Jeremy - Boston University - Class of 2015
student photo

I wasn't thrilled with my SAT score. But this did not stop me from applying to colleges where my grades were competitive.

Something inside of me didn't want to believe that I was actually going to college and leaving high school. On top of that, I had no clue what I was going to do in college. It was amazing how often people asked me what I was going to study.

Hometown: New York NY

High School: Private

GPA: 4.0 / 4.5 (weighted)

SAT: 1830

Major: Engineering

Goal: Gain the tools I need for success while enjoying what I love to do



Boston UniversityAttending
Cornell UniversityDenied
Manhattan CollegeAccepted
Northeastern UniversityWaitlisted
Penn State University ParkAccepted
Villanova UniversityWaitlisted
Freshman Year Update

My first year was great! I met many people and experienced things that I haven't done before. I visited some famous historical sites in Boston, such as Bunker Hill. One of the best things I did was to join a fraternity. It really boosted the social aspect of college and made me a part of something bigger than myself. I have made lifelong friends and learned to manage my time. I kept my GPA above a 3.0, but sometimes I felt extremely pressured. In college, doing poorly on a single exam can really bring your grade down. My suggestion to incoming freshman is to talk to your professors, especially if you have a large lecture. It helps a ton.

Fall of senior year and not a college in sight

At the beginning of my senior year, I decided to major in engineering. I have always enjoyed finding out how things worked. For example, I loved taking apart my paintball gun and figuring out how each part contributed to how it worked.

My guidance counselor showed me COLLEGEdata, and I used it to identify 20 colleges with strength in engineering, a large student body, and—except for Penn State and Cornell—the city environment I love.

I attended open houses for most of my colleges. I felt most at home on city campuses and on those campuses so big they felt like cities. Also, the student diversity at such colleges made me feel that there would be people I could relate to. Boston University, Northeastern, and Villanova had that "at home" feeling along with strength in my major. Everything just seemed right.

Good news, bad news, great news

I got two acceptances in short order along with some good financial aid offers. I then heard from Northeastern and Villanova, who both waitlisted me. I felt crushed after that. Those were two of my top choices! I began to really worry. If they waitlisted me, what about the others?

Finally, I heard from Boston University and Cornell University. Cornell denied me, which wasn't of much surprise since I considered it my reach school, but Boston University said yes! I was ecstatic. BU was one of my top choices. In addition to my acceptance, they also offered me a great financial aid package.

My ups and downs

Throughout high school I maintained a weighted GPA of 4.5, and took honors courses in every possible subject. I wasn't thrilled with my SAT score. As good a student as my grades prove I am, I performed poorly on the SATs, scoring only 1750 on my first try and 1830 on my second.

However, this did not stop me from applying to colleges where my grades were competitive, but my scores were average or lower compared to the stats of their enrolled students. I hoped that colleges would regard my grades as a better way to predict my success in college.

What I learned

If I had to do it over again, I would take SAT review classes instead of studying on my own. A classroom setting would have better prepared me for the SAT, and with higher scores, I would have had more college options available to me. I also would have started my college research much sooner.

COLLEGEdata was very useful in my application process. It helped me narrow down the number of schools I wanted to apply to and gave me an idea of where I might get accepted.

The money factor

I knew money would play a huge role in where I would attend. I was in constant fear that I would have to pick the school that offered me the most money and not the one I had my heart set on. Luckily, Boston University offered me $40,500 in financial aid. I am paying for the remainder with student loans.