Jeffrey - Washington and Lee Univ. - Class of 2010

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It's like applying for a job. You have to have fallbacks. I added colleges as I got deferred or denied, so that drove my numbers up.

I am very committed to living and working abroad. In the summer of 2005, I interned for a barrister in London. During that time the Underground was bombed. I saw the bus on Tavistock Square explode. It made me realize what kind of world was outside the bubble known as Wayne, NJ. I wanted a college that would help me prepare for this world.

Hometown: Wayne NJ

High School: Private

SAT: 2010

GPA: 3.80 / 4.3 (weighted)

Major: Economics

Goal: Law school, focusing on international relations

College

Status

Tufts University (EA)Deferred/ Denied
Boston CollegeWaitlisted
Villanova UniversityAccepted
Washington and Lee UniversityAttending
Wheaton CollegeAccepted
Lehigh UniversityWaitlisted
Bentley CollegeAccepted
Loyola College in MarylandAccepted
American UniversityAccepted
Fairfield UniversityAccepted
Freshman Year Update

Starting with academics, I never realized how difficult W&L would be. It was extremely hard, but at least I lived to tell about it. Socially, my friends here span the globe. They are from all over the U.S. plus Europe and New Zealand. Pledging for a fraternity was time-consuming but fun—at times. During "Hell Week," the last week of pledgeship, I had to stand outside the library in an apron and hairnet and make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for anyone that wanted one! And last but not least, there's the honor code. We have but one rule here at W&L—act like a gentleman (or gentlewoman). I leave my door unlocked and take my tests unproctored. Many times I have left my wallet or iPod in the quad and it was still there hours later.

I am in love with this school! It was the best decision I ever made.

Sophomore Year Update

I am happy with my business courses, which I started this year. I also took liberal arts courses, which I recommend all business students do. On the social side, I lived in the fraternity house. Fraternities at W&L are the heart and soul of the social scene and allow you to meet many new and interesting people. Over the summer I was an intern at an insurance firm in downtown New York City and saw what it was like to work 9 to 5 and how to act and work in a corporate environment.

Junior Year Update

My junior year has been my favorite thus far. I lived off campus with some fraternity brothers and I have had more fun than ever. I've taken countless business courses like finance, marketing, management, and one of my favorites—consumer insights. My team developed a strategy for an actual client, so I got real life business experience! This summer, I'm working at a wealth management firm. It was not an easy process to get this internship. Applying does not stop with college admission—it continues junior and senior years when applying for summer internships and jobs.

Falling in love with one college after another

Let's go back to seventh grade. That's usually a time where parents take their children to Disneyland—but not my mother. She took me up to New Haven, Connecticut. It was a gorgeous, quaint, little town, full of brownstones and pedestrians. As we drove through the town, I realized where we were headed—Yale. My mother parked the car, got out and pointed, "This is where I want you to go."

Being a realist, I realized quickly that I could not get into, nor did I want to go to, an Ivy League college. But there were plenty of other top schools. Tufts University became my leading choice. It had a gorgeous campus, engaging people, urban access, Catholic orientation, and most importantly, rigorous academics. I was ready. And then I saw Boston College and Villanova and I fell in love all over again. But all that began to fade when I was deferred by Tufts and waitlisted by Boston College.

On the heels of disappointment, an unexpected choice

I found my college almost on a fluke. I opened my e-mail one day and way down the list I noticed one of those mass-emailed college letters, or so I thought. It was an invitation to apply from a small, suburban college in Virginia called Washington and Lee University. I checked it out online, and it looked great. Virginia seemed too far away, but I applied anyway. I also applied to several other less rigorous colleges, which became my "safeties."

I received my acceptance letter from Washington and Lee the same day as my Tufts rejection letter. I threw that bad news letter out the window. It was all about Washington and Lee now. I headed down to Virginia to visit the campus and stay overnight. It was captivating white columns, colonial buildings, and friendly, preppy people. The academics were equally as impressive. I felt at home. But I was still committed to giving Villanova a fair shake. I thought about it for hours on the drive back. Villanova was closer to home, but larger, less intimate. After five hours, I turned to my mom. "Are we thinking the same thing?" "Welcome Washington and Lee, class of 2010," she laughed.

My ups and downs

Getting denied by Tufts was very tough. I had to see it twice, online and by mail. Many people, including my guidance counselor, thought I would get into both Tufts and Boston College. That made the rejection even more painful.

I was very anxious until I received my last letter. The rest of the process was no picnic, but the anticipation was almost unbearable and certainly overwhelming. Ironically, when it was over I missed checking the mailbox and websites. I liked to imagine going to each college I applied to.

What I learned

It's like applying for a job. You have to have fallbacks. I added colleges as I got deferred or denied, so that drove my numbers up. However, I think applying to more schools than necessary takes away a spot from someone else. Someone's safety is another person's target school.

I found college planning websites, such as CollegeData, very helpful. CollegeData had charts that made information, such as admitted student profiles and famous alumni, easily accessible. I liked being able to save my admission status and track where I got in.

Where do YOU feel at home? That is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a college. All the people at Washington and Lee were wearing J.Crew, Lacoste, and Polo—all the stereotypical "preppy" brands. And that's me—a prep.

The money factor

I received scholarships from several schools—but not Washington and Lee or Villanova (my two top choices). But ultimately, money was put on the back burner. From the trip to Yale to this very day, my mom told me, "You go to the best place you can, and I'll take care of the rest."

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