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Unique Situation

spongegarrspongegarr Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
edited June 2016 in Non-Traditional Students
OK, so this post ended up getting too long (i.e. I talk too much and can't get straight to the point), but for those interested in continuing reading, I'd like to thank you all in advance for persevering and reading all the way through!

OK, so my situation is a bit unique or at least it's not very common which is why I decided to create my own post on this.

I'm currently a community college student majoring in General Studies. I plan on obtaining my associates in May 2017, with intentions of transferring in Fall 2017. I'm already looking at colleges and am trying to get a head-start on my personal statement for the Common App (the generic "why transfer" that will be sent to all colleges), but I'm at a halt because I cannot think of the right direction to go with this essay because of some academic complications I experienced in the past.

But first my background: born and raised in the US to immigrant parents (first parent didn't complete secondary school, second parent didn't complete primary school) which makes me first-gen college student.

My education history, in chronological order:

I went to the same private school my entire life (it was not prestigious or elite by any means--seriously. Total school enrollment was around 200 students and my classes were held in old trailers). Classes went up to 8th grade, but the year I graduated from 8th grade, finally ready to leave this school, they decided to add a high school. Naturally, my parents insisted that I had to go there (2009 - 2010). Total high school enrollment: 6 students. Only electives offered were religious studies, one language, and art (since these were our only options, we had no choice but to take them). I had the same teacher teach 3 of my classes. Dissatisfied with my first year experience, I applied to a public, college prep high school in the city and got accepted for my sophomore year but my parents didn't want me to leave this school because they felt this school was safer and better. Going to my local high school wasn't an option for me because it had an even worse reputation and was considered "unsafe" because of past incidents that had occurred at the school, so I reluctantly finished my sophomore year at my old school (2010 - 2011).

At this point I was completely fed up with my school because of their limited resources and budget. The teachers were awful, and while I was on the honor roll for both years, I didn't feel intellectually challenged or inspired, and I had no academic freedom. The only option I could convince my parents with was online school for my junior year of high school (2011 - 2012). Even though it would cost less, my parents didn't want me to take this route and thought I was doing this out of rebellion. Anyway, I took honors classes and 2 APs. I completely misunderstood what "online school" was going to be like. They just threw a long list of a year's worth assignments at me to be done for 7 classes. Nothing was given in increments. There weren't any interactive ways (I was thinking there was going to be "live classes" or something like teaching via Skype) to contact my teachers besides email; teachers only existed for entering numbers (i.e. grades). Basically, I was on my own. By far, one of the worst decisions of my life. It was extremely difficult to transition to. In retrospect, I clearly lacked the discipline and time-management skills for committing to online school. But I still managed to do well in my classes, only problem was that as the school year came to an end, I was NO WHERE NEAR finished with any of my courses, so I couldn't get a grade for any of the work that I had done. They said they could give me a one-month extension but it was impossible to finish everything within one month.

What followed was a year of debilitating depression in what would have been my senior year (2013). I couldn't bring up school in any conversation because every time I did, my parents would immediately slap me with the "I told you so" lecture. I was too embarrassed to go back to my old school (ah karma) to repeat the 11th grade because I felt like everyone would judge and laugh at me. My self-esteem was at an all-time low and I kept myself cooped up in my room all the time that year, too embarrassed to leave the house, and too depressed and pessimistic to work on completing high school. Hearing about all my friends graduating high school and getting accepted into colleges made me realize how much of a failure and complete idiot I was. At 17, I thought my life was over.

Then, in the year that would have been my first year at college (Fall 2013, if I had graduated on time), I had to travel with my parents to a different country (Even though I was 17, they wouldn't let me stay by myself at home for 2 months). When I came back, nothing really changed. In retrospect I was being a bit overdramatic, but at the time I was totally convinced that my life was over and I had no chance of redeeming myself. My parents were begging me to just get a GED at this point, but I didn't want to even consider getting a GED because of the stigma it carried, especially because I was an honors student in high school and didn't want to become reduced to "some loser who had to get a GED."

I was a moron. I wish someone would have smacked some sense into me to make me realize just how wrong I was about making generalizations like that about the GED, and people who get GEDs.

I enrolled myself in college in Fall 2014 with no high-school diploma or GED, thinking I could redo online school to finish high-school and earn my diploma while simultaneously going to college in an effort to save time--I had already wasted too much. Eventually realizing that earning my high-school diploma was impossible like this, I finally decided to get my GED, which I earned in 2015.

I realize that I screwed up a lot. Continuously. Going to college helped me realize what an idiot I was for making a big deal out of the most absurd, trivial things like being reluctant to get a GED. Seriously, I was a joke. But I have grown so much as a person and honestly, I feel like the biggest mistake of my life was perhaps a blessing in disguise. I worked so hard during these past couple of years in college, earning a 3.8 overall GPA (4.0 if you only count college level courses). I think things ended up the way they did because I felt this immense pressure of having to prove to myself, to my parents, and to society and the world that despite being a minority and being one of the first in my family to complete high school, that I could achieve more than what would be expected of me. But my parents were the ones that encouraged me and gave me that push to pick myself back up and continue from where I left off. Otherwise, I pretty much lost all hope in myself.

