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Do you wish you were finished filling out college applications and thinking of interesting things to say on your college admissions and scholarship essays? Do you hope that a fairy godmother would swoop down and take care of your financial woes? You're not alone! Student Chroniclers like you are detailing the trials and tribulations of the college transition. Below, you can hear from:
1. Suzanne, a 17-year-old from Connecticut - NEW
2. Emilie, high school graduate from Washington
3. Kimberly, a 16-year-old from New York
4. Jasmine, a junior in Florida
5. Rachael, a senior from California
Suzanne, a 17-year-old from Connecticut
Hey, it’s Suzanne again! Well, I’ve been doing some major thinking about college lately! The visits are well underway, and there are many more to come!
I just got back recently from staying with a friend at Vassar College, in Poughkeepsie, New York. Honestly, the best way to get the true feel of the school is
to speak to the students or stay with a friend you know. Most schools have lists of what alumni from your high school go to different colleges, so it probably
wouldn’t hurt anybody to look into that! But back to the school—it was a beautiful campus, but overall the school was a little small for my liking. With just
about as many undergrads as students in my high school, I really don't think I would be happy in that kind of atmosphere. Overall, it was great to see my friend
and also helped narrow down my college list.
Right after I got home from Vassar, my Mom and I went on a road trip to go to Lehigh University. It only took about two and a half hours, and then we just got
to our hotel and slept! The next day was the Junior Open House, which gave a great overall view of the school. During the first few assemblies, students talked
about their experiences, both the good points and the bad. We heard from admissions officers and also the dean. After that, we went on a walking tour of campus,
and the campus was really beautiful. I could definitely picture myself going to school there and loving it! After the tour, I got a chance to speak with a member
of the music department faculty. She gave me great information on their programs, plus she gave me a free CD of different groups at Lehigh.
I just took the SATs this past Saturday, and I think I did pretty well. It was very nerve-racking, and by the end I was happy to get out. I’ve got to start
preparing for the SAT II because this is the last time the “score choice” will be available! Not to mention I’ve got to start handing out informal recommendations
and getting in touch with the admissions offices of colleges I want to visit over the summer!
I have decided that over the summer I am also going to be taking some courses at SUNY Purchase or a community college. It will keep me busy, and not to mention
I will earn some credits now!
Well, that’s it for now! Lots of luck on everybody’s college searches, I'll be writing again soon!
I'm back! Things have been really hectic, so let me update you! Last time I wrote was back in June. I had just taken the SATs for the first time,
and had started to look at colleges. I also took more SAT II testsa total of four. I was pretty satisfied with my scores, but decided to take the
SAT I again in October. The second time around my score went up 40 points! I was very satisfied, and decided that this was the last time I would be
dealing with the SATs!
My schedule for school was a bit full. I am currently taking AP physics, AP English, honors French, pre-calc, and sociology (plus some electives).
Needless to say, school work has been very time consuming lately. I also applied for the National Honor Society at my school, and I found out today
that I got in! But back to college...
I took two trips in October and looked at seven schools total: the University of Delaware, American University, George Washington University, William
and Mary, and Mary Washington. The next week I looked at Lehigh (for the second time) and Bucknell. Not surprisingly, my first choice school changed!
For a long time I thought Lehigh would be the best fit for me, but I have since decided that GWU would be an even better fit. So Lehigh has moved down
to number two. Whatever schools you decide to look at, I definitely recommend that you take the tour and talk to students at the school. There is no
better way to see a campus. Sometimes the tour guides can only offer you numbers and statistics, so try and ask thoughtful questions that will answer
what you want to know.
I decided to take an interview wherever they were offered, I figure I don't have much to lose and it can only help in the end. As it turns out, only
four of the schools "recommended" interviews. I completed three, and I have one more remaining this Sunday. They were relatively painless! I was very
happy to find that out. Colleges seem to try to get younger people, even seniors, to interview prospective students. They usually choose accomplished
seniors who they know will do a good job. That way, you feel more comfortable and ask questions that they can answer from a student perspective. This
made things so easy, and it was basically just having a conversation with them.
