High Stakes: Clue Seven

By Allegra Tepper

After enduring months of waiting, the decision is finally in the hands of the seniors as they weigh their options for matriculation. With only a month to decide, our three seniors scramble to catch glimpses of student life on campuses around the country. For some, the choice is obvious, but for others, it proves to be the hardest part of the process yet.

Taylor

 

 

 

The last time we caught up with Taylor, a generous financial aid package and the lure of a completely different experience from that of Harvard-Westlake had Taylor interested in Bennington College in Vermont. However, upon further consideration, Taylor became more apprehensive about joining a student body hundreds smaller than Harvard-Westlake’s.

During the last month, Taylor was rejected by Williams College, which was her first choice. The blow was amplified by an e-mail beginning, “Dear Readers” instead of with a more personalized greeting. Taylor resolved that if a school could not reject her personally, she did not want to be there anyway.

Acceptances came in from Scripps College and Oberlin College, but Oberlin soon fell out of consideration due to a small financial aid package and because Taylor was admitted only to the liberal arts college and not the music conservatory.

“Scripps has a really supportive atmosphere,” Taylor said. “I can double major, make use of the [Claremont Consortium] resources, and it’s far enough away for me to be independent but still have the option to come back.”

After spending an overnight on campus for an admitted students program at Scripps, an all-girls college near Claremont Colleges like Pomona and Claremont McKenna, Taylor decided it was the place for her.

Despite choosing Scripps, she also plans to send a letter to Vassar College letting them know that she would attend if they admit her off the wait list and meet her demonstrated need for financial aid.

 

 

Shawn*

 

 

 

 

Last month caught Shawn pleasantly off guard as he received three acceptances to top 20 universities, his personal goal having been to receive one. Shawn spent the month of April deciding between the University of Michigan, Vanderbilt University, Emory University and Washington University in St. Louis.

After visiting Michigan for a final time, Shawn took it out of the running based on the enormity of the school. Following that, Vanderbilt was removed from consideration after a multi-cultural visitors weekend that fell short in Shawn’s eyes.

Shawn was turned off by the Vanderbilt party atmosphere.

“It felt really superficial and really Greek. People were drinking on Friday by 2 p.m. and the next morning lawns were covered with beer cans. That felt really prevalent and I don’t want to be a part of that.”

When the decision came down to Washington University and Emory, Shawn was, for the most part, at a loss for distinguishing evidence.

Washington University’s slightly more urban campus, roomy housing and better food were the details that tipped the scale.

“I could barely differentiate between the two schools, but then I realized I’m going to be living in this place for the next four years,” Shawn said. “So I better love it.”

 

 

Annabelle*

 

 

 

Annabelle has decided that she will be attending Cornell University come fall. While Cornell was not even under consideration until Annabelle was courted by a coach from the school, it still beat out USC in Annabelle’s final moments of decision-making.

“Cornell felt more personal and intimate than USC,” Annabelle said. “I felt like the students and alums that I met cared about what your interests are, not just the fact that you’re smart. They were down-to-earth, mellow and honest. I didn’t get those same warm fuzzies from USC.”

Before receiving her decisions, Annabelle thought she would end up at Stanford, which ranked among her top three choices along with USC and Columbia.

“I worked really hard on that application. I put myself all over that Stanford supplement,” Annabelle said. “So if that’s not what they wanted, I can’t be upset. As for Columbia, I think I made a mistake by submitting online. Their strict character limits forced me to take so much of the essence of my essays out, and I think that’s what did me in. That was the hardest rejection to take, but everything happens for a reason.”

While USC is a bigger powerhouse in Annabelle’s sport, Cornell boasts Ivy League championships and Annabelle feels satisfied being a part of that. As for her apprehensions about the chilly climate in up-state New York, Annabelle is looking forward to purchasing a “very, very large coat.”

 

 

*Names have been changed

 

 

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