Points for this activity were reversed because you removed the college from your Data Locker.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed the scholarship from your Data Locker.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed data to start your Admissions Profile.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed data to start your College List.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed SAT or ACT scores from your Admissions Profile.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed application details from your Admissions Profile.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed activities and awards from your Admissions Profile.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed your weighted GPA from your Admissions Profile.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed data to complete your Admissions Profile.

Linda - Grinnell College - Class of 2014

student photo

I know that colleges need to do it and it's not supposed to be torture—but getting put on four waitlists definitely feels like torture.

To be honest, I found college applications liberating. I could apply to schools all across the country. I could write essays about anything I wanted. Where I ended up would be the direct result of my own actions.

Hometown: Torrance CA

High School: Public

GPA: 3.8 / 4.4 (weighted)

SAT: 2260

ACT: 34

Major: Anthropology

Goal: Meet quirky, brilliant people; speak fluent French

College

Status

Grinnell CollegeAttending
Bowdoin College Waitlisted
Brandeis UniversityAccepted
Carleton CollegeWaitlisted
Dartmouth CollegeDenied
Lawrence University (EA)Accepted
Lewis & Clark College (EA)Accepted
Oberlin CollegeWaitlisted
Stanford UniversityDenied
University of California, BerkeleyAccepted
University of California, Los AngelesAccepted
Wesleyan UniversityWaitlisted
Freshman Year Update

I love being here. It's amazing to live and work with 1,600 like-minded souls. Of course, at a small school there are fewer majors, course offerings, and social opportunities. However, the lack of required classes, a warm and quirky student body, and friendly understanding professors more than make up for those problems.

My downs include losing touch with my best friend from home and sometimes feeling completely overwhelmed by school. Ups include rediscovering my passion for French, meeting my roommate, making good friends from all over the U.S. and the world, and—dare I say—falling in love. In the future, I want to get more involved with campus clubs and activities such as yoga, swing dance, politics, maybe even the swim team.

Carleton cookies or bust

Even though I researched over 40 schools, I knew that Carleton College was perfect for me. Carleton is in Minnesota, a state I've liked ever since I visited on a family vacation. And it is the setting of my favorite movie of all time, Fargo. Dumb reason, I know, but the list goes on. Carleton has a huge arboretum and two lakes. True nature is hard to come by in Southern California, and the idea of being able to walk on campus and be in a forest was utterly appealing. There is a house on campus donated by an alumnus who stipulated that it must always be stocked with supplies for baking cookies. To me, Carleton is a very special place.

I arrived home one day to find a big blue envelope propped against the door. It was from Brandeis, printed with a big "Congratulations!" But stuck behind the door was a small envelope from Carleton. I forced myself to open that letter, hands shaking, skimming for something to tell me all was not lost—but there it was: "I am sorry to tell you that we cannot offer you admission at this time. We would like to offer you a place on our Waiting List." That letter broke my heart. I opened my acceptance package from Brandeis, and didn't feel a thing. I saw the truly, wonderfully, amazingly generous financial aid offer, but I was numb. Carleton was THE school. It was the place I had seen myself ever since I had learned it existed.

Then came waitlist purgatory

After that, I got waitlisted at Wesleyan, Bowdoin, and Oberlin. The first two I was sad about—but I had never expected to get accepted. But Oberlin? Not only did I think I was academically well qualified, but an admissions counselor e-mailed me how impressed she was with my essay. Even their anthropology department wrote me. So the Oberlin waitlist completely blindsided me.

It came down to Grinnell, UCLA, and Brandeis. I visited UCLA and it was way too big and impersonal. Although Brandeis is a smaller university, I felt the same way about it. I missed that strong homey vibe I was looking for. And Grinnell had it. Everyone that I met in that tiny little school in the middle of Iowa was so nice, smart, quirky, funny, and interesting that after about three hours on campus I was sold. And besides—Grinnell has no required classes! Every class I take will be chosen by me for one reason and one reason only: it sounds interesting! I am beyond excited to experience that.