Last week I sent out all my college applications. I decided to do regular decision because there was more than one school that I really liked. Once I
get my acceptance (or rejection) letters I want to be able to look at all of my options.
As a piece of advice to everybody: try and do all of your college applications as soon as you can! Stay organized, and make folders for each school you
are applying to. This way, you can put all correspondence you get (or send) to the school in once place. Even if you're not applying early, it makes
things so much easier once you're done!
Just a warning: when you need to send out your SAT scores it will cost you $6.50 for each school...beware! This can get a bit expensive, so try to send
them all at the same time! The next step for me is to file the FAFSA and CSS Profile for financial aid.
Well, hope that gave you all a good update! I wish everybody luck, and will be writing again soon!
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Emilie, high school graduate from Washington
It looks like most of the people on here have written about how they felt during their junior year and in their search for a college. I guess I should
have done that but I decided I would write about the decision I made and how I came to it.
Actually I should tell you who I am… My name is Emilie and I am from a very little town in Washington. I graduated from high school ten days ago and I am
very glad to be done with high school. It is amazing how many things one counseling center can mess up in the last week of school...
Anyway, all through high school I had only one college I wanted to attend—Northwest College in Kirkland, Washington was the only choice. I decided
in ninth grade that I was going to attend and really thought I was going to.
Then life came into the picture. My dreams, my goals, and my very life were changed throughout my high school years. I was a little afraid to apply anywhere
out of state and there were no other colleges in Washington that I wanted to attend. All the things that I have read about getting into colleges and what
you should do your junior and senior years told me to apply to several colleges just in case the one you want doesn't accept you. So, I asked my pastor if
there were any other colleges that he could recommend. He told me about Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri. I don't know why he recommended one so
far away but I decided to try it.
I knew that they were more exclusive about who they accepted while (schools in the) Northwest accepted almost all applicants. I didn't expect to even be
accepted. Then one day, I got a small envelope from them and I really thought it was a letter saying how much they had enjoyed my application and essay, and
that they were glad that I had taken the time to apply and all, but that they were unable to accept me to their prestigious university. I was wrong. Instead
was a one-page letter telling me that I had been awarded an honor scholarship for my grades and my SAT score and that they looked forward to seeing me in the
fall! I was ecstatic, but still hadn't decided. Northwest had also accepted me and deep down, I still wanted to stay close to home.
I sent in some of my writings, scheduled auditions, applied for departmental scholarships, called my admissions counselors, poured over Web sites, prayed,
asked advice, and sent for information about the surrounding areas. I wanted to get the feel for the two before I decided. I waited and waited for my financial
aid packages to come and when they did, the aid was almost equal. Deciding which one to attend was the hardest thing I have ever done.
I am still not sure what made me decide on traveling halfway across the country to go to a university I had never even been to. (Another one of the college
no-no’s.) I just really decided that I wanted to get away, far away. Now, I leave in two months and three days, and I am so excited that I can't even begin to
tell you! I will miss my friends and family, and maybe even this tiny town that has been my home for eighteen years. But I know that the experiences and
opportunities I will get at Evangel will change my life!
Thanks for reading my college story and good luck with your decisions!
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Kimberly, a 16-year-old from New York
Hi everyone, I am new to the college search process, just like you are. Here is just a little bit about me.
My name is Kimberly, I'm 16 and I am from New York. I go to an all-girls school with a college preparatory curriculum. Therefore, of course, college is the objective
for our school. Now that I am in my junior year, this is hard to ignore, and it is now time to search. I am heavily involved in school extracurricular activities.
I am the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, editor-in-chief of the yearbook, involved in campus ministries, French club, National Honor Society, and a
Have you ever felt that you are just being bombarded with twenty million things to do at once? Well, since I met the halfway/endpoint of junior year, life has
been unimaginably hectic. No one can tell me that they ever envisioned doing this much work in one year. On top of all of that, there is that huge decision to
make: where to go for college?
I have some ideas about what I want to do. I enjoy writing, so, maybe journalism would be something interesting to look into. Then there is history—something
I am also passionate about. Well, no matter what the case, I have a decision to make and luckily, I have already started. I keep on asking, “Who am I?” What
do I want to do?” The answers to these questions are always changing. Only time will tell. Now, thankfully, I only have to focus on choosing a college. You
are probably asking yourself “Why is she saying ‘thankfully?’”
