Hometown: Chicago IL
High School: Public
GPA: 3.93 / 5.0 (weighted)
Major: International Relations
Goal: Learn more about myself and my interests
When I was doing my applications, my mother was in the hospital. I felt like quitting the whole thing! But my mother's strength in the midst of hardships has helped me in all my struggles, including this one. In my essays, I wrote about how my mother and my grandmother have inspired me to become a passionate and hardworking student.
For a long time, my ideal college was Howard University, a prestigious historically black university. Many people told me it was an excellent school and that I would fit in there. But I didn't want to just fit in. I wanted to be somewhere that would force me outside of my comfort zone.
I picked a group of colleges that matched my interests in international relations and performing arts and language. I also knew that I didn't want to be in Illinois nor in the Midwest. I was drawn to the East. I found interesting colleges on websites, in brochures, or from recommendations from current students or recent grads.
I thought being denied by schools would be a way to narrow down my choices. Unfortunately (and fortunately!), I was accepted to all 11 schools to which I applied. When I got over my shock, I narrowed my college choices to two schools: Howard and Brown. Northwestern was tempting academically. But I really wanted to leave Illinois. NYU was intriguing too, but I wanted more of a campus-centered life. Frankly, I was not as serious about the other colleges on my list.
During April, I visited Howard and Brown. I loved both schools but felt Brown was a better fit. My visit there was more serious. Brown held academics fairs and a career panel. They showcased different campus organizations I might join. I liked everything about the schoolstudents, facilities, atmosphere, course availability, extracurricular activities, food, even Brown's surrounding city, Providence. Brown has an open curriculum, in which you can freely take courses you have an interest in. I knew I would be able to challenge myself. The financial aid package was very generous, so Brown was within my reach.
I felt totally taxed doing my apps. On top of dealing with my mother's situation, I had many projects for my International Baccalaureate program. Filling out scholarship applications was distracting too. After two acceptances, however, I calmed down.
I spent hours trying to write a personal statement (especially in 500 words) that would capture my creativity as well as my passion for education, performing arts, and language. I got caught up in trying to impress admissions officers. A counselor from the Collegiate Scholars Program at the University of Chicago gave me a blueprint for writing down my qualities. She had me set deadlines, and then she called on those dates. I did not want to disappoint her. She was a big help.
I had many friends going to Howard. They were upset when I chose Brown. But I had to choose what I wanted and not go along with others.
It was important to have people around to support me. Sometimes I get a little dramatic when I am stressed. My grandmother and my friends really encouraged me and told me that I would make it through.
I applied to too many schools on a whim. I had a fee waiver, so it was easy. I knew in my heart the schools I was interested in. I feel ashamed, honestly. Applying to schools you don't want is unfair to applicants who want those schools.
Surprisingly, money was not a huge factor in my decision. I was confident that I would go to college without depleting the few financial resources my mom had. A lot of the schools I applied to awarded me generous financial aid packages. I also applied for numerous scholarships and got one. I only have to pay a few thousand a year for my college education.