Soumya - Bryn Mawr College - Class of 2018

Soumya - Class of 2018
Being rejected was the worst feeling in the world. My heart didn't just break, it exploded.

If I had to choose between the probability of me attending an all-women's college and the commencement of the zombie apocalypse, I would've chosen the latter. But sometimes life gives us things we don't expect.

  • Hometown: Glen Mills, PA
  • High School: Public
  • GPA: 3.69 / 4.87 (weighted)
  • SAT: 2050
  • ACT: 29
  • Major: Design and English
  • Goal: Become more outgoing and study abroad in Spain

Freshman Year Update

I love the independence of living on campus! At home, I didn't leave the house without someone by my side. Now I take the train into Philadelphia, have an on-campus job, and use my own judgment. It feels great! But it was hard to adjust to dorm life after having my own huge room, and to my roommate's sleep patterns (I fall asleep when her night is just beginning.)

The academics and professors here are excellent, although the courses are tough. Since there are fewer assignments that are weighted much more, it is imperative to know what your professors are looking for and how they grade.

As for attending a women's college, some days I love coming home to this close-knit, caring student body. Other times, I'm frustrated by the drama and miss having male friends. Overall, though, I like it.

Sophomore Year Update

This year is SO much better than freshman year. I think one reason is that I'm keeping busy. With too much time on my hands, I analyzed every aspect of my college choice and focused only on the things I disliked. Now I'm on two dance teams, and I have found "my people"! It took me a while to find them, but they were worth waiting for. It just goes to show that it's never too late to change your friend circle.

Best of all, I decided on a major: Anthropology! I knew this was my major after my first class because I found myself thinking about the material outside the classroom. I was learning—and I loved it! This summer, I will be in Pune, India doing an anthropology internship creating multimedia ethnographies and working with a healthcare NGO.

Junior Year Update

I spent a semester studying globalization and health in Washington D.C., India, South Africa, and Brazil. I still love my anthropology major and declared a minor in fine arts at Haverford College (Bryn Mawr doesn't have a fine arts department). I also decided to attend law school after graduation, so I will be studying for the LSAT this summer.

I've often questioned why I'm at Bryn Mawr, but when I talk with students at other schools, I feel really lucky to be here. All schools have problems! I've also come to really appreciate the empowering environment of a women's college. Bryn Mawr has made me aware of women's and gender issues, more comfortable participating in class discussions, and more confident about becoming a leader in my field. Now I wish I had applied to more women's colleges!

The U-Penn plan

University of Pennsylvania was my dream school and love of my life since I was a child. I had it all planned: I would apply to Penn early decision, be accepted in December, and enjoy the rest of senior year while investing in Penn lanyards, bumper stickers, and sweatshirts for the family. It was perfect.

Most of my other colleges were close to home, because my father said he wouldn't pay for college outside of a 20-mile radius of our house. My second choice was Haverford College. I also liked Drexel for its design school and co-op program. Bryn Mawr was on my list only because my dad pestered me into applying. An all women's college was not on my radar. I wanted a co-ed environment. A lot of my best friends are guys, and I was looking forward to dating in college.

And now Plan B

On Penn's early decision day, I was at my computer at 5 p.m., when the decisions were due. I was sweating in places I didn't think sweat could exist. I told myself, "I'm freaking out for no reason. I am the University of Pennsylvania Class of 2018!" But at 5:01 p.m., I found out I wasn't. Heck, I wasn't even deferred—I was denied. I started crying hysterically. Through my tears, I kept rereading the first line of the e-mail: "The Committee regrets to inform you...The Committee regrets to inform you..." It was a disaster. Even after I was accepted to most of my other colleges, I felt that the purpose of my life had shattered into a million pieces.

My dad, who believes in brand names, thought that Bryn Mawr was the most prestigious of all my options. My father has a big say in my life and he's the one paying for college. So, feeling forced, I visited Bryn Mawr on accepted student's day. I expected to find a large LGBT community, which there was. But I also met a lot of straight girls like me. In fact, I discovered a really down-to-earth environment—one that felt like one big sorority where I could make lasting friendships. What changed my opinion the most, however, was talking with a student who said, "If you choose not to attend a school just because it's an all-women's college, then that's not a good enough reason."

And she was right. I shouldn't be so obsessed with who goes to the school; I should be thinking about what I can get out of this experience. The academics at Bryn Mawr are outstanding—and I'd also have the chance to take classes at co-ed universities, including Haverford and U-Penn! At the end of my visit, I had a really positive vibe towards the school. So I committed to Bryn Mawr as soon as I returned home. I'd be lying if I said I've gotten over my rejection from U-Penn. But I'm going to walk into Bryn Mawr with an open heart and mind. Hopefully, I will learn to love it just as much.

My ups and downs

Being rejected by U-Penn was the worst feeling in the world. My heart didn't just break, it exploded; it melted. It was like going through a ghastly breakup. It helped to think that maybe someone else who loved Penn just as much as I did deserved it a little bit more, and that I was "sacrificed" to give that person a spot. Getting my first acceptance, from Temple University, was a huge relief. I received their acceptance within five days of sending my application, which made me feel like they really wanted me. The acceptance made my life a little less stressful, too, considering most of my friends had applied to schools with rolling admissions, and had received four or five acceptances by then.

What I learned

Expect the unexpected. I thought I had everything perfectly planned. And here I am, enrolled at an all-women's college I never considered. I've decided to not be too set on anything. It's best to be open to whatever the universe has to offer.

The money factor

My parents are footing the entire bill.

My advice

If you feel you can't apply to a college due to your finances, your family, or even your test scores and grades, just apply. I'm a strong believer that grades and test scores don't completely seal your fate if you have a balanced application and other strong points. It is better to apply to the college and feel satisfied that you tried, rather than to live with the regret of not applying at all.