Well, the best thing about my school is that we have a strong and centered college/guidance office. My guidance counselor is really great. Not only did she
give me the “low-down” on schools that I was interested in. But she also gave me other colleges to consider that I had never heard of, but after researching,
realized they were gems. I always stop in and talk to her whenever I discover a new school that I am interested in, and she always gives me a candid viewpoint—
no matter what. My advice to anyone is to not only talk to your guidance counselor, but also, when you discover a new school, drop in during your study or
lunch period and talk about it with your guidance counselor. It really gives me perspective!
However, besides chatting it up with my guidance counselor, I also been visiting schools. Recently, my parents and I made the trek up from New York to Boston
to check out Northeastern University and Brandeis University.
Northeastern University is right dead in the city of Boston—if you are looking for a school in the city, consider this. I found Northeastern's campus to be
really nice. It's quite large too—13,000 undergrads. Even though it’s an urban campus, it does have some grass, and I did see some people playing Frisbee.
The school itself has a lot to offer too. You can tell they have really been building up their academics. They offer everything from engineering to English to
pretty much anything you can think of. The admission office presentation was impressive and the counselors there seemed friendly and willing to answer all of
What is really neat about Northeastern is their co-op program. This is a work-study program where you spend a total of one year in the real world with a real
paying job and real experience. The great part of this, I thought, was that it was probably a lot easier to get a job once you graduate. However, a down side
is that you are in school one year longer than everyone else (unless you take classes during the summer). Everyone at Northeastern is expected to complete a
year of co-op, unless you are in the school of Liberal Arts, where it’s optional.
I felt that Northeastern had a lot to offer—they are building up their campus by adding new dormitories and new science buildings. The dorms themselves are
like other typical dorm rooms: nothing special unless you are an upperclassman, which is expected. Northeastern, like I said, has a lot to offer. I got the
overall impression that Northeastern's goal is constant improvement, which is a great ideal—an id eal that they will probably live up to and an ideal that I
am definitely considering.
Brandeis University, right off the bat, took my breath away. Located in Waltham, Mass., (about 15 minutes from Boston) is an ideal location if you are looking
to stay out, but still close to, a city. Brandeis is a suburban campus with a few stores around, but not many. On campus is generally where people find
themselves for recreation.
When I arrived at Brandeis, my parents and I took a tour and sat in on an information session. Like Northeastern, I found Brandeis’ admissions counselors
very friendly and open to all questions. Brandeis' offers so many opportunities to undergraduates, which makes the school very attractive. It's small—about
4,500 undergraduates and some graduates, but not many. The school leaves you with the impression that it is individualized, meaning that you are going to get
the attention and help you need from your professors.
Brandeis has a great campus—a mix of eclectic buildings, and even a castle, which serves as a dormitory for some students and houses a cute little coffee
shop. Also, it is one of nine universities that has a NASA telescope that anyone, not just science students, has access to. Brandeis’ library is incredible—
if you need something, you’ll get it. Also, the food is great! My parents and I ate at Sherman, an all-you-can-eat, station-to-station food court. I also had
a great experience at Brandeis because I stayed with a friend who went to my school. I had the ultimate college experience that night: late-night movies,
s’mores, and gossip, which was totally awesome and something to look forward to.
The dorms at Brandeis are pretty clean and the laundry facilities are decent too. Also, everyone is very friendly, and even though I am still in high school,
they gave me the feeling that I still belonged.
Another great facet is the classes—everyone at Brandeis seems to be an intellectual, and the professors are amazing! President Clinton’s staff member Robert
Reich taught the class I sat in on! I had an overall great experience at Brandeis and it is one of my top-choice schools!
Besides visiting schools, I am doing more. This summer, I am participating in the Junior Statesmen Summer School at Princeton. I will be spending a month on
the Princeton campus and be taking AP Comparative Politics and Honors Speech Communication. The program promises to bring you the whole political experience
through debate and government courses. Also, it is a taste of the Ivy League, something that tastes very good. I’ll be able to give you the skinny on Princeton
I also recently took my SAT! I am indescribably nervous to get the results. This test means so much, yet to me, it only measures so little. There is more to
me then whether I can figure out how many squares can fit inside a rectangle of such and such a size. I hope colleges take that into consideration, because
I am more than what my scores say about me. I’m hoping that all of my work throughout my four years will pay off. I’m not a perfectionist because I like it.
