Adam - Augustana College (SD) - Class of 2017
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Sometimes being met with disappointment is necessary in order to discover what you truly want.

I thought my years of hard work and countless hours of pouring over textbooks and staying actively involved in my high school were surefire ways for me to make it to an elite university and out of South Dakota. Ultimately, I found out that sometimes our dreams don't become reality, but what is in store is just as amazing.

Hometown: Sioux Falls SD

High School: Public

GPA: 3.98 / 4.35 (weighted)

ACT: 31

Major: Chemistry and psychology

Goal: Medical school

College

Status

Augustana College (S.D.)Attending
Butler University Accepted
Carleton College Accepted
Creighton University Accepted
Johns Hopkins UniversityDenied
University of Chicago(EA)Deferred/ Denied
University of PennsylvaniaWaitlisted
Xavier UniversityAccepted
Freshman Year Update

The best thing about college is the independence. No one is telling you when to be home or that you can't go to a movie on a week day. YOU CAN! Being on the cross country and track teams is awesome, but also time-consuming. It doesn't allow for involvement in other activities, like choir, which I miss. The hardest part has been finding friends outside of the team. Luckily, I made some new friends on a school-sponsored trip to Greece.

I had always planned to pursue a career in medicine, but first semester I realized that I don't even enjoy science! I am now double-majoring in psychology and government, and I enjoy my classes SO much more! My advice: Don't be afraid to switch your major—most people do!

Sophomore Year Update

First semester I had trouble managing my courses, my position as a resident assistant (RA), and the cross country team. They all required a lot of time, and it was difficult to decide what was most important. But track and school won out and, reluctantly, I resigned from my RA position. The good news is that I've decided to attend law school, and I love my law-related courses. Even though they are harder, my GPA improved! (I even made the dean's list!)

While I thought of transferring to a bigger school, I'm going to stay at Augustana and focus on the positives, like my new friends, the personal relationships with my professors, and my upcoming semester in Washington D.C.! This summer, besides working, I hope to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Junior Year Update

I spent my spring semester in Washington, D.C., doing a full-time internship with Senator John Thune (R-SD). It was quite a change from my fall semester, where I had a full course load and felt like I was writing five papers a week. Since I finished all my required courses, I decided to graduate a full year early. Next fall, I'll attend law school at the University of Nebraska!

I have been happy at Augustana for the most part, especially with the relationships I've built with faculty. But I do wish I would have visited a wider variety of colleges (large, small, private, and public) to get a feel for the environment where I would be happiest.

I am a little nervous about jumping into law school, but I think it's the right decision for my career, my finances, and my social life. Nebraska is a much bigger school in a bigger city, and I think it will bring me great opportunities.

Why not dream big?

I started my college search determined to attend a prestigious school such as University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins, or University of Pennsylvania. I had the grades, I had the leadership experience, and I had the resume. When I was deferred from my first choice (Chicago), my confidence started to waver. But I worked diligently on applications to my other two dream schools and to "safety schools" that were still good fits academically.

Everything comes into place

Months of waiting went by. Finally the moment of truth arrived. I received a second e-mail from University of Chicago notifying me that, unfortunately, I did not make it into the Class of 2017. I was devastated. I was beyond crushed. But I held out hope for Johns Hopkins and Penn. Then I was rejected by both. My determination and nearly perfect marks had been rewarded only with disappointment. Clearly, the efforts weren't worth it. Eventually, after reality set in, I began to realize this wasn't the end of the world.

I received a call from a cross-country and track coach at Augustana asking me if I'd be interested in running there. I was! This was one of the top Division II distance running programs in the nation—how could I not be interested? Everything began to come into place. The academics at Augustana were great. I was awarded one of its top academic scholarships and a travel stipend to study abroad for 10 days in Greece! When I met with the cross country team, I knew that Augustana was where I was meant to be. I was going to be a Viking.

My ups and downs

My worst moment, besides rejection, was waiting for admission decisions. It seemed like everyone else in my class knew exactly where they were going before I did. The greatest moment was finally being able to say, "I will be attending Augustana College next year." It wasn't my original choice, but I think it's the right fit.

I had planned to travel halfway across the country to attend school, but now I'm going to college in my hometown and couldn't be happier. I have two seven-year-old brothers and I don't want to miss out on their growing up.

What I learned

Although my dreams of attending a prestigious, Ivy-League university were not fulfilled, by no means do I believe I settled for something second rate. I am attending a great college, with a friendly atmosphere, and a community that cares.

Through my experience of applying to colleges, and even rejection, I learned that sometimes being met with disappointment is necessary in order to discover what you truly want. In fact, it's a reward in itself simply to say that I did all I could in applying to those prestigious universities, and I have no regrets. Now, I am attending a school I love, and a school I know I belong at.

The money factor

Scholarships and financial aid will help tremendously in paying the costs of college. Never underestimate how much scholarships and financial aid can do for you.

My advice

Relax. It'll be done before you know it, and you WILL be happy no matter where you end up.