My ups and downs

I know that colleges need to do it and it's not supposed to be torture—but getting put on four waitlists definitely feels like torture. At first I couldn't even appreciate how lucky I was to get into some very fine colleges. "I can't believe I'm not going to Carleton," was all I could think. My dad bought me socks from the Carleton bookstore, and I had to hide them so I wouldn't be taunted with that blue and gold logo every time I got dressed.

Being accepted to UCLA was an amazing feeling. This pioneer, this national presence, this titan of both sports and academia, they wanted ME! But ultimately I had to admit that it was too big and impersonal for me to ever feel at home. After my visit to Grinnell I knew I'd been right all along, that a small liberal arts college was the best fit for me.

What I learned

At first I really had no idea that liberal arts colleges even existed, but as I began to look for colleges I couldn't help thinking, "Oh my gosh, this is exactly what I want." Small class sizes, wacky traditions, and yes, a tendency to attract nerdy, liberal, indie rock enthusiasts such as myself—that is what liberal arts college means to me, and that is exactly what I am looking forward to for the next four years.

A lot is said about that "moment" when you step onto the campus that is right for you. I expected fireworks or alarm bells going off. Instead, I simply felt at home walking around Grinnell. Looking at the students, talking to them, eating in the dining hall—every single second of it felt right. Fit doesn't have to feel magical. But it's true what they say: when you feel it, you know.

The money factor

I picked up a lot of financial aid from Grinnell, both merit-based and need-based, and I'm hoping to win a few small local scholarships as well. All told, Grinnell is costing my family less than a state school!

For Students Age 18 and Older

Have you received a Personal Invitation to apply for a Student Credit card?

Learn how to qualify for a Personal Invitation to apply for a Student Credit Card


1st Financial Bank believes students who pick colleges wisely will also want to learn how to use credit cards wisely.

College MatchFind the right colleges for you!
College ChancesWill you get in? Find out!
Admissions TrackerSee who got in where, who's applying & how you compare!
Financial Aid TrackerSee who's getting financial aid, how much & how you stack up.
Scholarship FinderFind money for college!
EFC CalculatorCalculate your Expected Family Contribution.
College Net Price CalculatorSee your true out-of-pocket cost to attend any college.
Compare Financial Aid AwardsFind out which college is offering you the best deal.
cd$ My Data Locker

You must be logged in to view your Data Locker Dashboard

Log in to see all of your saved colleges, scholarships, articles, profiles and searches in one place. Access your Dashboard from any page.

COLLEGEdata Dollars are
points you earn by
completing certain
COLLEGEdata activities

Ways to earn
COLLEGEdata Dollars:

  • Complete your Admissions Profile.
  • Add colleges to your College Choices.
  • Update your Admissions Statuses.
  • Use the College Match tool.

What are COLLEGEdata Dollars (CD$)?

COLLEGEdata Dollars (CD$) are points you earn by completing certain COLLEGEdata activities. The maximum number of CD$ you can redeem is 5000. Once you have earned at least 2500 CD$, you can redeem them for $25, which will be provided to you on a Loyalty Card, and once you earn another 2500 CD$, you can redeem those CD$ for a second $25, which will also be provided to you on a Loyalty Card.

Earn points and redeem them for
U.S. Dollars

Complete certain COLLEGEdata activities (for example, signing up, starting your Admissions Profile, searching for colleges, calculating your chances for admission, searching for scholarships, updating your Profile with your admission decisions). Each activity is worth a specific amount of points (CD$). You can redeem the points you earn for U.S. Dollars that will be issued to you in the form of a 1st Financial Bank USA Loyalty Mastercard®.

How do I earn COLLEGEdata Dollars?

You can earn CD$ by completing certain COLLEGEdata activities. As soon as you sign up and activate your COLLEGEdata account, explore COLLEGEdata and begin completing COLLEGEdata activities to earn points.

Here is a full list of COLLEGEdata activities for which you may earn CD$ and the number of CD$ you can earn by completing each activity.*

Activity
CD$
×
Congratulations!
+ CD$
You just earned COLLEGEdata Dollars!
Check your CD$ Dashboard at the bottom of the page to view your CD$ balance, find other activities that you can complete to earn CD$, and redeem the CD$ you have earned for U.S. Dollars.