Well, that is all for now. I should be visiting Sarah Lawrence, Pace University, Marist, Vassar, Franklin, Marshall, and maybe Bard in the near future. Good
Luck to everyone on their college search. Hopefully, it will work out for all of us! More to come soon!
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Jasmine, a junior in Florida
Well, it felt like it would never come, but now it’s here—the end of my junior year, and to be honest I'm scared half out of my mind. I haven't taken the SAT or
the ACT and my senior year is approaching faster than I think. I feel like I'm at a crossroads and a big train called Life is approaching and it’s either about
to run me over or pull me aboard. I guess I should tell you who I am before I start unloading my problems.
My name is Jasmine and I go to school in Florida. Today, I at least took the initiative and went down to the guidance office and picked up an SAT registration packet.
You may not think that is a big accomplishment, but for a procrastinator like me that is. Since October I've been telling myself I was going to go to the guidance
office and pick up a form, but something always came up and that was last year and now it is March. I guess maybe I'm afraid of making a low score and not getting
into the college I want, but I have to take it in order to get accepted into college.
Even though I am a self-proclaimed procrastinator, I have been looking at colleges. I joined the Princeton Review and they help you make a profile to send to colleges
and then the colleges send you information like what is the curriculum, housing, scholarships, and other helpful things for college-bound students. I also signed up
with them because they give you courses to help you with the SATs and the ACTs. So you see, I am making progress. I guess the biggest problem many students have
(including myself), is that the fact they are about to face adulthood and they feel that they are not ready to become one with all the responsibilities that being
adult brings. Well, I know that’s how I feel because I used to wish my high school years would fly by so I could go to college and be on my own, but now I wish they
would slow down a bit so I can enjoy being a teen.
Right now, I don't even know what school I want to go to, but I was thinking about Northwestern because (as you can see) I want to be a journalist and that school is
the best Ivy League college for journalism. I guess I talked enough about myself for one day, but don't worry I will write later about the crazy things that will happen
to me. (Believe me, they happen a lot here!)
Well, it’s me again, Jasmine, ready to unload another set of teenage woes. Spring Break is finally here and today, I finally got my SAT registration card for May 4 and
I'm both excited and scared (as always). I feel like maybe I'm a little late because all my friends have taken it and have gotten back really good scores like 1250, 1300,
and so on. I'm afraid that I'll end up with something like a 400 and that will be from just writing my name correctly on the test. No, I'm over exaggerating, I think I
will at least do better than the girl who came in and asked to register for the “sat” instead of the SAT.
It seems as though everything is going so fast now, I wish I could just freeze frame time for a second so I could have a minute to myself. That’s really ironic because I
could remember two years ago in the ninth grade when all I would say was, "I can't wait till I graduate!” and “Dang, when is high school going to end? “ Now I'm saying,
"You sure we graduate next year?” and "Dang, were has the time gone?“ All of my friends are talking about going to state schools like FSU and UF and I'm just sitting there
being quiet because I don't want to tell them that I don't want to go to a state school. I mean—don't get me wrong—any college is good, but for me personally I want to
get away from the people that have known me for about five to seven years and experience different things and meet new people, which is something I don't think I will find
in Florida. I want to have a broad perspective of things since I do want to be a writer and I really don't think I can achieve that by staying so close to home. Also I read
somewhere that the place that you go to college is the city where you are most likely to stay and I don't know if you have been to Jacksonville or Tallahassee, Florida,
but let me tell you it’s not the place to be unless you're retiring and are about to die.
It’s not just my friends, it’s also my parents; they also want me to go to a state school so they can check up on me all the time and make sure I'm okay. That is definitely
something I don't want, my parents interfering everyday asking me what am I'm doing. Basically, I'm ready to begin my life. My boyfriend thinks I'm having a mid-teenage life
crisis, if there is such a thing. I don't know, maybe I am. He, unlike the other important people in my life (thank God), is not trying to influence my decision of where to
go to college instead he is letting me choose what’s best for me which I wish everyone else would do, but hey the world is not perfect.
