High Stakes: Chapter 8

By Catherine Wang

Alexis the Athlete:

Alexis,* who was accepted early decision to Saint Mary’s College, received her estimate from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which is the amount of financial aid she can expect to receive from Saint Mary’s.

The amount she will receive is not enough to cover her tuition to Saint Mary’s, so she plans to discuss with the Saint Mary’s admissions and financial aid office how she could pay for the remainder of her tuition. She is also awaiting notifications from scholarships she applied for, most of which will be released in late May or June.

“I’m just waiting it out,” she said.

Meanwhile, Alexis is enjoying her final months of high school.

“This is the easiest life has ever been,” she said. “I’m actually sleeping, I feel rested, I have no work, and I actually have time to go out.”


Carter the Brain:

Carter* learned March 30 that he was placed on Harvard University’s waiting list.

Harvard was the only school Carter applied to other than Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was accepted through its early action program.

Carter was surprised to learn he was offered a spot on Harvard’s waiting list, he said.

“For some reason, before I opened my email, I only thought I would be rejected or accepted,” he said. “I didn’t consider the possibility that I would be waitlisted.”

He “immediately” accepted a spot on the waitinh list but spent the next few days thinking about whether he would go to Harvard if accepted.

“It’s more frustrating to be on the waitlist than to be rejected,” he said.

He visited MIT in early April during its Campus Preview Weekend, a weekend when admitted students live on campus and immerse themselves in MIT life.

“By the time CPW came around I was 70 percent MIT and 30 percent Harvard,” he said. “Afterwards it was 100 percent to 0 percent.”

His decision to attend MIT was based on his “desire for challenge,” he said.

“After I went to CPW I realized MIT is a very intense place,” he said. “I felt that I would be able to push my own potential further there.”

Although Carter has committed to MIT, he has yet to remove himself from Harvard’s waitlist.


Aiden the All-Around:

Adding to his list of college acceptances, Aiden* was accepted to Tufts University and the University of Southern California. He did not apply to any school through an early application program.

“I was surprised and really excited,” he said of his acceptances.

He visited Tufts last week and is “pretty sure” he will return in the fall.

“They’re giving me quite a lot of money, so I think I’m going to head over there,” he said.

What he likes about Tufts is the freedom it gives students to explore their academic interests. Unlike USC, where students are accepted to certain schools such as engineering or business and typically stay in those schools, Tufts encourages its students to transfer among its various schools, Aiden said.

“I think Tufts would give me a better chance to explore,” he said. “I was accepted to the College of Arts and Sciences, but I’ll have the opportunity to move to engineering if I wanted to.”

Although Aiden considered attending the University of Miami, Tufts offered him a much better financial aid package, he said.

“Miami hardly gave me any money, so I didn’t think it was worth it to go there,” he said.

Aiden has also decided not to take a gap year between his high school senior year and his college freshman year, although he was considering taking one earlier in the year.

“I decided it wouldn’t be that meaningful,” he said. “I was told that at a high school level, gap years aren’t very focused around a student’s growth but [are] more about the money surrounding the gap year.”

Madison* the Performer
and Zoe* the Artist have committed to the schools they were accepted to early decision, Wesleyan University and New York University, respectively.




*names have been changed