High Stakes: Starting the Application Process

Courtney*

Courtney spent her summer going to tournaments and camps for her sport. She has met with coaches and has received offers from several schools including eight division three liberal arts colleges including Williams, Amherst, Connecticut College and Hamilton.

Not only does she like these schools because of the athletic opportunities they have to offer, but she also loves the small towns where these schools are situated.

“There’s a feel when you step on the campus. I feel like I’m at home. These are my people,” Courtney said.

She said that her parents want her to consider the full experience of a school, not only the sports opportunities it has to offer.
They encourage her to ask herself, “Would I go to that school without my sport?” Courtney said.

In July, the schools recruiting her performed an academic read where they evaluated her work in school and her testing scores. All of the schools put her in the “likely” category for admission although she plans on retaking the Literature and perhaps U.S. History SAT 2 exams based on their recommendations.

At the end of September she plans to visit one of these schools where she will attend a class and get to know the team.
She hopes she will only have to visit one school although she foresees possibly visiting three.

Doug*

Doug spent most of his summer in a lab at UCLA researching and preparing for a national science competition. He also volunteered at a camp, built houses for underprivileged families and tried to get started on his applications though he had some trouble at first.

“I work better under pressure,” Doug said. “The common application itself was pretty easy, I finished it in about two or three days just to get the information down. For the essays, for some reason every time I sat down and stared at the computer I had no idea what to write.”

In the last week before summer Doug felt that the pressure kick in and he has managed to get a draft down for his personal statement. He said that he started just by listing sentences chronologically for the story he was telling, then arranging them into paragraphs and adding some meat.
Doug has not started any supplements at this point but will most likely apply early to Princeton.

He is also considering Harvard, Yale, U Penn, and Cornell as early options. He has finished all standardized testing having taken the SAT in January and has completed his subject testing, as well.

Francesca*

Between tournaments and practice for her varsity sport, music rehearsals and working at a local business, Francesca had a packed summer.

In addition she has drafted her common application and some supplements although she said that getting started was difficult.

“It’s harder than I thought.,” Francesca said. “I’m not a natural essay writer but it’s coming together now which is really nice.”

Francesca has been studying to retake the biology subject test and has been working with a private college counselor throughout the summer. Although she originally planned on applying early to Yale, Francesca has switched her focus to Brown.

“Brown was just a lot more practical and realistic. It’s a really cool atmosphere and is away from California,” Francesca said.
She realized that she didn’t love Yale and decided that since she has around the same GPA and testing scores as her older sister who was deferred from Yale, Brown was a safer bet.

Arthur*

Arthur decided to apply early to Brown while visiting family on the East Coast this summer.
After touring he chose Brown although he had been considering Harvard, NYU’s Tish school for performing arts, Carnegie Mellon and Julliard.

“Arts at Brown have so many productions a year,” Arthur said.

Although he had been planning on going to a conservatory for his undergraduate education he now plans on earning a masters rather than a bachelors degree in fine arts. He hopes to gain a historical and theoretical understanding of his art before moving on to more practical training.

“To have a graduate degree is so much more powerful,” Arthur said. “If and when I reach a certain age and work dries up or if I suddenly want to stop, with an MFA I could teach in a college especially with a degree from Harvard, Yale or Julliard.”

Arthur plans on retaking the ACT in September.

“I’m not the greatest standardized tester but Brown doesn’t really look at the test scores as much as the writing,” Arthur said.

He has drafted his Common Application but has yet to get started on the Brown supplement which he admits is daunting.

“There’s so much writing because that’s what they really care about,” Arthur said.

*names have been changed

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