High Stakes: First Step

By Rebecca Nussbaum and Justine Goode

As with the rest of the senior class, these four anonymous students embark on the college admissions process. The Chronicle will check in with the seniors as they face many obstacles and successes to come.


Video Art and Cinema Studies classes piqued Diana’s* interest and inspired her to seek out a career in the film or television industry.

She will apply to film schools, where she can get hands-on experience making movies to jumpstart her career.

Diana wants to apply Early Decision to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, which is currently her first choice. However, she is not sure that it will still be her first choice by the Nov. 1 deadline.

“There’s so much I still don’t really know about what I’m doing,” she said. “It’s still kind of up in the air, but I will apply to whichever school I choose as my first choice.”

In addition to NYU, Diana is looking at other urban schools with film programs like Barnard College, Chapman University and Emerson College.

“I was thinking maybe I could apply to Kenyon, but then again I don’t know what I’d be doing in the middle of Ohio trying to make movies,” Diana said. “Going to New York would be good because I could do internships during the school year at production places.”


Leo*, a varsity athlete, will play his sport in college and may commit to a school within the next few weeks, he said.
He has received offers from Bucknell University, Davidson College, Northwestern University, Occidental College and Tufts University and is talking to Harvard University and Duke University.

“In the great scheme of things, I’m going to go to the best academic school that I can, so if [my sport] is going to help me do that, that’s what I’m going to do,” he said.
Leo is looking for a medium to large school in an exciting environment.

“I would love to go to a school like Dartmouth because there’s so much outdoor stuff to do, even though it’s in the middle of nowhere,” he said. “At the same time, I would love Penn or something like that because there’s lots to do in a city,” he said. “I just want to have something to do.”

So far Leo is feeling good about the application process, saying that even if he doesn’t end up going to one of the schools recruiting him, it’s nice to be recognized as a high caliber athlete.
“It’s cool to have them validate my athletic potential,” Leo said.


Haley*, an artist and varsity athlete, is looking for a spirited, medium to large-sized university.

She will apply Early Decision to her first choice, Vanderbilt University, and Early Action to the University of Michigan, whose non-binding commitment doesn’t conflict with her Vanderbilt application.

“I just want a school with a sense of pride,” Haley said.

Haley doesn’t care if the school is in an urban or rural location, but she would like to be out of Los Angeles.

“I want to be somewhere different,” she said. “I don’t want to be close to home.”

Haley isn’t interested in playing competitive sports in college and is not sure what she wants to major in, although she is interested in psychology and biology.

Haley started her common application, but said she is still apprehensive about the application process.

“It’s hard because it’s so out of our control,” she said. “We can do everything right and still not get into our top choices. It could be a perfect fit and you could still not get in.”

Kyle* is a member of the swim team, and will be taking Advanced Seminar, Physics C: Mechanics and Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism his senior year. He plans on applying early to Yale, though he also likes UC Berkeley and most of the other Ivy League schools.

Kyle is looking for a school that offers both a serious academic experience as well as an exciting atmosphere outside the classroom.

“Someone told me a story that Berkeley won some football game they hadn’t won in a long time and they ripped out a goal post and ran it down a hill,” he said. “I mean, that just sounds really fun.”

Kyle doesn’t know what he wants to study in college, but anticipates that his physics courses this year will direct him towards science.

There is  also the possibility of recruitment for swimming, though he’s waiting to attend a meet to see whether his times are fast enough to be considered.

“For my event, I would need to go 57 [seconds],” he said, “I mean, that’s not too far off my time, so it’s probable, but that’s a pretty fast time.”

Though Kyle  currently spends most of his time swimming or studying, he’s looking forward to the chance to let loose and enjoy himself in college.

“I mean, when you find out who I am you’ll probably be like, ‘Oh that nerd!’” he said. “But really, I just want to have fun.”

*names have been changed