Michael - Northeastern University - Class of 2016
Hometown: Barnstable MA
High School: Public
GPA: 3.75 / 4.29 (weighted)
Goal: A career in business
Freshman Year Update
You have to learn how to make college a second home, even with a small room and the bathroom down the hall. I found it easy to make friends because everyone is in the same boat. People went around saying hello to all their new neighbors, and I was introduced to more clubs than you can imagine. By the end of the first month I had a solid group of friends with more on the way. What else? I really appreciate not having class after class after class. Some days I don't have class and have plenty of time to complete assignments. Another thing I like about college is being somewhere new. I grew up in a suburb and am now in a city and it's great. Also, I underestimated the cost of books and spent over $500 this semester. Some people have to spend that much on just one book! Don't forget to budget for this expense.
I was heavily influenced by one thing—getting in. My brother was waitlisted almost everywhere and denied from his first choice. I didn't want to go through that. I just wanted to apply early admission to one college and get in. I didn't want to worry about nine different schools. I just wanted it to be easy. But of course, nothing is ever easy.
Things change like you wouldn't believe
I have always been an honors student, but part of me hated the classes, hated the structure, and longed for college to be different. In my junior year, I picked a small college in upstate New York as my first choice just because it had no required core curriculum. And I looked for other colleges like it to add to my list.
I ended up not applying to any of those colleges, however. Why? Visiting that top-choice college changed everything. Small and remote was not for me! If I had not visited, without a doubt I would have applied early decision, and then been stuck and miserable. This is something that happens a lot in the college process. Things change like you wouldn't believe.
It dawned on me that the most important question is, "Where will I be happy?" The answer for me was Boston. Going to that city makes me feel at home; it just seems right. I was familiar with Boston College because my brother went there, so Boston College became my top choice. Without even seeing it, it just seemed perfect, like it was already my school. I applied for an early action decision.
Everything happens for a reason?
The day the deferral letter came from Boston College, I was a wreck. I was convinced someone better would apply and take my spot. I wasn't good enough. I felt like I failed. But as I learned more about my next choice, Northeastern, I realized that it was even better for my intended business major. Northeastern is famous for its co-op program. This meant I would get top-notch internships as part of my education. This was the "different" college I wanted all along—if I had only realized it from the beginning.
Ironically, I was later accepted to BC. And my girlfriend told me something then that I'll never forget. She said, "See? Everything happens for a reason. You were always good enough to get into BC, you just weren't meant to go there." And I really believe that now. You will go where you're meant to go, and so there really is no need to worry.
My ups and downs
My worst moment was when I realized that I forgot to send my SAT scores to Boston College. I freaked out because the rush delivery had a chance of not making the deadline. It did, thankfully! But that was probably the most nerve-racking week of my life—every day checking my e-mail to see if my scores made it, checking my portal, and just hoping every day. My best moment was when my girlfriend got into her top choice. Just seeing her that happy kept me going.
What I learned
I was all too sure about what I wanted. I applied impulsively, trying to avoid the stress my brother experienced. Luckily, that first college visit pointed me in the right direction. But I should have done more research and visiting in order to build a list of colleges like Northeastern.
Fortunately for me, I ended up at a college that is a great choice, even if it wasn't my top choice. Things can change along the way as you figure out what you want in a college. The college that turns you down might not be the best place for you after all. And another that does accept you might end up having everything you truly need. This should comfort anyone who is going through the very difficult, frustrating, and emotionally trying process of applying to college.
The money factor
My parents are paying for most of the college cost. Since Northeastern has the co-op program, the money I earn through co-op jobs will go towards tuition, and my summer jobs will go toward books. I have also applied for a number of scholarships.
Just remember to plan your time thoroughly and to really think things over before choosing where to apply and, more importantly, where to go.
ROAD TO COLLEGE
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