High Stakes: Choosing early schools

Melvin*, The Brain

The college process has not changed much for Melvin since August but he is now certain he will apply Early Action to the University of Michigan. He is also sure he will apply to the University of Chicago, which he described as one of his top choices.

“I have started writing the Chicago supplemental essay, but I have not written a word of the Common App,” Melvin said.

Melvin, however, has completed standardized testing, and he is finished asking his teachers for recommendations.

Thelonius*, The Artist

Thelonius remains adamant on applying Early Decision to New York University.

“My top choice sails way above my other choices,” Thelonius said. “I compiled a list of other schools that I’m not super enthusiastic about.”

He is not only more interested in applying to NYU, but also more confident.

After researching the university’s statistics through his dean and Naviance, Thelonius feels reassured that he is a likely candidate for admission.

“Statistically, it’s very much in my favor,” Thelonius said.

However, he said he’s not sure if he’ll submit art supplements with his application. He may submit a music portfolio, but probably not an art portfolio, he said.

Although he admitted he hasn’t been “super responsible” in preparing his regular decision applications, he does plan to visit Kenyon College and Oberlin College during mid-semester break and may add them to his list.

Thelonius is still signed up for the October SAT, but he said he does not feel immense pressure to raise his scores.

“I don’t have to do any better,” he said. “I just should.”

Daisy*, The All-Around

Daisy has narrowed her first choice to Columbia University, which she said is the only specific school she has in mind. She believes she will apply Early Decision, but has a few reservations.

“I’ve heard from a lot of past seniors that they do Early Decision and they have buyer’s remorse while everyone else still has options,” Daisy said. “It might be nice to look at all the options I have after regular decision.”

She has finished the Common Application, but is still working on Columbia’s supplementary materials. Daisy has already requested teacher recommendations and is also working on getting a recommendation from the UCLA lab she worked in this past summer.

Florence*, The Athlete

In early October, Florence will visit Oberlin College courtesy of an all-expense paid trip funded by the college. She has been in contact with the track and field coach there, but said that Oberlin is “not at all” her first choice. Oberlin will not be able to offer her an athletic scholarship because it is a Division III school, while Division I schools she is looking at, such as Georgetown University, can.

“Georgetown has been my number one, but I’m still not really in contact with the coach,” Florence said. “I’d go there without doing track, but that’s not ideal.”

Florence does not intend to apply Early Decision to Georgetown because she is retaking the SAT in November, and her scores will not be available in time for an Early Decision application.

*Names have been changed

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