Meet the Class is back for a third year! It’s an opportunity for parents, educators, and admissions professionals to get a look at individual seniors and what they go through to find their school. Below you’ll meet Katie, who is quite ambitious—she plans to apply to around 25 schools. Read her full first interview below.
Meet the Class gets updated each month from September to May. Each installment features 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. Names may be changed to protect privacy.
Katie ATTENDS A Private Christian HIGH SCHOOL IN Ohio
Tell me about your high school. Is it a "normal," comprehensive high school, or a magnet or charter? How many students does it have? Have you been there for all your high school years, or have you moved there?
I go to a private Christian school with about 200 students in the high school. I have been there since the beginning of sophomore year. Before that, I went to an even smaller private Christian school with about 60 students in the high school.
What is your sense of how many of the graduates of your high school go on to college? I don't need the official numbers, just your estimate of the percentage. What kinds of colleges do they go to? When it comes to going off to college, what's "normal" for your high school?
Probably over 90 percent of students who graduate from my high school go to college. Almost everyone goes to 4-year universities. Most people stay at home and commute to school after graduating, but there are always a few who go away either to Christian colleges or public universities a little bit further away.
Is college preparation a big deal in your high school? Do people talk about college a lot? Is it assumed that you will go to college?
I wouldn't say that college prep is a big part of my school. It is expected for pretty much everyone to go to college though. There is always immense pressure to become a doctor or an engineer, and I am constantly told that I should follow those fields. College is talked about a moderate amount, but not too much because it generally stresses people out.
How much direct instruction about college applications or choosing a college have you got from your school, either from teachers or counselors?
I would say that there is pretty much no direct instruction on college. It is something that everyone is expected to know everything about, and there is very minimal help given on it.
Can you think of any good advice you've received about college applications from anyone at your school?
I feel like I am usually the person who is giving others advice on college, so I can't think of anything at the moment.
Are there any colleges that you're already sure you'll apply to? If so, what are they? Is one of them your "dream school"?
Yes! There are a lot of schools I'm pretty sure I'll apply to. I solidified my college list near the beginning of the summer, and nothing has really changed about it. I'm planning on applying to like 25 schools which is pretty insane, but that is just how I am as a human being. My "dream schools" are probably Penn State and University of Hartford. The other schools I'm planning on applying to are Ball State, Central Washington University, Columbia College Chicago, Indiana University Bloomington, Minnesota State Mankato, Montclair State, North Dakota State, Roosevelt, University of Buffalo, Temple, University of Central Missouri, University of Montana, University of Minnesota—Duluth and Twin Cities, University of Oklahoma, University of Rhode Island, University of South Dakota, University of the Arts, Western Michigan, and Wichita State.
What other colleges are you thinking about applying to, even if you're not sure you'll actually apply?
The schools I am currently considering but not sure about are The American Musical and Drama Academy and Hofstra.
What colleges, if any, have you visited or toured? Did any of these tours stand out as being especially good or especially bad?
I have toured Cedarville, Grove City, Malone, and Kent State. The first three are all my family's choices, and I really didn't enjoy them. I am looking for a new experience after I graduate, and they were just more of the same. Kent State is a school that I really love, and if it was further away, I would definitely want to go. I want to feel like I feel on that campus and is kinda the bar I want every school I consider to meet.
What are the main things you're looking for in a college?
I am looking for a stellar Musical Theatre BFA program with an equal focus on acting, music, and dance. If a school is unable to deliver something like that, then it is definitely not for me. I want to be out of state for personal reasons that I would rather not go into. A progressive place would be ideal. Scholarship money is a concern, but it has not been an immediate concern.
How involved is your family in the process? Do you have people in your household who went to college, or are you the first?
My family has not been involved in the process at all. They have shared their concerns and such, but I am doing this basically on my own. My mom went to college, but it was very much different than how my experience has gone thus far.
Have you talked with your family about money? Do you know how much you can afford to pay per year? Do you know how college will be paid for?
I have talked about my family with money. I am going to be totally responsible for my costs after I graduate, and with pursuing a career in the arts, money is something that will definitely go into my college decision. The schools I am applying to all seem to be reasonable after scholarships and financial aid. Right now, I have just been applying to every scholarship that I possibly can because I need all the money I can get for college.
How are you feeling about college applications? Anxious? Confident? Confused? Explain what you're thinking and feeling as you get ready for this endeavor.
I am so excited actually be able to submit the applications I have been working so hard on! College is a major sore spot in my family, so it has come with a lot of unnecessary stress. I can't wait for this crazy adventure to begin. I just hope that I have enough time in the day to get everything done as well I as I possibly can. I am a bit nervous that I won't be able to get into a single program, but I try not to dwell on that and just put everything into all my application materials.
What do you not know about this process that you wish you did? What would you change about the past few years to be more prepared for this?
I wish I would have known how much time the actual applications were going to take. I have like 450 other things to be worrying about, and the applications are just so painstaking and meticulous. I was expecting them be something easy to just get out of the way before the real battle began, which I know is how it is going to go, but they are just so time-consuming. I am hoping to have them done as soon as possible. I feel like I have been as prepared as I possibly could have been for this year. I feel like I do have a good idea what I am doing, and I am as ahead as I could have been. Time is my biggest problem right now.
Is there anything else you want to tell people that I didn't ask?
The reason I am so stressed out about time is that musical theatre applications are all due earlier, and I also have additional supplements and performance elements that are due during application season. I have auditions for pretty much every school that I am applying to. Most of them are in January and February, but they are from November to March.
Thanks for reading! If you have college admissions questions for Katie, leave a comment or email me. You can find other Meet the Class responses here. Please send this to someone who would like to read it, or share it on your social networks.
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