Checking in on Jack

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


Have you submitted any applications yet, either for an October 1 early admissions deadline, or just to send some stuff out early?

Nope! My first deadline is on November 1st, either for Brown (ED I) or for Yale (restrictive EA), and I'm still in the process of re-drafting my personal statement.

FAFSA has just opened up. How soon do you think you'll apply for financial aid? Do you have everything you need to complete that application, or are you still trying to get information?

I'm trying to complete both the FAFSA and the CSS profile before the month of October ends. I was hoping to get the FAFSA done this weekend, but something set that back, so I'm aiming for sometime in the middle of next week. As for the profile, hopefully I can get that done next weekend. I feel like I should have everything I need to at least get the FAFSA done.

Your college list as of last month was:
  Occidental (top choice)
  University of Houston
  Rice (maybe)
  Wesleyan (maybe)
  USC (maybe)
  Reed (maybe)
  Yale (maybe)
  Clark (maybe)

  Do you have any changes to that? 

I discovered that Wesleyan, WASHU St. Louis, Trinity University, and Skidmore don't ask for any supplements, so I'm definitely applying to these schools because, if it's that's easy to apply, then why not? They've all been on my list at one point or another for different reasons, and their financial aid is good enough and can potentially be better than some of my other options, so the potential pay-off exceeds the effort. I ruled out Clark because I felt like the type of curriculum they offer felt too structured / too gimmicky / just not for me. Rice is still a maybe for me because it's mostly on my list because my parents are insisting on my applying. I think after a visit I would know for sure whether or not to keep it on my list. I'm definitely applying to Reed, Yale, USC--and I’m adding UTSA--because they offer me everything I want in a college, which is a flexible curriculum with opportunities to explore the arts, music, and entrepreneurship, a strength in humanities, and a metropolitan-enough setting. I ended up ruling out American University because I don't think I'd like its research-intensive approach to education. 

How much money do you plan on spending on college applications?

$0--my financial status allows me to take advantage of fee waivers on the college app fees.

Which of your current list do you consider "safety schools?" How do you go about picking your safeties?

Occidental, Trinity University, U of H, UT Austin (but not Plan II, which I may or may not apply), Skidmore, Trinity University, and UTSA are schools I consider my safeties, mostly based on reported middle SAT score ranges (if I fall beyond the range or sometimes at the high end of the range I consider it to be a safety) and also based on a special metric provided by EMERGE, which is based on GPA and test scores.

Do you have any deadlines, visits, or interviews in October? What's coming up for you?
I have an Oxy interview this Friday after school and then a fly-in for Tufts University. I'm also applying for Oberlin's fly-in in November.

What else, other than college, is going on for you in school? How are your classes? What extra-curriculars are you involved in this semester, and how much time and energy do they take?

I'm only taking four classes (Yearbook, AP Statistics, AP Macroeconomics, and AP English Lit), so I have a lot of free time and a lot less stress than my junior year. The reason I'm only taking these four classes is because I wanted to take part in an internship with the Houston Chronicle, which takes place during the second half of my school day. I'm also a senior editor for our Yearbook & Co-President of our Asian-American Association, both of which consume much of my time and energy, often more than my actual classes. I still find them really rewarding however, especially when I’m able to make more creative decisions and have a greater say in creative direction, or when I’m organizing stimulating events/activities/discussions from start to finish and tangibly seeing those results.

What else, other than school, is going on in your life? What other commitments do you have?

Once a week I work at the Contemporary Arts Museum as part of Teen Council, but other than that, not much. I still take out my dog and help out around the house and such but I thankfully don't have a lot of major responsibilities that take up too much of my time.

How are you feeling about all this? Are you stressed? Are you optimistic? How are you doing?

Stressed! I really need to get going on my Yale application (one of the heavier applications with a load of supplements) because my deadline for the school is coming real soon; my essay still needs to be cut from a thousand words and then revised and revised again; and I haven’t been prioritizing scholarships as well as I should have. Still, I think I'm optimistic enough and I trust myself enough to get everything done and be at an OK spot in time for my first deadline.


Thanks for reading! The next interview with Jack will be in November. Read Jack's September interview here, or catch up on all the Meet the Class updates here.

Please share this with people who would like to read it. If you have any questions for Jack, leave them in the comments below. You can follow Apply with Sanity on Facebook and Twitter.