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Nick - Georgetown University - Class of 2015

student photo

Visiting schools after being accepted is great. You see them differently when you know you can choose to attend.

At first my competitive nature drove me to consider only schools with the most recognizable names and highest rankings. But in the end, it turned out that prestige hardly mattered.

Hometown: Denver CO

High School: Private

GPA: 4.0 / 4.11 (weighted)

SAT: 2090

ACT: 33

Major: Physics

Goal: Explore an engineering career

College

Status

Georgetown UniversityAttending
Bowdoin CollegeWaitlisted
Carleton CollegeAccepted
Dartmouth College (ED)Denied
Lehigh UniversityAccepted
Middlebury CollegeAccepted
Princeton UniversityDenied
University of Colorado at Boulder (EA)Accepted
University of RichmondAccepted
University of VirginiaAccepted
Whitman CollegeAccepted
Freshman Year Update

I have gloomy days where I miss home or old friends, but the great thing about college is that it's easy to find cool people to hang out with. I got a job at a student-run store and met some of my favorite people there. And now that flowers are blooming and everyone is out throwing Frisbees, studying, and hanging out, I'm reminded of my accepted student's weekend. The love I found then for this school has since multiplied. I honestly can't see myself being anywhere else. (Except maybe CU Boulder just because I really, really miss skiing.)

Sophomore Year Update

Classes in my major were noticeably tougher this year, and there were times when I considered giving up on physics. Changing some of my study habits helped. I had been hoping to study abroad in Argentina, but because I want to graduate in four years, I decided it was not in my best interests. Classes take up a lot of my time, but so do my friends, my fraternity (which I helped found a year ago), and the snack shop (where I was appointed director). Over the summer I got a full-time internship as a project management trainee with a mining company, which gave me valuable experience working in business administration. I am now considering whether or not I want to pursue an MBA in the future.

Junior Year Update

Having a ton of friends go abroad (and seeing them on Facebook gallivanting across Europe or South America) was particularly brutal. But I made some amazing new friends. I also took the most difficult classes in my major, and worked 15-20 hours a week at the snack shop, which is one of the things I am most passionate about at Georgetown.

I have been thinking about what to do after I graduate. I am torn between a desire to travel and wanting to find a cool job. Hopefully I can figure out a way to do both. In the meantime, the reality of my student loan debt has kicked in, so I am setting funds aside and looking for a summer job.

Senior Year Update

I didn't have a job lined up at the beginning of the year, but I knew I wanted to find work that gave me the same pride and ownership that I felt directing the campus snack shop. And I think I found it. I accepted a fellowship with Venture for America, where I'll be working for a startup company somewhere in the U.S. for the next two years. I'm also going to rural Argentina this summer to do a feasibility study for a newly-funded agricultural product I helped develop. I couldn't be more excited!

With graduation looming, I have a renewed interest in my classes, but I'm also trying to spend more time with my friends. I've loved my time at Georgetown. Looking back, I find it hard to imagine I wanted to go anywhere else.

Destined for Dartmouth

The summer after my sophomore year, a friend and I went to look at some New England colleges just to see what appealed to us. One of these schools was Dartmouth, where I spent a week at a lacrosse camp. I fell in love with the campus. It was in a setting much like the mountain towns I have grown up visiting. I love winter sports and figured that I would get my fair share of wintertime fun. Dartmouth even had its own ski hill!

While my friend and I tossed a Frisbee in the quad, it hit me how much I wanted to spend four years there. I applied for an early decision, encouraged by a family friend who works in Dartmouth admissions. My interview went extremely well, and I felt good about my chances of being accepted.

High and dry with no Plan B

At 3 p.m. on December 10, I checked my Dartmouth account. I felt my soul sink in my body. The first three words said it all. I had been deferred. They made it clear that very few deferred applicants are eventually accepted. Heavy-hearted, I cranked out the rest of my applications. On "Ivy Day," when everyone hears from the Ivy League schools, I opened up my Princeton portal to see what I had expected: Denied. Next was my Dartmouth decision. I clung to hope, but there it was: Denied.

Now I was stumped. I had been so set on Dartmouth, I had no idea where I wanted to go. I stepped into the Georgetown accepted student weekend with zero expectations. Big surprise—the campus blew my mind! I loved everything about it, especially the big-city experience. Plus, they made a big effort to make me feel wanted, including putting me in touch with students in my major. Other factors were persuasive, such as their vast alumni network. And, I hate to admit, it is also going to be nice to have a high-profile sports team to cheer on.

So as it turned out, I didn't realize what I wanted in a college until the very end of the admission process. I had set my sights on the first college I took seriously, falling for the allure of an Ivy League reputation and a rural setting that felt like home. But now I know that I am ready for a completely different experience.

My ups and downs

The only problem with Georgetown was the aid offer. It was not enough. My dad made it sound like we couldn't afford even in-state tuition. However, my mother is an optimist. She kept telling me they could make it work.

My Dartmouth denial made me feel that I had utterly disappointed the people who were so sure I would be accepted. But the good thing about being denied is that it is humbling and requires a certain level of maturity to handle. If you don't have that maturity at first, getting turned down sure gives you some of it.

What I learned

Visiting schools after being accepted is great. You have a different perspective when you know that you can attend if you choose. Also, you get to see a lot more of the school on the accepted students' tours. Talking to students at the schools I was considering was extremely helpful, too. They gave me the best view of what it is really like to go to those schools, good and bad.

As nice as it might be to finish the college application process early, and to know where you are going in mid-December, I think the choice is best made at the end of senior year. By then you have a better idea of what you want to do in college. Also, applying later keeps you focused through the rest of your senior year so you don't risk getting your admission rescinded.

The money factor

A week before the May 1 decision deadline, my mom received a call from the head financial aid officer at Georgetown. She upped the offer just a bit and said that was all she could do for this year.

My mother explained to me that things would be tight, that I would have to get a job to help contribute, but they could cover the first year. After that it could go either way, but they would do whatever they could to make sure it goes well.

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