Nick - Georgetown University - Class of 2015
Hometown: Denver CO
High School: Private
GPA: 4.0 / 4.11 (weighted)
Goal: Explore an engineering career
Freshman Year Update
I have gloomy days where I miss home or old friends, but the great thing about college is that it's easy to find cool people to hang out with. I got a job at a student-run store and met some of my favorite people there. And now that flowers are blooming and everyone is out throwing Frisbees, studying, and hanging out, I'm reminded of my accepted student's weekend. The love I found then for this school has since multiplied. I honestly can't see myself being anywhere else. (Except maybe CU Boulder just because I really, really miss skiing.)
Sophomore Year Update
Classes in my major were noticeably tougher this year, and there were times when I considered giving up on physics. Changing some of my study habits helped. I had been hoping to study abroad in Argentina, but because I want to graduate in four years, I decided it was not in my best interests. Classes take up a lot of my time, but so do my friends, my fraternity (which I helped found a year ago), and the snack shop (where I was appointed director). Over the summer I got a full-time internship as a project management trainee with a mining company, which gave me valuable experience working in business administration. I am now considering whether or not I want to pursue an MBA in the future.
At first my competitive nature drove me to consider only schools with the most recognizable names and highest rankings. But in the end, it turned out that prestige hardly mattered.
I am so going to Dartmouth
The summer after my sophomore year, a friend and I went to look at some New England colleges just to see what appealed to us. One of these schools was Dartmouth, where I spent a week at a lacrosse camp. I fell in love with the campus. It was in a setting much like the mountain towns I have grown up visiting. I love winter sports and figured that I would get my fair share of wintertime fun. Dartmouth even had its own ski hill!
While my friend and I tossed a Frisbee in the quad, it hit me how much I wanted to spend four years there. I applied for an early decision, encouraged by a family friend who works in Dartmouth admissions. My interview went extremely well. I was absolutely sure that I would be accepted.
High and dry with no Plan B
At 3 p.m. on December 10, I checked my Dartmouth account. I felt my soul sink in my body. The first three words said it all. I had been deferred. They made it clear that very few deferred applicants are eventually accepted. Heavy-hearted, I cranked out the rest of my applications. On "Ivy Day," when everyone hears from the Ivy League schools, I opened up my Princeton portal to see what I had expected: Denied. Next was my Dartmouth decision. I clung to hope, but there it was: Denied.
Now I was stumped. I had been so set on Dartmouth, I had no idea where I wanted to go. I stepped into the Georgetown accepted student weekend with zero expectations. Big surprise—the campus blew my mind! I loved everything about it, especially the big-city experience. Plus, they made a big effort to make me feel wanted, including putting me in touch with students in my major. Other factors were persuasive, such as their vast alumni network. And, I hate to admit, it is also going to be nice to have a high-profile sports team to cheer on.
So as it turned out, I didn't realize what I wanted in a college until the very end of the admission process. I had set my sights on the first college I took seriously, falling for the allure of an Ivy League reputation and a rural setting that felt like home. But now I know that I am ready for a completely different experience.
My ups and downs
The only problem with Georgetown was the aid offer. It was not enough. My dad made it sound like we couldn't afford even in-state tuition. However, my mother is an optimist. She kept telling me they could make it work.
My Dartmouth denial made me feel that I had utterly disappointed the people who were so sure I would be accepted. But the good thing about being denied is that it is humbling and requires a certain level of maturity to handle. If you don't have that maturity at first, getting turned down sure gives you some of it.
What I learned
Visiting schools after being accepted is great. You have a different perspective when you know that you can attend if you choose. Also, you get to see a lot more of the school on the accepted students' tours. Talking to students at the schools I was considering was extremely helpful, too. They gave me the best view of what it is really like to go to those schools, good and bad.
As nice as it might be to finish the college application process early, and to know where you are going in mid-December, I think the choice is best made at the end of senior year. By then you have a better idea of what you want to do in college. Also, applying later keeps you focused through the rest of your senior year so you don't risk getting your admission rescinded.
