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  • ahardboiledeggahardboiledegg 126 replies9 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 135 Junior Member
    Thank you everybody for the kind wishes!

    @TheGreyKing I'll be sure to check out those places, I'm really excited to get a change of landscape that I don't get on Long Island. Minnewaska looks absolutely beautiful and I've been told it's the first thing I should visit when I get to New Paltz.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5393 replies10 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,403 Senior Member
    Life is about the journey, not the destination, and you, @ahardboiledegg , are traveling in style. Happy trails!
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  • Trixy34Trixy34 1166 replies6 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,172 Senior Member
    @ahardboiledegg - The Hudson Valley is such a gorgeous area. I think you will enjoy it.
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