Right now, I’m 99.9% sure that I’ll be enrolling at Occidental (the 0.01% is if I get into Stanford). It wasn’t really a school that I absolutely loved when applying, but I think that the location, research opportunities, liberal arts education, and small size is the best current option for me (the other schools that I was accepted to are all large state schools). I also got a $20,000 per year merit scholarship, which is pretty significant. It’s the cheapest option other than my state school.
I was waitlisted at three schools: Pitzer, UCLA, and Carleton. I’m kind of struggling to decide what to do.
I’m thinking that I probably won’t accept my spot on Pitzer’s waitlist because after some reflection, I honestly like Occidental more. I love the Claremont Consortium, but I don’t know if that’s a good enough reason to write up a LOCI. I was rejected to Pomona and Harvey Mudd, both of which I liked more. I applied to Pitzer because of their focus on environmental sustainability/justice, which is important to me.
UCLA is a great school, but I’m really torn on whether I should accept my spot on the waitlist. I wouldn’t be able to compete on the varsity XC/track team (which I will at Oxy), but it’s definitely more “prestigious”. I try to tell myself that this doesn’t matter to me, but the sad reality is that it does (even if it shouldn’t).
Next comes Carleton. This school wasn’t near the top of my list at first. I decided to apply last minute, and was literally editing my supplements minutes before the deadline. I decided to apply because it’s a liberal arts college and isn’t on the East Coast (as I want to move away). However, the more I look into it, the more I fall in love with the school. Their undergraduate teaching is top-ranked, their academics are rigorous (and it’s one of the best LACs for physics, which I intend to major in), and I truly feel like I’d be incredibly happy at this school.
My dad brings up a valid point that it’s in the middle of nowhere (even though I pointed out that the Twin Cities are quite close, he argued that they aren’t big cities, as we live in NYC). He also mentioned that it gets extremely cold, and weather was something that I did consider when applying (which is why I applied to so many California schools). I personally don’t think that these are valid reasons for not attending (if admitted off the waitlist), since it’s my college experience.
The one thing that bugs me is the price. I am not eligible for any need-based aid at any school, which is why Oxy’s merit scholarship is appealing. I’m incredibly grateful that my parents are able to pay for the full cost of my undergrad education without loans, but I’d feel guilty attending a school where I have to pay the full price when Oxy would be cheaper.
Any advice on what I should do? Should I accept all three waitlist offers? Just Carleton’s? Or just commit to Oxy and decline all the waitlist offers?