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Jada Alexander Headshot

A Freshman All Over Again

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This is part of our monthly series 'Mission: Accepted,' in partnership with Minds Matter, which chronicles the lives of three students as they apply for college in their senior year.

After getting accepted to Lesley University, DePaul University, and Northeastern University (with a full ride!), I was extremely nervous to hear back from my remaining 15 schools. I mean, I had applied to some pretty top-notch schools: NYU! Tufts! Brown! Harvard! I was terrified. I went from feeling confident that my applications were strong to feeling, well, doubtful.

Given that my pessimistic mind-set was in full gear, I guess it comes as no surprise that I was (and still am) so shocked to have been accepted to 13 of the 18 schools I applied to. 13!!! Yeeeeeeeep! I cannot even begin to describe what it feels like to be proven completely wrong. But let me try anyway: Imagine studying for a very important exam. You go in super-confident. You complete the test, and suddenly you're super-nervous and think you failed. You get the test back. You rocked it. That's how I feel right now: totally satisfied, totally at ease.

So, here are the other schools I got into: University of San Francisco, University of Connecticut, NYU (eeeeeep!!!), Suffolk University, Boston College, Boston University, George Washington (eeeeeep again!!!), and Tufts! AND I was waitlisted at Brown University!! I was rejected by Harvard, Columbia, and Stanford, but I was pretty much expecting that. Even though I think my applications were strong, I don't think they were strong enough to compete with students who are as attached to and enthusiastic about these schools as I am about NYU or GW.

Having 13 schools to choose from is like being thrown into the biggest shopping mall in the world. Now, I can barely stand being in one store for more than 15 minutes, so I knew it wouldn't be easy to spend hours going through the pros and cons of all these schools to figure out which is the best one for me. Luckily, getting accepted to my top two choices, NYU and GW, made it pretty easy to start crossing schools off of my list. Still, I had an extremely hard time deciding between those two, and I finally realized that I needed to take yet another road trip.

I set out on a four-day trip with my mom and best friend Jasmine to go to both NYU and GW's admitted-students days -- and yes, people, we took the bus from Boston to NYC, then from NYC to D.C., and them from D.C. back to Boston, all in four days! It was insanity.

NYU's admitted students day was AWESOME. The students there had amazing school spirit, with their bright violet shirts and their eagerness to answer questions and just talk about anything and everything with prospective students! I was accepted to the Liberal Studies Program at NYU and was able to attend its orientation while I was there. When the president of the program went through the 10 reasons NOT to come to NYU, my excitement about the school was validated. He wanted students to understand that NYU and this specific program aren't for everyone. Moreover, he wanted to compel us to really consider how much we liked NYU. Listening to the president's remarks, a student looking for a very flexible, open curriculum in her first year of college could tell immediately that Liberal Studies isn't the right fit. As for me, I love that program is both structured and flexible. And while some students may be attracted to a college that is compact and situated behind gates, I love that NYU is an open campus with no gates -- it is both in and of New York City! I left NYU wondering how in the world GW could possibly top it.

The answer is that it couldn't. The GW orientation just didn't feel right. The speakers were boring, and even the dean of admissions seemed to be falling asleep onstage. Some students were mildly enthusiastic, but others -- like my tour guide -- acted as though they just wanted to get out of there (and let's not blame the 90-degree weather). I liked the campus. Even though it's situated all in one area, it's still very spread out. The dining hall is great, and the dorms are nice and spacious, but I wasn't a fan of the surrounding area. Sure, there were historical monuments and famous sites to see, but it wasn't exciting for me. Where were the lights? The quirky people? The wholeheartedly enthusiastic student body? I missed New York City. And more than that, I missed the vibrant atmosphere at NYU.

I think I knew all along that NYU was my top choice, yet I still needed to experience the environments, people and campuses of both schools in person to really be sure. But I didn't decide on NYU just because its admitted-students day ruled compared to GW's. My decision had to do with the total package: There isn't one thing I can pick out about NYU from a prospective student's standpoint that I truly disliked. From everything I've seen firsthand and from everything I've heard, I love NYU. If I had chosen GW, I would undoubtedly spend the next four years wondering what it would have been like to be a student at NYU.

So there you have it! After months of standardized tests, essay-writing, attempting to figure out what colleges really want, completing 18 applications, applying for scholarships, chasing my amazing guidance counselor down for transcripts and recommendations and feeling utter anxiety -- all in the midst of schoolwork and other priorities -- I am proud to call myself a freshman in the Class of 2016 at New York University. ☺