After school on March 25, I rapidly open multiple tabs and log onto several college websites with the help of my trusty notepad. I stare intensely into my laptop screen, eager to check out admission decisions. At school, I had been preparing all day by calming myself and waiting patiently until I could get home. Still, I couldn't hide my puppy-dog excitement. However, I received more rejections than acceptances. It was miserable business, reading rejection letters, especially when they start with "I'm sorry to inform you that..." Fortunately, I didn't completely break down when I saw rejections because I did get accepted by SUNYs, Macaulay Honors at CUNY, Villanova University and Wellesley College.
I had a busy March. I travelled to Villanova University to interview for their Presidential Scholarship program and I finally got to see its campus. I really liked the atmosphere of tranquility and friendliness the students there gave off. I stopped a girl to ask for directions and she was totally happy to help, even giving me her number in case I had more questions. If only more New Yorkers were nice like that! The food and surprisingly small classes were endearing.
Despite the visit, I needed to examine all of my options because I had three college choices that were very generous, thus I had a hard time deciding which college to go to. Macaulay Honors at City College offered to pay for my tuition and a new laptop. Villanova's Presidential Scholarship offered to pay for tuition, room and board, and books (Oh my!). Wellesley offered to pay for most of my total cost of attendance, but requires some work study and expected family contribution (EFC). For two weeks, I was dropping a lot of hair stressing over this with my mother, but we decided on Wellesley because of the quality of the education I would get there, the opportunities I could look for in research and the support for young women at the institution.
Sometimes, when I look at my choice again, I ask myself why would I give up the completely full ride for a nearly full ride and work study? One of the things that I was stressed about was being a financial burden to my family. By choosing Wellesley, I choose to do work-study and have my mother pay off some money as well. I also chose a location that is more than five hours away from New York City, which can make travelling costly, time-consuming and tiring as well. I ask myself this is just me complicating things, but there are some additional factors that I think are worthwhile about Wellesley.
• It has a small environment, slightly isolated, so more time to bond and study and no excuses to get lazy. I can know my professors better, since there's no reason not to.
• I'll admit, a woman's college sounded scary at first, but I'll be competing against and supported by other women, which is comforting to know. We'll understand each other better and relate via the opportunities we get -- like in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants!
• Alumna network. Apparently, it's pretty powerful.
• It has a Raven Cam at its Science Center! Coolness level doubled!
Wellesley, I shall see you in person at your Spring Open Campus next week. So reassure me that I've made a good choice!
Now if there was one thing that I regret during the college admissions process, it would be not applying to Sophie Davis at City College, or other BS/MD programs. Sophie Davis takes care of most of medical school admissions and costs (which I have heard are even scarier than the $50,000 each year for undergraduate) and it is a seven-year program. I wish I had considered these BS/MD programs more seriously and looked past my fears of choosing the wrong profession. However, I still want some time to decide whether this is the path that I'm set on. Other than that, I'm grateful for applying to a good number of schools and having some choices. Even though Columbia University rejected me this year, fear not, because I shall return for graduate school or medical school!
If you're still deciding between colleges, make a list! Now is a good time to slow down and look into the nitty-gritty details. Put down statistics that matter to you, like costs, student body ratios, programs or subjects that you would like to pursue, transportation home, professional school success rate and alumni network. Get the opinion of your classmates, your teachers, your counselors, your parents and of course, YOURSELF!