High Stakes

Chronicle Staff

More than one month ago, the class of 2007 began its last year at the school. Tests, essays and applications soon dulled the initial excitement of being seniors.

They met with their deans, reviewed their options and, for the most part, left the second floor of Chalmers feeling disappointed and discouraged.

They attended presentations by college representatives, missing classes if they had to.

They decided if they were applying anywhere early and filled out contracts to inform their deans of their decisions. Many changed their minds by the week, the day or the hour.

Rick has finished his application for Yale University, but hasn’t sent it in yet. He will apply through the school’s non-binding early action program. He has given his teachers recommendation forms and has filed all the necessary forms with his dean.

Rick recently spent a weekend at Yale. He attended some classes, including one on terrestrial arthropods (insects) and got a taste for the campus life.

“The experience of staying on campus for the weekend with a student showed me that Yale really is my first choice,” he said. “The whole time, I tried to convince myself I didn’t like it as much as I did, but I really loved it.” While he hopes for the best, he admits that he is not completely confident about his chances.

“Having visited, I can tell that there are a lot of kids who are really, really exceptional at what they do and there are a lot of legacies too,” he said. “I’m hoping to be deferred. I will be disappointed if I’m rejected.”

Rick is also excited about the other schools he is applying to, including Boston College, Vanderbilt, Vassar, the University of Miami, Stanford, Princeton and more, all schools he said he would love going to.

For now, Rick is working on his other applications at a break-neck pace, trying to finish two a weekend.

“That’s my goal,” he said.

 

After family issues made Melanie reconsider leaving California for college, she decided she would not apply anywhere early. She has since changed her mind. She has decided to apply early action to Stanford.

She was nervous she would not like the school but when she visited, she saw that the school, although different than anything she had seen on the East coast, was a place she could really be happy.

“It’s one of my top choices, so it’s great that I have the opportunity to apply there early and not be bound to it,” she said.

Melanie admits she’s gotten more stressed than she expected to be since school started.

“I didn’t realize how overwhelming the process is,” she said. “So many things need to get done.”

Melanie is planning on retaking the SAT Saturday. While she is content with her original scores, her dean encouraged her to try again, saying she had nothing to lose.

Eli sent in three of his applications to Indiana, University of Colorado at Boulder and Wisconsin last week. All three schools are rolling which means there is no set date to receive decisions. These schools will contact him with their decision whenever they are done processing his application.

He is also applying early action to Emerson, the University of Miami and Northeastern and early decision to Boston University. Unlike Stanford and Yale which are single-choice, all of his early action schools do not limit the number of other schools you can apply to early. Boston University is early decision, meaning Eli must attend if he gets in. However, the school does not limit its early applicants from applying to other schools early action.

The school is his first choice, but his meeting with his dean has made him question his chances.

“The outlook doesn’t look too good,” he said. “I’m on the cusp. I was planning on applying to their communications school, but if I apply to their school of arts and sciences, my chances are much better. I’m still not sure what to do.”

Eli has also decided he will not apply to Northwestern after his dean told him it was an unrealistic option. He is not very nervous about where he will get in, saying he doesn’t mind much where he ends up. Emerson, his second choice school, is “pretty much 100 percent I’m in,” he said.

Unlike Eli, Judy decided not to apply early anywhere.

“I haven’t found a school that I definitely want to go to,” she said.

Of all the schools she is applying to, her two favorites are Berkeley and Tulane. Although she used to think Berkeley was a clear first choice, she is beginning to become nervous about the size of the school.

Tulane was a surprise addition to her list. Her dean recommended it as a school she would like after he visited the school in September.

She researched the school and attended the Tulane representative’s meeting on campus.

The school has been stigmatized by Hurricane Katrina, but the hurricane barely affected the campus. It’s situated on higher ground than most of New Orleans and was spared most of Katrina’s ravages.

“I have a lot of relatives in New Orleans,” she said. “It would be great to go to school there.”