Jessica - Wellesley College - Class of 2013
Hometown: Gig Harbor WA
High School: Public
GPA: 3.97 / 4.52 (weighted)
Major: Philosophy/prelaw (formerly premed)
Goal: Law school
Freshman Year Update
My plans have definitely turned around. I entered thinking I was going to be premed or maybe business and premed. But reanalyzing my strengths, abilities, and passions, I found that maybe premed is not the wisest decision. I've since been aggressively seeking out the prelaw track and I'm thrilled!
The best advice I could give to new undergraduates is, go with the flow! I was prepared to follow my plans to a tee. But after meeting people, taking amazing classes, and seeing all the various opportunities I could take advantage of, my eyes have been opened. When you can step back and see the grand scheme of things, it's a lot easier to de-stress, prioritize, and enjoy the ride.
Sophomore Year Update
As junior year creeps up, I am speedily realizing how short my time in college will be, and it's quite scary! Stress about studying abroad, GPA, grades, and balancing a personal life with an academic one never seems to end. I have a definite sense of being a college student with real responsibilities. I am also no longer premed, but am now fervently on the prelaw track. I'm very excited; I'm confident in my choice; and I'm even more reassured than ever that I can succeed in my goals!
Looking back, there are several reputable schools in New York City that I sincerely regret not applying to (i.e. Columbia). I still long for the big-city, big-lights dynamic! Hopefully I will get that experience when I attend a law school in New York after graduation!
Junior Year Update
This year has definitely been one of my better ones, largely because I changed my major to philosophy with a minor in German. Another "up" is that I am writing this update in Berlin, Germany where I am studying for a semester! I don't plan to go directly to law school. I would like to grow up a little first and experience the working world before I jump into the isolating and excruciatingly difficult world of law school. I hope to find a job somewhere abroad after college and study for my LSAT in the meantime.
Senior Year Update
Since I found something I'm passionate about, my academics have never been better, but it has been difficult working against "senioritis syndrome." Outside school, I interned at a local law firm, which gave me perspective on ways to use the skills I've gained at college. It is intimidating to think about breaking into the workforce, but at Wellesley I have gained a lot of tools for my future. I'm definitely a better student, a better woman, and I have more focus in my life. Had I attended another school, I'm not sure I would have the same toolbox. I wish I had been more integrated in a city environment, but I'm positive that a small school was right for me.
I see myself as both an artist and a student of science. I knew that I would have to make a decision between the two. I wanted schools that would accommodate my dilemma and offer me opportunities that would help me decide.
A name-brand college with the following qualities, please
I started my college search early, but when it came time to apply, I realized I was looking at colleges based only on their fame. I needed to understand the specific college qualities that would best suit me. After some introspection, I decided to pursue both the arts and the sciences. I realized that I was constantly asking questions in class and needed close access to my teachers. I also needed a location where I could take courses at other colleges and easily find internships. I considered both universities and liberal arts colleges that met all these needs. I tried to filter out the prestige of a school, but I also believed that a college is famous for a reason. Name brand remained a large factor in my decision-making.
Wellesley comes into play
In truth, I was sure that I would be going to USC. I loved the fact that it was in L.A. I thought it would be perfect for studying both art and science. And I was thrilled to receive a half-ride scholarship. To be honest, Wellesley was not a school that pulled me in. I thought I might flounder academically. In the end, however, I realized its location outside Boston offered many opportunities, such as cross-registering at MIT for neuroscience courses. I was also won over by its small classes. I want to feel comfortable voicing my thoughts and asking seemingly pointless questions without being too embarrassed. The fact that it is an all-women's college was intimidating at first, but I realized that, after a night on the town in Boston, I would be coming back to a huge family of girls where I would feel at home and completely relaxed.
Another factor was campus visits. I was so pulled by California, sun, and the idea of a dynamic city right at my doorstep. However, I am someone who likes peace and quiet, the woods, walks in the evening, and being able to let my guard down. Visiting Wellesley's 500-acre woodland campus helped me visualize myself at the school and ended up being extremely helpful.
My ups and downs
High school wiped me out, plus I had a lot of personal issues. By the end, I was drained. I look forward to college as a fresh start to rejuvenate my enthusiasm for understanding humanity and the world around us. I want to have an actual social life other than Facebook. I know that I am going to meet so many people from different walks of life who all have a story to share. I want the relationships I form in college to make me a better person so I can give back to the world all it has given to me so far.
What I learned
I underestimated myself. I could have broadened my horizons, trusted my abilities, and applied to some more schools. I played it a little safe, and I wish I hadn't. I didn't want to be disappointed and I didn't want to be overwhelmed with applications to fill out.
The application process seems hard while you're in the middle of it, but it flies by. Plan early, find out what you might want to do, get an idea of who you are as a person, figure out what kind of student you are, and view the application process as just a way for the admissions people to get to know you. No matter what, you will succeed.
I also got significant advice from relatives who had gone from rags to riches and truly knew the pathway to success through academics. They said that the most important thing is not just learning the material, but learning how to learn and learning to have passion for discovery.
The money factor
I received grant money, student loans, scholarships, and work-study. My parents and family will be paying for the remaining amount. My father works for a bank, and in this time of economic hardship, I wanted to make a fiscally responsible choice. At times, I still look back at the money USC offered me and I hear a small voice questioning whether I should have just taken that money. However, I believe that with hard work, Wellesley's prestigious name and alumni network can truly pay off for me in the future.
ROAD TO COLLEGE
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