Roy - Calif. Maritime Acad. / UC Irvine - Class of 2012

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I am really happy that I picked a college path unique to my personality and goals. My relatives were not surprised I picked such an unusual college to attend.

I am really excited about a career in law enforcement. My ultimate goal is to join the FBI. "Cal Maritime" will give me leadership training on top of a four-year degree, which is a good background for an FBI applicant.

Hometown: Thousand Oaks CA

High School: Public

GPA: 3.3 / 3.4 (weighted)

SAT: 1720

Major: Anthropology

Goal: Joining the FBI

College

Status

UC IrvineAttending
California Maritime AcademyTransferred
Arizona State University Accepted
San Francisco State UniversityAccepted
United States Coast Guard AcademyDenied
Freshman Year Update

As a cadet at Cal Maritime, I can honestly say that I took a lot of things back home for granted. For the first week I was proud of wearing my new uniform, but after that I had a change of heart for this college. I feel as though I have been stripped of my individuality. I miss having my longer hair, expressing the type of music I love with my T-shirts, and most of all I miss interacting with people. I have decided to attend a university with opportunities to meet diverse people with different dreams, to play in a band, and just enjoy my young adult years while I can. On an endnote, I do not regret coming to the academy at all. I have realized so much that I would never have realized if I went to a normal university right away.

Sophomore Year Update

I transferred to UC Irvine this year. It is a big school, unlike my previous college, and it has a vast amount of opportunities. I am studying cultural anthropology and I plan to travel the world.

Junior Year Update

Although I am learning more at UC Irvine than at my previous schools, I find the academics much harder. Plus, I am trying to get used to the quarter system. Time seems to fly past me! Final exams arrive before I know it. As for the future, I have so many plans that I leave the future open ended. I am leaning towards teaching abroad and working at a museum.

Heading out to sea

Originally, I planned my life around attending the United States Coast Guard Academy. Of all the military branches, I was drawn to the Coast Guard because it has a humanitarian mission, and I love being at sea. Plus, its academy is prestigious and free—as are all the military academies. My academic record, however, was low by their standards. I was turned down. The California Maritime Academy, which is part of the California State University system, became an excellent alternative. When I visited their huge training ship, I had a strong sense of belonging there. Even better, I may have the option of joining the Coast Guard or Navy as an officer once I graduate.

Looking at other options

I picked the colleges that I applied to by researching them on the Internet. Although attending a maritime academy was my top priority, I cast a wide net in terms of options. I thought that an accounting background would be attractive to the FBI, so schools that had good accounting programs were also considered. I was also considering law school, so I wanted a school that would help me prepare for that.

My ups and downs

My strengths as an applicant were definitely in my extracurriculars. Along with wrestling and band, I was a volunteer with the Ventura County Police Department and had a job at a financial planning firm.

The Coast Guard Academy application was intense. It asked applicants to take physical tests and submit lots of personal statements. Since my parents don't speak perfect English, I had to ask teachers for help.

The student leaders on my wrestling team were influential. One went to Annapolis and another to West Point. In fact, all the people I looked up to went to military academies. My other friends were telling me to apply to the same colleges they were applying to. I wanted to be with them, but at the same time I knew that I had to make this very important decision on my own.

What I learned

I am really happy that I stayed true to myself and picked a college path unique to my personality and goals. My relatives, who know me really well, were not at all surprised I picked such an unusual college to attend.

I realize now that I should have studied a lot more in high school. I did not really try until my junior year.

The money factor

For the first two years, I will get by on loans and scholarships. The Coast Guard will cover my junior and senior years if I am admitted to its commissioned officer program. In exchange, I will commit to serving three years as an ensign once I graduate and then serve three years in the reserves.

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