Marquis - Princeton University - Class of 2012
Hometown: Goldsboro NC
High School: Public
GPA: 3.88 / 4.64 (weighted)
Major: Political Science
Goal: Law School
Freshman Year Update
My year at Princeton has been all I expected and more. The professors are awesome and my peers are great. I definitely work harder for the "A" compared to high school and there have been a lot of sleepless nights. Outside class, I have enjoyed the many high profile people that come here to speak, such as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, and Black Arts Movement poet Amiri Baraka. I also joined the College Democrats and canvassed in Virginia to help elect President Obama. My advice to college freshmen is to balance academic life with social activities, making sure to maintain a healthy dose of each.
Sophomore Year Update
It is amazing how fast the first two years of college have gone by. As a prelaw student, I find myself preparing to take the LSAT (Law School Admissions Tests) when it seems as if I just closed the SAT prep books.
I'm really anticipating my junior and senior years. I'm taking what we call a "junior workshop" on jurisprudence. Outside of my studies I remain active in intramurals, College Democrats, and the Club Basketball team.
My first two years here at Princeton have been both intellectually challenging and stimulating. I am honored to have the opportunity to attend such a fine university.
Junior Year Update
My study of politics at Princeton has taken on more of a public policy and law focus because I plan to study these subjects after graduation. At the moment, I am leaning towards enrolling in law school in the fall of 2012. Even if I do not become a public service attorney, I can definitely see myself getting involved in city and local government.
I have to admit, there are times when I wonder how different my undergraduate experience would have been had I attended Wake Forest University in my hometown, or UNC where several of my high school friends attend. I would love to be closer to home. However, if I had to make the choice again I would choose Princeton, even though it has placed me in an unfamiliar social setting.
Senior Year Update
The most defining moment of my senior year has to be turning in my 100+ page hardbound thesis! The sense of fulfillment could not have been more real. The most rewarding experience has been making friends with some awesome people. I am really going to miss them! I am now taking a "year off" in order to fill some of the gaps in my undergraduate curriculum. I am taking several public policy courses at a North Carolina university. I will apply to law schools this fall, and hopefully enroll in one in the fall of 2013.
The Internet was extremely helpful in the college application process. I found a great deal of online information about specific departments at a college as well as financial aid polices. CollegeData's Admissions Tracker helped me analyze my chances for admission at particular colleges.
Stretching myself during high school
I believe that one of my major strengths in the college application process was that I came across as a hard-working individual determined to be successful. During the past two years I accumulated roughly 56 college credit hours at my local community college. I also demonstrated my leadership potential. Last summer I attended North Carolina Governor's School in Social Sciences, a highly selective summer residential program. I am also a member of the Service Project Committee of the Goldsboro Mayor's Youth Council.
A keen interest in public policy guided my college choices
When I attended the Governor's School, I developed a keen interest in politics and public policy, and this guided my college choices. I had four major criteria: strength of political science department, financial accessibility, quality of students, and a liberal arts feel. I could have been accepted to any one of the schools on my list and rejected by all the others, and still have been very happy.
Princeton, because of its large politics department and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, best met my needs. I will be able to explore how political, economical, and cultural ideas shape domestic and international public policy. I also like Princeton's emphasis on research. Third-year students are required to write a research paper and seniors must submit a thesis. Students are encouraged to study abroad for their thesis, and Princeton offers scholarships to study abroad. As an aspiring policymaker, I believe that this program followed by a legal education from a great law school will serve me well in my chosen career.
My ups and downs
I was waitlisted at Princeton, my first choice. I had to wait 35 days for their final decision! This was very difficult. I had a lot of school work to do during that time, so that helped distract me.
Unlike most college hopefuls, no one in my family was familiar with the college admissions process. This meant I was on my journey alone. I believe I did fine, ultimately applying to the right number of schools. My list had a good variety of public and private colleges in different geographic locations. Not being able to visit the colleges I applied to, however, was a problem. It's hard to decide which colleges to apply to or accept without seeing them in advance.
What I learned
If I had to apply to colleges again, I would probably take my time in submitting my applications. I started my applications early and submitted them early, as if that was going to speed up the arrival of my admission decision or increase my chances of being accepted. I would definitely spend more time touching up my application and essays, especially since I was applying to universities that are considered most selective.
Students should view the admissions process as a honor, not a game. So many people don't have the opportunity to attend college.
The money factor
I was given substantial grant aid from Princeton University, which leaves me and my family to pay a relatively small amount of the tuition bill.
ROAD TO COLLEGE
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