Jack is feeling a little calmer

Jack is in a much better mood this month than when I last talked with him. I guess finishing your Common Application, submitting an app to Yale, and having a successful fly-in visit will do that. jack goes to a pretty diverse high school in one of the most diverse cities in the nation, so coming across less-diverse campuses is making him reconsider some things--and schools. Read the entire interview below. 

Meet the Class is an opportunity for parents, educators, and admissions professionals to get a look at individual seniors and what they go through to find their college.

It’s updated each month from September to May. Each month will feature an interview about both the facts and the feelings of where the student is in the process.

Interviews may be edited lightly for clarity and grammar. 

This is the third interview with Jack,  a senior in the Houston area. He attends a public magnet high school. 

The past two months I’ve begun with the facts and then moved on to the feelings. Let’s do it the other way around this time. How are you doing? When we last talked, you were feeling stressed. Is that any better? Worse? What’s going on in your emotions right now as they relate to school and college applications?

The stress was mounting as my first deadline for Yale was looming closer, but it was still manageable. I made the mistake of chugging through my supplements & essay up to the last minute (I’ve never been very good at setting personal deadlines) so I have some residual stress and some regret because of that poor pacing. But I still feel greatly relieved that it’s submitted and done with, and I was overall really happy with all my responses. I think I’m gonna have considerably less stress with the remainder of the college process because I think the bulk of the stress was coming from finishing the Common App essay, which I got done in time for the Yale app. The Yale app was also one of the meatier apps to complete with a heck-ton of supplements, so getting that done was a huge load off my plate.

You go to a college prep magnet school, so virtually all the seniors at your school are in the same situation you are. What’s the mood of the 12th grade like? How do you think you compare to your peers when it comes to coping with applications?

I’m not exactly sure what the mood is because I feel like the college-bound mindset isn’t as exhibited so outwardly as a high school culture. I think we’re all just in our own worlds going about college stuff like it’s just homework from a class (though maybe I’m just out of touch with how everyone else is feeling). I do get the sense that everyone’s still a little confused about the whole process though, just because the “college process” has so many parts to it that you have to stay on top of--different deadlines, different requirements, scholarships, financial aid, things of that nature. I think I feel a bit more comfortable with the process and have a clearer direction of what I’m supposed to be doing because of the support I get from EMERGE and my awesome EMERGE counselor. 

What kind of support or help are you getting with your applications, either at school or elsewhere?

I’ve had a lot of awesome & dedicated support from my EMERGE counselor, and I’ve also been to our campus college counselor a few times to review my essay. I also go to a couple of my teachers whenever I need a professional second opinion. 

Did you apply to Brown ED-1 or Yale restrictive ED? Does that mean that you won’t be applying to any more schools until you hear back from them?

Ultimately, I decided to apply REA for Yale because I felt like there was more of a guarantee that I would like going to that school if I get accepted since I’ve visited before. Since it’s restrictive, meaning I can’t apply EA to any other schools, I won’t have any applications due until December, but I’m definitely going to keep working on them regardless, especially because Yale is such a massive reach.

How’s your progress on FAFSA?

Done! Now I’m trying to get CSS done within this week!

How did your Oxy interview go? What about your Tufts fly-in? Have you had any other interviews? If so, how did they go? If not, do you have any more scheduled?

My Oxy interview went really well! It was my first interview, so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but the conversation flowed really naturally and I enjoyed talking about stuff I get excited about. All the other interviews I can do can only be scheduled until after I submit applications to that school.  My Tufts fly-in also went really well! That was also my first fly-in so I don’t have anything to compare that to either. It was an awesome school, but the campus was really white, especially coming from Houston. It was the first time in a while where I’ve been in a really white-dominated space, so it was a bit disorienting and an eye-opener. There are still a lot of aspects of Tufts that I appreciate that are still going to lead me to apply though, but diversity has always been important to me, so this experience helps give me a perspective to ground myself in when considering colleges.

Your application list as it stood a month ago was:
Occidental (top choice)
U of Houston
Wash. U in St. Louis
UT San Antonio

Do you have any changes to that?

I’m still on the fence about Reed because, while I absolutely love everything else about it, and while Reed seems to be one of the more relatively diverse institutions, Portland is a really white community, and one of the things I love about Houston is its diversity. (The same situation goes with Skidmore at Saratoga Springs, but their application is so simple that I can just knock it off real quick and postpone thinking about it until later in the process.) I’m also on the fence about adding USC and Pomona College--both schools that have been on my list at one point--because, while there are a lot of aspects about these schools that I really like, there are also aspects that I dislike that I’m not sure how to articulate. They’re also slight reaches, and I feel like I have enough reaches on my list.

At around 16 schools, your list is slightly on the long side. What’s behind that strategy? Do you have a plan for how to decide between all your acceptances? 

I didn’t really have any plans to limit myself. It just so happens that I can see myself being happy at any of these 16 schools; if I could see myself attending only six of these schools then I would only apply to six schools. My plan is to just go through the list one by one in order of the deadline and relative desire for me to go to one school over another while also making sure to vary the order with reaches, matches, and safeties. So I’ll probably knock off Skidmore, Wesleyan, WashU, and Trinity U, since these are all schools that don’t have any supplements, then I’d only have to worry about the other 12 schools. If I end up reconsidering some schools, I can just add and remove schools from my list whenever that happens. 

Have you done anything else college related this month? Is there anything I didn’t ask you want to talk about?

I just got through my CSS Profile and followed up on a fly-in for Oberlin!

Photo by Angela Elisabeth Portraits

Photo by Angela Elisabeth Portraits