Amir - University of Mary Washington - Class of 2018

Amir - Class of 2018
Although I didn't get into my dream schools, I'm glad things turned out the way they did. I found the best academic fit for me.

Due to health problems, I had lackluster grades during my freshman and sophomore years of high school. But I raised my GPA from a 2.78 sophomore year to a 3.93 junior year. This gave me the confidence to apply to three reach schools. I hoped these colleges would consider my life experience and academic potential, all of which I expressed in my essay.

  • Hometown: Arlington, VA
  • High School: Public
  • GPA: 3.5
  • ACT: 25
  • Major: Business administration
  • Goal: Form good relationships with my professors and perform well academically

Freshman Year Update

I've never been busier than during my first couple of months of college, meeting people and exploring different clubs. All the socializing left me exhausted, but I don't regret pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I knew I wouldn't make friends if I sat in my dorm all day.

It took me a while to adjust to all the free time—and to managing my money! When I got my first paycheck, I spent it on food and clothes, then realized I needed to save for textbooks for my spring semester! Fortunately, I was awarded a scholarship by the College of Business which will help cover some expenses.

For a while, I thought seriously of transferring to a college in a more urban environment, farther away from home. But I've decided to stay at UMW. I've built great relationships with friends and faculty here that I don't think I'd be able to have anywhere else.

Sophomore Year Update

Balancing life outside of class has been a challenge. I'm in classes for 18 hours each week, but a lot of schoolwork needs to be done outside of class. I'm still learning how to manage my time between friends, work, school, and clubs. I've gotten deeper into my business major and plan to double major in economics. I am also thinking about minoring in sports management (I'm a huge baseball fan), but I would like to talk to someone who works in the front office of a baseball team first.

While I'm enjoying my business classes, a few of my general ed classes were a struggle, and this really killed my GPA. I guess that's what I get for going to a liberal arts school. I just hope that my scholarship won't be taken away or reduced as a result. This summer, I hope to work on campus and take a summer class.

Captivated by a campus

The University of Richmond was my top choice because of its proximity to home, its highly touted business school, and its campus atmosphere. When I visited, I was captivated by the blend of old and modern architecture and the beautiful lake in the middle of the campus.

I applied to U-Richmond for an early decision. I was deferred, but I believed I still had a chance. Next I was denied by American University, which wasn't a shock, since it was a reach for me. But when I was waitlisted by Christopher Newport, a safety school I applied to last-minute, I was surprised to say the least.

Then, I received three decisions—all on the same day. I opened Grinnell's decision first. I was denied. I picked up Richmond's small envelope, still hoping it held some sort of acceptance. But it didn't. At least the rejection letter was comforting. It talked about my significant academic improvement, and encouraged me to apply as a transfer student. The Mary Washington package gave away my acceptance—it said "You're in!" on the front. While I was happy to see this, I was more disappointed with my denials.

Finding academic fit

After a couple of days, I forced myself to focus on my future. That meant taking a look at Mary Washington. I didn't like the campus as much as U-Richmond's, but I loved the college town of Fredericksburg. Mary Washington also has a Living Learning Community for pre-business students, where I'll be able to enroll in pre-business classes along with other freshmen in the community, interact with faculty at the business school, and participate in special events and seminars.

But most of all, I realized that academically, Mary Washington was a better fit for me since my grades and test scores fell well within the range of its students. I will be more comfortable academically, and this will give me a chance to sharpen my study and organizational skills, and reach my full potential as a student. Although I didn't get into my dream schools, I am glad things turned out the way they did.

My ups and downs

My best moment was completing all my applications. My work was basically over and the burden of dealing with applications fell squarely on colleges. Besides getting denied from U-Richmond, my worst moment was when I realized that I was accepted to only one school. There's nothing wrong with this now that I look back on it, but I didn't have any other choices, which was disappointing.

What I learned

I became more mentally and emotionally resilient and found ways to deal with rejection. I feel like I'm better prepared for any future adversities I will encounter. I also learned that not going to my dream school isn't the end of the world. As long as I take advantage of the education and opportunities that I receive, there is no doubt that I will be successful in life.

The money factor

College expenses will be financed through federal grants, loans, scholarships, and a possible federal work study position. Mary Washington is meeting about 85 percent of my financial need.

My advice

College admissions offices rarely change their minds, so dwelling on decisions they've made is rather pointless and unproductive. To deal with rejection, get your mind off the process—whether you hang out with friends or do something you like to do for fun. Then focus on your future. There are innumerable experiences to have during college, regardless of where you go, and they are what you make of them.