Daniela - Bates College - Class of 2010
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Each campus visit showed me different aspects of college life, which helped me see what I liked and didn't like. If I liked a certain thing about one school, I looked for it in other schools.

Supporting community is very important to me. In my college essays, I wrote about continuing to serve my high school as an advisor for their 300th anniversary celebration in 2009. I explained that for me, a college is not just a place for learning. I want to invest in every facet of my college's community

Hometown: New York NY

High School: Public

GPA: 3.34 / 4.24 (weighted)

SAT: 2080

Major: Political Science and Economics

Goal: Work abroad



Tufts University (ED)Denied
Bowdoin CollegeDenied
Bates CollegeWaitlisted/ Attending
Boston CollegeDenied
St. Andrews (Scotland)Accepted
Carnegie Mellon UniversityAccepted
George Washington UniversityWaitlisted
Denver UniversityAccepted
Freshman Year Update

I think college has turned out mostly how I expected, though life here took a bit of getting used to. I took a heavy economics course load, a subject I'd never taken before. Although it was challenging I am continuing to enjoy it. When choosing Bates, one of the biggest factors was that people here seemed nicer than at any other school that I saw. This has proven true, not just on the surface but also during hard times. I had some idea of what I'd like to do while here, but my time here continues to help me to solidify where I hope to find myself down the road.

Sophomore Year Update

I've been having a lovely time at Bates thus far. I've declared a politics major with minors in French and economics. I am active in the college's planning for future growth and expansion, leading student participation in the architecture steering project. I am also president of the Italian club and an admissions tour guide, among other things. The cold continues to be a big adjustment but I try to trudge through it. I plan to study abroad next spring in Switzerland.

Junior Year Update

My junior year went well. I was on campus the first semester, and for the second semester I went abroad to Fribourg, Switzerland, which is a small city outside of Bern, the capital. Having taken French since I was nine, it was nice to go someplace where I could speak French on a regular basis. I have decided to concentrate my major on political economy with minors in economics and French. I am already starting my senior thesis on the international political and economic impact of banking secrecy.

Learning from a big range of choices

My counselor proposed some schools based on a personality and interest assessment, my parents had a few suggestions, and others I found online or through guidebooks. All of my college application choices made sense to me, but some saw them as a broad and muddled range, from big, urban, research universities, to small, isolated colleges.

But I was still trying to figure out what I wanted. Each campus visit showed me different aspects of college life, which helped me see what I liked and didn't like. Location and size turned out to be important to me. I wanted to be a big fish in a small pond. I live in a somewhere place (New York), but I liked small schools in the middle of nowhere. I didn't like campuses that were so urban they had their own stop on the subway. I felt uncomfortable with unstructured curricula. And I did not want to be close to home. I had spent summers in New England and very much wanted to return there for college.

If I liked a certain thing about one school, I looked for it in other schools. I loved the sense of community and school spirit at Dartmouth, even though I did not apply there. I looked for such spirit at other schools.

Choosing what feels right

My final choice was a difficult one. My mother felt that I should make my decision based solely on the reputation of a college. She wanted Carnegie Mellon, a big research university. Dad was rooting for his alma mater, Denver University. But I decided to weigh my own feelings about a college equally with its reputation.

In the end, I picked Bates, a small liberal arts college in Lewiston, Maine. What I noticed about Bates was that everyone was so happy to be there. The school spirit was incredibly positive. I saw people out on the first day of finals serving hot chocolate in the middle of a snow storm. I can hardly wait to get involved with the Bates community.

My ups and downs

An SAT test prep class helped me tremendously. I learned how to take the test and to see what I was doing wrong. My critical reading score alone improved by 140 points.

I was really upset when I was not accepted early to Tufts. When would the insanity end? It turned out that the admissions people at Tufts knew more about me at the time than I did. My chosen college, Bates, is almost the opposite of Tufts! Both are excellent schools. It's just that I found out late in the game what worked for me.

What I learned

When I visited a college, I tried to think as if I were going there. How did that make me feel? I would check out the students and ask myself, why would I want to go to school with you? I should have done more of this way of thinking before I applied.

I did a lot of the application work over the summer before my senior year, completing the Common Application and writing many supplemental essays. This gave me lots of time to prepare and get it all done as perfectly as possible.

I kept a spreadsheet in which I rated each college in areas important to me: curriculum, food, housing, social life, location, reputation, and even levels of sports. Keeping organized really helped my stress level.

The money factor

Though I was offered merit scholarships from some of the schools to which I applied, I focused more on my desire to attend a school than on the financial aspects. I am fortunate that my parents will be able to cover my college costs.