Amy - Hillsdale College - Class of 2015

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If trying my hardest wasn't good enough to get me in, it simply meant that the school was not right for me.

My dad's one rule is that I should not back down from a challenge. So going into the application season, I decided to go for two colleges that were absolute long shots for me.

Hometown: Crownsville MD

High School: Private

GPA: 3.89

SAT: 2100

ACT: 31

Major: Christian studies

Goal: Work in the ministry



Hillsdale CollegeAttending
Belmont Abbey CollegeAccepted
Benedictine CollegeAccepted
Catholic University of AmericaAccepted
College of William and MaryDenied
Franciscan University of SteubenvilleAccepted
Georgetown University (EA)Waitlisted
University of San DiegoAccepted
Freshman Year Update

I was homesick last semester, but then found a home away from home with my sorority. I have gotten involved with volunteer programs on campus as well. Classes at Hillsdale are challenging, however, so I have focused on making sure that academics come first in my life. Part of me now wishes I hadn't stressed out so much about deciding. This school is the best fit for me.

Senior Year Update

Although it was academically challenging, I am very happy I chose Hillsdale. I have been blessed by rich friendships, caring professors, and positive classroom dynamics. And, Hillsdale has been very generous with financial aid throughout my four years.

But if I could do college over, I might take a gap year to truly consider what I wanted to study. After volunteering in public schools, I realized I wanted to work in education and switched my major to math—which was a bit of a struggle. As a result, I won't be graduating on time, but luckily I can continue my teacher training while I finish school. In the future, I would love to start my own classical charter school.

Aiming high for Georgetown

I applied for early admission to Georgetown University and regular admission to The College of William and Mary. I decided that if trying my hardest wasn't good enough to get me in, it would simply mean that the school was not right for me. I picked Georgetown for its proximity to home, its challenging academics, and its diverse culture. I chose William and Mary for its beautiful campus and its academics.

However, my dad and I soon added another school to my list: Hillsdale College. The sister of a friend of mine was a junior there, and she loved the school. So I applied and promptly forgot about it. The rest of my schools were recommended by people at my church and were my backups.

Deferred, waitlisted, and denied—now what?

The woman who interviewed me for Georgetown made the experience so enjoyable, I left with the hope that I might be a good fit there. When my deferral letter arrived, I was stunned. I broke down in tears and then coped with my sorrow by finishing up my William and Mary application. Over Christmas break, my mother stood behind me and forced me to finish my last essay. Several months went by. I got a job at a coffee shop, I performed in my school's musical, and I got my driver's license. I heard from Hillsdale. I had been accepted. I was glad, but I didn't take it seriously at all.

Then over spring break came good news and bad news. The good news first: I visited Hillsdale College and fell in love immediately! I loved the sense of family on campus. As I walked around the college, students introduced themselves to me and encouraged me to look at different clubs on campus. The academics at Hillsdale are excellent, with small classes and the opportunity to forge great relationships with professors.

Now for the bad news. About a week later, I got a waitlist letter from Georgetown. I decided promptly that I would go to Hillsdale and turned down the waitlist offer. Two days later I heard back from William and Mary. I had been rejected. But I soon recovered. I was going to Hillsdale College in the fall and was very excited about it!

My ups and downs

Although I had mentally prepared myself for rejection, I was extremely disappointed at the deferral from Georgetown. When I opened the letter, I was helping at my little sister's birthday party and had to hide my disappointment for several hours. That made the disappointment that much stronger.

I was lucky to have had the support of my parents the whole time. Several friends of mine struggled with the expectations of their parents, which made the application process a very negative experience for them. I actually enjoyed my experience!

What I learned

I took a chance, applied to big name schools, and dealt with not getting in. I encourage other seniors to take a risk and try something new. Also, enjoy your senior year. Spend time with your family. It passes way too quickly, and the next thing you know, you're meeting your roommate and saying goodbye to your parents. Enjoy these last few months of security!

The money factor

I received $27,000 in merit-based scholarships. My parents are covering whatever isn't covered by my scholarships.

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