Briton - Hobart College - Class of 2013
student photo

Ironically, Hobart—a safety school—turned out to be a perfect fit! In retrospect, I would have preferred it over three of my top four schools had I visited sooner.

I want to come out of college with the confidence to do a range of skilled tasks very well. I think the greatest measure of an individual is his or her ability to perform well in a number of areas simultaneously. That is the person I want to become.

Hometown: Fairview PA

High School: Public

GPA: 3.90 / 4.78 (weighted)

SAT: 1950

ACT: 31

Major: Engineering

Goal: To graduate as a person who takes initiative and has ambition



Hobart and William Smith Colleges Attending
Northwestern University Denied
University of Pennsylvania Denied
University of Virginia Denied
Washington & Jefferson College Accepted
Yale University Denied
Freshman Year Update

I am thrilled to have been able to start taking higher-level classes for my major. And feeling thrilled is important. In college it is your responsibility to get things done and to stay motivated, which is tough even with classes that you enjoy. No one is really pushing you, although the faculty may be very encouraging. I had always heard that college is a big step toward independence, and I have to agree.

Initially my plan was to pursue an engineering dual degree program. But I decided that I didn't want to be focused on a career path early in my studies. So I decided on a double major in physics and chemistry. I think that pursuing an uncommon but not narrowly focused education will help me get more job opportunities and get into graduate school.

A list of reaches with a couple of safeties

At first my biggest priority was getting into a top college with a strong science program. The college also had to seem like a place where students were really enthusiastic about attending. I narrowed my list down to four colleges that had other features that attracted me, such as nice dorms and a cross-country team. Then I applied to two more colleges I was pretty sure I would get into. The two "safety" schools I chose at first seemed like compromises. While one might not have the Ivy name recognition, or the other might not have the stunning dorms, these were trade-offs I had to make for the sake of a guaranteed acceptance.

I relied on my friends and online resources to help determine most of the colleges I would apply to. I also relied in part on student reviews. After all, who knows a college better than the students who attend it?

A safety school comes out on top

Hobart was not my number-one choice, or even in the top four. I applied because members of my family had gone there, and I thought that I had a solid chance of getting accepted. When I got waitlisted or rejected from my top-choice schools, I was left with Hobart and Washington & Jefferson. I visited each of them. Ironically Hobart, a safety school, turned out to be a perfect fit! In retrospect, I would have preferred it over three of my top four schools had I visited sooner.

From the moment I stepped out of my car and onto Hobart's campus, the atmosphere felt collegiate. And I felt that the people genuinely wanted to get to know the person behind the application. I couldn't stop saying "thanks" to each individual who helped along the way. One of the physics professors took time out of his schedule to see me at the last minute. He escorted me through the physics labs and explained, in detail, his research. To top it all off, the freshmen dorms were stunning and brand new. The deal clincher, however, was the 3-2 combined degree engineering program Hobart offers in collaboration with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Dartmouth College, and Columbia University. This program will allow me to get two bachelor's degrees. I will spend three years at Hobart getting a liberal arts degree and two years at one of the partner colleges getting an engineering degree.

I came armed with a battery of questions that I had asked at every college I visited. (Is there campus-wide WiFi? Are there dual major programs? How easy is it to have one-on-one time with professors? What sports are available?). In my previous visits to other colleges, the responses to these questions were often vague or ones that I didn't like. Hobart satisfied all my concerns.

My ups and downs

The most poignant disappointment was not getting into Yale. I had done almost everything I could to submit a shining application. Now, the disappointment does not seem so great. I am ecstatic about Hobart, and I have no regrets about choosing it over the other school I was accepted into, or any of the others.

I have always liked writing, but having to complete so many essays while so much else was happening in other parts of my life (academics, sports, theater) drove me crazy. In fact, I attribute a lot of my failure to get into Yale to a weak essay. By the time I had got to writing it, I was burnt out.

What I learned

Remember while going through the application process: there is an end in sight. During the whole first half of my senior year (before I caught senioritis), I was buried under a short list of huge obligations. That fall, I had to write a full play before November so that it would be put on in time, tackle a Mount Everest-sized pile of homework each night, work out for cross-country after school, and get my college essays finished—in my spare time. During the process, it was easy to lose sight of the "finish line." Of course, I crossed it sometime in January. Just in time.

The money factor

I am mostly covered by grants and scholarships thanks to a low EFC. I am covering what remains with federal loans. All my scholarships, besides those the school gave me by virtue of being a good student, came from local community sources.