Timothy - Morehouse College - Class of 2017
student photo

After I discussed my fears, hopes, and dreams, the admissions advisor said I was a "cool nerd." I was flattered!

One of my favorite Kanye West lyrics is "Reach for the stars, so if you fall, you land on a cloud." During my college search, I kept those lyrics in my mind. Columbia University was my star and Morehouse College became my cloud.

Hometown: Covington GA

High School: Public

GPA: 3.90 / 4.20 (weighted)

SAT: 1660

ACT: 24

Major: English

Goal: Study abroad, graduate summa cum laude

College

Status

Morehouse College (EA)Attending
Emory University Waitlisted
Emory at Oxford Accepted
Lenoir-Rhyne UniversityAccepted
New York University Denied
Freshman Year Update

Academics have been the biggest adjustment. While my classes are going well, they are intense and have a much higher work load. You need great management skills! Besides schoolwork, I've been writing for the school newspaper and for national magazines and websites, and singing in the glee club. I am also chairman of academic affairs for my residence hall. As such, I planned the college's first writers' conference after I realized that a lot of students had issues with writing. But the biggest surprise was being elected Freshman Man of the Year! It's a great and humbling honor. I think I've really flourished here.

I was worried that Morehouse wouldn't offer enough diversity, but I'm surprised by the variety and complexity of the students. Even though we are all black men, we are all very different with a diversity of human experiences.

Sophomore Year Update

My experience at Morehouse so far is a 10. It definitely is a perfect fit for me. Highlights this year include becoming an editor-at-large for the Huffington Post (and meeting Arianna Huffington!), and studying literary theory with a brilliant professor, which made my passion for my English major take a new form.

At times, my involvement in extracurricular activities negatively affected my academic standing, so I had to make some tough decisions about groups and classes. After that, I made the Dean's list.

As for "downs," my father lost his job at the beginning of this year, which created a lot of strain both emotionally and financially. In response, I heightened my search for outside scholarships and grants and won a national scholarship sponsored by Lexus. Next year, I plan to schedule a study abroad trip to France.

New York is the place to be

Many subjects interest me, but I love creative writing. I searched for colleges that ranked highly for "budding writers," but I also wanted academic excellence, an urban setting, internship and study abroad opportunities, and high graduate school placement. I wanted diversity, too—not just in terms of race, but also in terms of tolerance for LGBT students. I thought New York was where I needed to be. I could embark on different adventures in the "city that never sleeps." Therefore, Columbia University was my dream school followed by New York University thereafter.

When I received my disappointingly low SAT scores, I was devastated. Fearing rejection, I decided not to apply to Columbia. I sought more options. When I toured Emory, I had to pick my jaw off the ground! Emory had everything I wanted: an exquisite campus, more than 300 clubs, an a capella group, world-renown professors—even access to the original manuscript of The Color Purple! Plus, Emory was in Atlanta. While Atlanta is not New York, Atlanta is still a metropolitan city.

Then Morehouse happened

My pastor suggested his alma mater, Morehouse College, also in Atlanta. But, I did not think a historically black, all-men's college, would have the diversity I wanted. Then, I went for a visit. I was thoroughly impressed by not only the campus's charm and history, but also by the acclaimed faculty and humble students—including guys like me who are fascinated with the English language, rhetoric, and the unconquerable Beyoncé! After touring the Emerging Media Studies lab, sitting in on the world-renown glee club's rehearsal, and having an awesome interview with an admissions advisor, I was ready to attend "Da 'House!" And, I was relieved to know that if I did not get into NYU, I would be happy at either Emory or Morehouse.

Landing on a cloud

On December 17, I received my admissions decision from Morehouse. When I came home, my parents ambushed me, saying they were "so proud of me!" I figured they had heard from Morehouse and what they heard was good news. "Give me paperwork!" I shouted. "I have to see tangible evidence." I read the acceptance letter aloud. It was surreal. A dream was coming to fruition.

I waited until April to hear from Emory and NYU. When I received NYU's denial, I felt dejected and like a misfit toy that was not good enough to be played with. Then I was waitlisted at Emory but accepted to its smaller campus, Emory at Oxford. Students study at Oxford for two years and then transfer to Emory University. While I liked this idea, Oxford is only five minutes from my home and is not in a major city. So, that was it: I was going to be a Man of Morehouse!

I still wonder if Morehouse has the diversity I seek, but I am happy with my decision. I am looking forward to joining the glee club, the newspaper and literary magazine, the gay-straight alliance, and student activist groups. Plus, Morehouse's student exchange programs will let me attend NYU or Emory later if I want to. I have lots of options.

My ups and downs

I think my worst moment was seeing my SAT scores after taking a second test. I had studied for seven months, taken multiple practice tests, and scored in the top 90th percentile many times. But my scores still did not drastically improve. After a night of tears, my resilience and tenacity returned. I said The Serenity Prayer and hoped for a little serendipity and grace.

The best part of the admissions process was my interview at Morehouse. I was transparent and talkative; I discussed my fears, hopes, and dreams. After the interview, the admissions advisor told my parents he thought I was a "cool nerd." I was flattered! Another great experience was receiving the academic scholarship from Morehouse amounting to tuition.

What I learned

I should have taken an SAT/ACT preparation course, and I should have applied to Columbia. My close friend, who is attending Harvard in the fall, said he thought I could still get into Columbia given my GPA, resume, and essays. While part of me agreed, I was afraid of rejection. I should not have let fear dictate my actions.

The money factor

I am paying for college with academic and talent scholarships along with (luckily) finite subsidized loans.

My advice

Dream big. There are moments in life when the unexpected happens. No matter what the odds may be, there is always a chance; you impede those chances when you remove yourself from the game. Don't sell yourself short!