Hometown: Erial NJ
High School: Private
GPA: 4.0 / 5.0 (weighted)
Major: Business Management
Goal: Law school or MBA
*Writing score not included
Because I am paying for college myself, I managed the whole process myself. It seemed scary starting out. I was the first in my family to go to college. I didn't understand what colleges were looking for and how to present myself to them. But as I worked through my applications, I was really surprised to learn how independent I could be. If I can do that, I told myself, I can live on my own.
I had some exposure to an actual college campus when I went to the New Jersey Boys State Conference at Rider University. I liked Rider, but it was too close to home. I wanted to experience what it would be like to live immersed in a big city far from home. Boston was my top city, so I applied to Boston College and Boston University. I also became interested in American University, since it was in another city I liked, Washington, DC. The CollegeData site showed me I was likely to get in there, so I applied.
When I visited Boston College, I realized that being close to a city was not enough for me. BC is about half an hour outside Boston. I wanted to be smack in the middle of a city. Boston University has an urban campus. The whole city is accessible on public transportation. Sure, the campus is not that prettyit is mostly cementbut I felt right at home there.
So I chose Boston University. First, it was my number one school. Second, it was the only school that offered me financial aid. The award was like the icing on the cake. I got into my number one with aid, so I was ecstatic. My other choice, American University, offered no aid at all.
The most challenging part of applying to colleges was keeping focused. I took my time filling out applications and researching schools. The college application class I took senior year was a big help holding my feet to the fire. We had to fill out apps, write an essay, research colleges and careers, and apply to three schools. This helped me get going.
Before I got my BU offer, I was turned down for all scholarships and aid, even at my dad's work, which I was counting on. My first acceptance was American University, and they did not offer any aid. The $45,000-per-year price tag was pretty scary.
Don't drag your feet with your applications. The sooner you turn them in, the better. You can relax, and it might improve your chances of getting in and getting financial aid.
I am paying for school myself through loans (90%), grants, and part-time work as an intramural sports referee here at BU. The financial aid was not the most important factor but helped to solidify my decision to go to BU.