Prom is like the major thing that is happening around school right now, and for some reason I'm not feeling it. I guess worrying about AP exams, grades, and these God-forbidden
SATs have taken out the joy of the prom. But even though I feel this way, I'm going (forcefully by both peer pressure and the never-failing mom pressure), which I understand
because my mom never got to go to her high school prom because she got pregnant at 17, so by me going to the prom I guess she is experiencing it through me. So now, I have to
find a dress, a limo, and all the good things that come with prom that is usually followed by a truckload of money and me being broke.
So you can see by now I am under a lot of stress and can any minute just blow. I wonder who said that your high school years are your best years because they lied and should
be put into prison for false advertising. No, I'm just playing and trying to make some humor out of my hectic life, if that’s possible. I hope over this spring break that
maybe that it will sort of calm me down and that I will gain some enthusiasm. I have tried to rest and enjoy myself, but I just have so much work to do that it is exhausting
just to think about it. I wonder why some teachers give you work over the spring break when they know you are not going to do it till last day. I mean gosh, spring break is
supposed to be a mini vacation away from the evils of school, but like in every horror picture and its sequels the evil follows you home. And then, to top it of, they are
probably not even going to grade right away when we get back.
I think this situation is my only catalyst for going to college besides getting a degree and a really nice job because in college (as people tell me) you do not have to go
to school for seven hours for five days a week nor do you have to get up early, which would be like heaven on earth for me who has for past three years had to get up at
five-o'clock in the morning to catch a bus at six-o'clock in the morning for a forty-five minute ride across town to get to school. The main thing is that I hope all this
drama and craziness is worth it. Well, I guess that is enough from me for today and don't worry I'll write more later of my troubles (believe me there is always something).
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Rachael, a senior from California
All my applications have been sent out for colleges, scholarships, and other financial aid. All the forms are filled in. All the letters have been gathered and the audition
tapes recorded. Now comes what has proven to be the hardest part—the waiting.
I never thought I would be accepted at all of the schools to which I applied, but I have. Of course, I only applied to three, besides my backup school (which I have no
interest in attending). Two of them are private, and one an out-of-state public university. I would be perfectly happy at any of these schools, I realize, and as I wait
impatiently to find out which has had the decency to give me enough money to get out of California for a few years at least, my mind keeps jumping around, unable to rest
even for a moment. I can’t decide where I want to go! After having spent so many precious hours of my life on ridiculous forms and painful auditions, strolling the streets
of various unfamiliar cities, and wondering if I’ll ever be able to call a one of them home, it has become money which is deciding the rest of my life for me, and this is
something I’m not okay with.
I’ve always assumed that, when it came time to choose a college, there would of course be a few that were out of the question: the Yales and Harvards because of academic
prestige and the Juilliards and NYUs because of money. I never thought, however, that once being accepted to my top three choices I would be unable to decide between them!
That’s not true, actually I do have a clear third choice, but the other two are too close to distinguish between. Do I want the small, friendly atmosphere of a private
Baptist college in a small city, or the open, diverse atmosphere of a larger university in a medium-sized city? Both have distinct advantages: in a smaller private college,
class sizes are smaller and there is a more tangible sense of security and community. The dorm rooms are bigger and nicer because the school has more money to spend, and
it has a phenomenal study abroad program, which is important to me. In the larger university, however, there are more options. There are more classes to choose from, more
diverse people to get to know, and a larger city to explore. There is also a spectacular music school, while I’ve noticed that the music department at the smaller school
is severely lacking.
Throw into the mess the fact that I still don’t know what I want to do with my life—should I study French or music? Creative writing or international relations?—and the
result is a huge disaster of confusion in my sad little brain. Each school is better in specific areas, and it’s impossible to decide between them! So now, as I sit waiting
for my financial aid packages with an enrollment card in each hand, I suppose that I’ll just have to choose whichever path will cost less. After all, I have to think about
graduate school too, don’t I?
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