Hometown: Grosse Pt. Park, MI
High School: Public
GPA: 3.87 / 3.91 (weighted)
Major: Computer science
Goal: Learn as much about writing code as possible
Starting out, I had just one college in mind—Michigan Tech. Not only were a bunch of my friends going there, it was renowned for computer science, and it had a hockey stadium and ski hill! Since I had higher stats than friends who went there, I thought my chances of getting in were good. I didn't see the need to apply anywhere else.
My parents, however, continued to bother me about applying to other colleges, even creating a vast spreadsheet comparing the different costs and rankings. So, I halfheartedly started applications to my parent's top choices: Clarkson University and University of Notre Dame. I knew little about Clarkson. And even though my brother went to Notre Dame, I had no interest in going there. For one, it was a religiously affiliated college, and I am not very religious.
When decisions trickled in, I was denied by Notre Dame and accepted by Clarkson. Best of all, I was accepted to Michigan Tech, so I thought I was done. But when the financial aid packages came in, the numbers didn't add up. I would need to take out an enormous loan to attend either school. I appealed for more aid, but was turned down. Now I didn't know what to do.
Then my parents reminded me about Xavier. The school had called several times, inviting me to apply. The only thing I knew about Xavier was that it was a Jesuit school, which to me only meant it was religious. My parents thought I should send my application anyway and see if they might offer more aid. So, I applied.
With just one week before the deposit deadline, my mom and I went to Xavier and met with my admissions counselor—who told me that they hadn't received my application, ACT score, or FAFSA! This news almost sent my mom to the hospital! After a few frantic phone calls home, my dad faxed the papers over while I went on the tour.
I thought Xavier's campus was beautiful. The students and faculty were friendly and approachable. Even though the school is in a large city (Cincinnati), the campus wasn't intimidating at all. And when I asked my tour guide how religion influenced the academic program, I learned that the college focuses more on community service than on studying biblical concepts. I found this reassuring.
After the tour, I stopped by the admissions office again, and my counselor told me I had been accepted! I was impressed that they processed my application that quickly. It made me feel like they really wanted me. They also came through with enough financial aid for me to attend. After everything I saw and experienced on the tour, my decision was easy.
The highlight of my admissions experience was meeting a computer science professor at Clarkson. I walked in when he and a student were discussing a problem on a dry-erase board. The student was really excited about figuring out the solution—and he was leading the discussion as much as the professor was! I knew I wanted that same level of interaction with my professors.
Getting my financial aid offers was the lowest point. It was depressing to realize that I would have to go into more debt than I wanted to.
My parents were by far my most helpful resource during the application process and gave me the best advice. If it weren't for them, I would never have applied to Xavier. I only wish I had listened to them and applied to a few more colleges so I wouldn't have felt so stuck when I found out my financial aid was insufficient.
Xavier's financial aid package covers about two thirds of the overall cost. I will cover the rest with loans, scholarships, and earnings from summer employment.
If you can, visit any college you are considering. You'd be surprised just how much a visit to campus will affect your outlook. And, listen to your parents—especially if they have applied to college themselves. Even if they haven't, they know you better than you think they do.