Susan - University of Delaware - Class of 2011
Hometown: Wilmington DE
Major: Exercise Science
Goal: Medical school
Freshman Year Update
I feel that I have changed so much since arriving last fall as a nervous and unsure freshman. Academically, my first semester was tough. But now I feel that I am capable of doing well in my classes, provided I fully commit and put in the time and effort. ROTC has allowed me to bond closely with other students at the university and not get lost in the crowd. After graduation, I will have a four-year commitment to the Air Force, which gives me a guaranteed job and lets me graduate debt-free.
Sophomore Year Update
Seriously, I don't know why there isn't more hype about becoming a sophomore because this year has definitely outranked my freshman year in every way imaginable. I have an amazing roommate and a steady group of friends; I know my way around campus and am comfortable approaching professors. I have a feel for the best way to study, so I know when to push it out and stay up to write a paper or when to call it a night. I am shadowing doctors and volunteering to show my interest in medicine. Also, sticking with the Air Force ROTC program means I don't worry about dropping out of school due to financial reasons or what I'll do if I don't get into medical school. My advice to freshmen is to get involved in a lot of activities and then, come sophomore year, participate in those you really enjoy. Find good friends, study hard, and truly enjoy each moment of college. Time flies—I can hardly believe I'm almost halfway done.
Junior Year Update
Junior year has certainly been a "level up" in intensity from last year. The fall semester was extremely busy between my ROTC commitments and organic chemistry. However, it was also one of my best semesters academically so maybe there's a lesson to be learned from that hard work! I'm looking forward to finishing the last of my premed classes. I will be taking my MCAT this spring and applying to osteopathic medical schools this summer. Once again, I am researching different schools to apply to and trying to find the best "match" school for me.
Senior Year Update
College has been a wonderful experience! This year I reached the highest rank within Air Force ROTC and for one semester I led our entire detachment of more than 100 cadets as the Cadet Wing Commander. I also traveled to Russia on an all expenses paid cultural immersion trip for Air Force cadets. Next year I will attend medical school under the Air Force's Health Professions Scholarship Program. When I get out, I will serve as an Air Force physician on active duty for a minimum of eight years. My goal is to become either a family practice doctor or flight surgeon.
I was involved in many types of activities in high schoollots of sports, clubs, and volunteering. I went on a mission trip to Romania, maintained a relatively high GPA, and took community college classes. I think I was the sort of well-rounded student my top-choice college said they were looking for.
A college near home starts to feel right
Although I was initially interested in other locations, I decided during my application process that I really wanted to go to a college close to home. I didn't want to move away and then find out I wanted to come back. I preferred to find out my college was too close to home and then decide to venture out. Fortunately, I was accepted to the only local college on my list, University of Delaware, a bustling, local university which is about a 20-minute drive from my parents' house.
As for the other colleges on my list, Ursinus is a small Christian college that appealed to me at first. Cornell and Colgate were on my list because I wanted to say I was looking at schools across my spectrum. Based on my research, I thought I had a chance at these colleges.
Getting that "I-can-see-myself-here" feeling
My final decision was between Ursinus and University of Delaware. I thought I wanted a small school with less than 5,000 students, but when I visited Ursinus it seemed too small and spread out. I learned something about what I wanted on paper versus how a college might feel once I went there in person.
It all came down to the "I-can-see-myself-here" feeling I got when I toured at the University of Delaware. Besides being close to home, a surprising factor was security. UD has installed watch stations with intercoms throughout the campus so you are never far from help. My parents and I really liked that feature.
My ups and downs
Making sure that everything was submitted on time was my biggest challenge. Some schools required everything in by December 1st, while others gave you until January 15th. This may seem like a slight time difference but I had a very busy Christmas "break." I had to get my essays finished, give out recommendation papers, and request transcripts before my high school shut down. I also had high school classes, community college finals, and work to do on my scholarship essaysmany of which were due in December.
What I learned
For me, it was important to know why I wanted to go to college. Ninth grade is not too soon to start thinking about what sort of things you like to do and how they might relate to a career. I think it's difficult to spend your senior year wondering what you want to do with yourself. I shadowed both my family practice doctor and a small animal veterinarian to better understand their careers. These experiences helped me choose a major.
Cost of everything was quite surprising. There are fees for everything, such as achievement tests and the PROFILE financial aid form. That was one reason my parents wanted me to limit my college list.
Transferring credits from my community college classes will knock out some of my major prerequisites. I will be able to start taking my major classes even during my freshman year.
The money factor
I received a full scholarship from the Air Force ROTC. I have the option of dropping out of ROTC at the end of my freshman year. But even if I drop out, they will cover my freshman year costs.
ROAD TO COLLEGE
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