When high school graduation is just around the corner, many people spend their time preparing for standardized testing and researching many different post-secondary education opportunities that are out there. Personally, I had a different after high school experience and chose not to attend school right away. However, when I did begin my education journey, I started out at a community college, and shortly after that, the time for me to begin applying to universities arrived. Although I had my heart set on attending Buena Vista University for a long time, I decided to not settle right away and look into other schools that could possibly be a good fit for me.
In this process of looking into other universities, I learned that I did not have to pay application fees. I ended up applying to 25 different schools and a good portion of those applications filled out were for the Ivy Leagues. I applied to the following prestigious universities: Stanford University, Harvard University, Yale University, Duke University, and Columbia University. This process of applying to attend one of the Ivy leagues was exciting. I was fully aware that my chances of getting in were slim to none due to various understandable reasons. However, I still liked the idea of getting the opportunity to speak with their admissions counselors and learn more about the universities.
During the beginning of my sophomore year, a convention for Ivy leagues was held across the river of my hometown, and I was very excited to meet with people that were affiliated with the universities. My friend Linda attended this convention with me, and we got to learn about the application process, campus traditions, and personal experiences that alumni had. It was a fulfilling experience getting to talk to admissions counselors from Stanford, Harvard, and Duke. Although Stanford was my top school out of the three because of the majors they offered, learning about Dukes campus traditions was interesting. One thing that stood out to me during Duke’s presentation was a term that they call Flunch. It is a tradition on their campus for students to pick one faculty member each semester and get lunch with them. They do this so that students and faculty can become more connected with each other. How cool is that?
Not too long after the informational convention, it came time for me to start filling out the applications. In all honesty, this process was quite stressful. So many tedious questions, but also so many questions that were worth pondering on before answering. A question that stood out to me was, “What is the most significant problem that our society faces today?” It really got me thinking, and it wasn’t easy for me to come up with an answer on the spot. The time and effort that I put into answering short answer and essay length questions about my perspectives on different topics helped me better understand myself. I know that basic information is necessary when applying for college, however getting to answer questions that really dig deep into the core of who I am as a human being was validating.
It’s evident why it is so hard to get into these universities. They care about more than just your name and where you come from. They want to know what you believe in, where you see yourself in ten years, and how resilient you are. This process was long, but learning the unique things about each school, and getting to reflect on my own strengths was an all-around good experience for me. One interesting fact about this time in my life is I got the opportunity to be interviewed by someone at Yale. Even though I did not get into any of these schools, I made the most of things and printed off all of my rejection letters! The great thing about not getting accepted in is I get to finish up my education at the Yale of the Midwest!