So now, with ALL of that being said lol, how should I go about writing my personal statement? I'm definitely in no way going to talk about this entire story, but I was thinking of just incorporating how I earned my GED while in college without going into too much detail about why I didn't complete high school (I think talking about that will hurt me instead of helping me), and then from there I'll go on to talk about about my academic interests, etc etc. But should I even talk about my education interruptions at all in the personal statement, or just leave that to the section where we have to explain our education interruptions on the common app? Even on that section, how "detailed" should I be? Should I omit talking about certain things or delve more into my situation? I'm so confused and lost on how to approach this!

Oh and sorry if I posted this on the wrong discussion board; please let me know if there's a more appropriate discussion board where I can post this (I literally just joined a few hours ago lol).

Thanks again to all who read this.
Post edited by Chedva on

Replies to: Unique Situation

  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 38,828 Senior Member
    What state do you live in and does your cc have an articulation agreement with a 4-year university?
    What classes have you taken so far and do they cover pre- reqs for a major?
    Would you apply for transfer in the fall for spring admission or in the spring for fall 2017 admission?

    Your expectations for online schooling were normal. What your parents registered you for was not legit and could only lead to failure. Or... You received the materials meant for the TEACHER for homeschool , not the student. An adult was supposed to cut all these into units, etc. Since your parents had elementary school /middle school educations they probably didn't know any better.

    You're at a community college, so your statement would basically write itself : you've discovered x subject at College, you love learning, reading book x by author z changed your perspective on things, you want to major in it because x and z, you'll be the first in your family who not only graduated highschool but would have a college degree and a shot at a professional job.
    If you're writing the statement to a particular college, explain what makes that college a great match for your interests, abilities, as proven by what you've done in Community college.
    If your cc is close to that university or a professor pointed something out to you,
    Mention that one of your cc professors directed you to the x department because your interested match professor Z well and you'd like to take a class from him /her, and later . be a research assistant
    I would summarize what you said in only a few lines : "since my faith-based school only had 6students total in grades 9-10, my parents switched me to faith-based online schooling and from there obtained my GED. I have been enrolled at xwz community college since.. 2014... Where I achieved a 3.9gpa." + indications cited above.
  • spongegarrspongegarr Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    edited June 2016
    Thanks for replying MYOS1634. I live in MD, and yes, my CC has an articulation agreement with a couple of universities. I've actually been accepted to my safety school's transfer student program, which guarantees me admission as long as my GPA doesn't go below 3.7 by the time I transfer.

    I've taken eng, bio, psych, soci, macroecon, world history, 2 Spanish courses (beginner's 2 and intermediate 1), anthropology, and elementary algebra and intermediate algebra (which won't transfer anyway since they're remedial). I plan on taking a college-level math course next semester.

    I'm not certain about what major I want to choose yet, but I'm leaning towards international studies/relations/affairs. I plan on taking an IR class next semester. Also, I'm going to apply in the spring for Fall 2017 admission.

    I registered myself for my school lol. It wasn't a homeschool type of thing. I was on my own because technically I was enrolled in a school and had "teachers".

    And thanks so much for the essay suggestions--those really help.

    I plan on applying to some out-of-state universities/colleges as well, mostly selective ones (including 2 Ivies). Do you think I have a chance? lol
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 38,828 Senior Member
    It doesn't really matter whether "you" or "your parents" registered you, you were a minor so the responsibility falls upon your parents. This wording is a shortcut to avoid spending too much time on the situation's background, it makes things more simple than the long story without distracting from your reality and your current situation.

    UMD is actually GREAT for IR, due to its location. Georgetown, George Washington, and American would all be good.n Add Macalester. If you go for broke, look at Tufts and Princeton, but you'd need to be incredible (not just a 4.0 but also some activities taking advantage of your location). Princeton will begin admitting transfers from community college for Fall 2017, until now they didn't admit any.

    You need to take statistics and political science classes (comparative government, political theory...) as well as more advanced world history classes, not just the introductory survey.
  • spongegarrspongegarr Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Since UMD doesn't have a IR major, I would probably have to choose the Individual Studies program (interdisciplinary major) which requires a proposal. I'm not sure how that will work out for an incoming junior transfer, but I'm definitely still considering UMD.

    I'm also going to apply to Georgetown, George Washington, and Tufts as well, but I do realize that getting into these schools as a transfer for a major like IS/IR will definitely be competitive. I also heard about Princeton finally accepting transfers next year, but even then I don't think I have chance!

    The IR class I'm taking is a sophomore-level course, and I plan on taking comparative government the following semester. I'm also going to take microecon, cultural geography, as well other relevant courses. I just checked my CC's catalog, and they don't offer political theory, but they offer a political ideology course.

    Thanks for the heads up about stats, though. I might take that instead of college algebra.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 38,828 Senior Member
    IR is hidden in Political Science :)
  • spongegarrspongegarr Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    It's a concentration within the Government and Politics but students at UMD have previously created independent international relations and international studies majors under the Individual Studies program.
This discussion has been closed.