By Allegra Tepper
The first college verdicts came in this past week. Dartmouth did the honors of kicking off the blitzkrieg last Wednesday, followed by Cornell and Columbia on Thursday. Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford all received two dozen applications from Harvard-Westlake seniors. U. Penn, Stanford and Wesleyan released their decisions on Friday, with decidedly mixed results.
Shawn picked the short straw on Friday afternoon, receiving a rejection from Penn, his first -choice school.
“Iâm not upset, just disappointed,” Shawn said. “I pretty much knew that everyone else I was applying with was a lot more qualified so I didnât have the highest expectations, but I was hopeful.”
Shawn thought that the major jump in his first quarter grades would have enticed the admission office at Penn (he had a 4.5 GPA, last quarter bringing his cumulative GPA up to a 3.81 weighted).
Regardless, Shawn has no intention of looking back. With a University of Wisconsin acceptance already under his belt and a decision on its way from the University of Michigan on Dec. 24, he has chosen to look at the bright side of keeping his options open.
“I considered applying Early Decision II to either Emory University or Vanderbilt University, but I decided itâs better to give myself choices,” Shawn said. Through an Early Decision II program, students apply by the Regular Decision deadline. However, in return for a February response, they must commit to attending if accepted.
“Itâs terrible to receive a rejection when you were set on that one school, attached to it, but that wasnât me,” he said.
Annabelle said she found the responses from Columbia and Stanford to her classmates who had applied terrifying.
“The Columbia rejections were totally unexpected,” Annabelle said. “And to hear how much they wanted to be at these schools and the school just doesnât want you back itâs unrequited love.”
Columbia has always hovered in Annabelleâs top three schools, but she says this Thursdayâs onslaught made her question how realistic her aspirations are. Similar emotions came about after the Stanford verdicts were revealed.
With the exceptions of her major reach schools, though, Annabelle said she is very comfortable with her current list of nine schools. Thus far, she has only applied to the University of California at Berkeley, she said maintained typical form by procrastinating past the Dec. 1 priority and scholarship deadline for the University of Southern California.
She is in the process of applying for the Ron Brown Scholar Program and the AXA Achievement Foundation scholarships, through which she could earn anywhere from $2,000 to $40,000.
For Taylor, the early results brought on regret of deciding to wait until the regular deadline for her 12 schools (counting the UCs as a single university). Even so, she knows that committing to Williams that early in the game would have been too difficult. As of today, she has submitted applications to the UCs and USC, as well as the music supplement for her conservatory-style schools such as Oberlin.
“I recorded my supplement in a home space and I made the mistake of doing it just after the musical; itâs not my best work, but I think it only matters for a handful of schools,” Taylor said. In addition to her recording, Oberlin requested that Taylor take a music theory test on her own and submit it by February. Along with Performing Arts teacher Chris Moore, Taylor is completing an acting supplement, which will include one Shakespearean monologue, and two contemporary monologues, one dramatic and one comedic.
“When I can, I just look at the websites. Like today, I looked at Vassarâs and was so inspired,” Taylor said, “Itâs really exciting. It just makes me think about how much I want a true college experience, where everyone is there to learn and make good friendships. I canât wait.”
*Names have been changed