The money factor
A week before the May 1 decision deadline, my mom received a call from the head financial aid officer at Georgetown. She upped the offer just a bit and said that was all she could do for this year.
My mother explained to me that things would be tight, that I would have to get a job to help contribute, but they could cover the first year. After that it could go either way, but they would do whatever they could to make sure it goes well.
ROAD TO COLLEGE
Student Stories - 2016
- Ally - Ohio State University - Class of 2016
- Emma - College of William and Mary - Class of 2016
- Jess - Binghamton University - Class of 2016
- Leyth - Pomona College - Class of 2016
- Michael - Northeastern University - Class of 2016
- Molly - Vassar College - Class of 2016
- Shaquilla - Harvard College - Class of 2016
- Tlalli - Yale University - Class of 2016
- Pablo - Amherst College - Class of 2016
- Kathleen - UC Berkeley - Class of 2016
- David - Vanderbilt University - Class of 2016
Student Stories - 2015
- Brenna - Iowa State University - Class of 2015
- Candace - U. of N. Carolina at Chapel Hill - Class of 2015
- Andrew - Penn State University Park - Class of 2015
- Nick - Georgetown University - Class of 2015
- Stephen - University of Pennsylvania - Class of 2015
- Stephanie - Stanford University - Class of 2015
- Jeremy - Boston University - Class of 2015
- Amy - Hillsdale College - Class of 2015
- Maggie - UCLA - Class of 2015
- Joseph - University of Vermont - Class of 2015
Student Stories - 2014
- Alexander - U. of Colorado Boulder - Class of 2014
- Alexandra - Indiana U. Bloomington - Class of 2014
- Gabrielle - Furman University - Class of 2014
- Linda - Grinnell College - Class of 2014
- Mario - Cal Poly Pomona - Class of 2014
- Matt - Carleton College - Class of 2014
- Michael - University of Maryland - Class of 2014
- Monica - Hiram College - Class of 2014
- Obianujo - The College of New Jersey - Class of 2014
- Philip - American University - Class of 2014
- Leslie - Wesleyan University - Class of 2014
Student Stories - 2013
- Jessica - Wellesley College - Class of 2013
- Jason - Univ. of Michigan - Class of 2013
- Daniel - Yale University - Class of 2013
- Melanie - Colby College - Class of 2013
- Anthony - University of Pittsburgh - Class of 2013
- Claire - Johns Hopkins University - Class of 2013
- David - University of Chicago - Class of 2013
- Eric - UC San Diego - Class of 2013
- John - Pomona College - Class of 2013
- Umbar - Cornell University - Class of 2013
- Kira - Swarthmore College - Class of 2013
- Joelle - Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison - Class of 2013
- Mark - Union College - Class of 2013
- Uddit - U.S. Air Force Academy - Class of 2013
- Julia - University of Florida - Class of 2013
- Justin - University of Georgia - Class of 2013
- Stacy - Cal Poly San Luis Obispo - Class of 2013
- Briton - Hobart College - Class of 2013
Student Stories - 2012
- Roy - Calif. Maritime Acad. / UC Irvine - Class of 2012
- Kirsten - Chapman / UC Davis - Class of 2012
- Ashley - Mount Holyoke College - Class of 2012
- Marquis - Princeton University - Class of 2012
- Pauline - Seattle University - Class of 2012
- Sundiata - Univ. of Mass. Amherst - Class of 2012
- James - Villanova University - Class of 2012
Student Stories - 2011
Student Stories - 2010
- Daniela - Bates College - Class of 2010
- Renata - Brown University - Class of 2010
- Megan - Denison University - Class of 2010
- Catlin - Harvard College - Class of 2010
- Catherine - Reed College - Class of 2010
- Matthew - Syracuse University - Class of 2010
- Danielle - UCLA - Class of 2010
- Stephanie - University of Illinois - Class of 2010
- Sam - University of Washington - Class of 2010
- Jeffrey - Washington and Lee Univ. - Class of 2010
Student Stories - 2009
Live Well and Prosper
On the road to college? Make it easier with timely tips and expert advice - free. Find out more.
Sign up today!