The fall of my senior year was way more relaxed for me than it was for everyone else I knew. My application essay was modified from a junior year writing assignment, so I only had to do slight revisions. And I only applied to two schools: Ithaca College, both my number-one and my safety, and George Washington University, my not-guaranteed but it was a backup in case I decided not to do speech pathology.
So I had it easy from the get-go. But the biggest reason I got to sit back and relax while everyone else wrote supplement essays over Christmas and unnecessarily worried they wouldn’t get in anywhere? Early Action.
The idea is simple–you apply early to your school in November or December and you hear back early (December through February, usually). You aren’t bound to a contract to attend and you still have until May 1 to decide where you want to go. Seriously, I don’t know why more seniors don’t apply EA to schools they think they might like to go to. It’s basically the best deal in the college admissions process.
I applied Early Action to Ithaca, so by mid-December I knew I was officially going to college.
Though in reality I knew I was going to Ithaca since April of my junior year. One visit was all it took to fall in love with the school, but I wasn’t always so keen on it. In fact, my mom practically had to drag me there.
“Look at this school,” she said in January of junior year, “It’s medium-sized, and they have all your programs–speech, education, Spanish, and even a dedicated photography minor. Plus they have a 5-year accelerated Master’s program for speech.”
It seemed too good to be true. It’s extremely hard to find speech-language pathology programs at medium-sized schools, and both of those elements were musts for me. The 5-year program and the photography were the sweetest icing on the already seemingly perfect cake.
“The only thing is that it’s in upstate New York.”
“So I can’t go there. It snows too much.”
“Let’s just visit. They have everything you want. You can tolerate the snow for five years!”
“No. I won’t go. It snows.”
I gave in a week later, telling her I wanted to visit during our 10-day-10-colleges trip to the East Coast.
And my campus visit was amazing. I got to sit in on a phonetics class that I didn’t understand at the time but found interesting anyway. Three separate students struck up conversation and encouraged me to choose Ithaca. One shared her workbook so I could follow along and explained a bit about her speech courses. One told me not to be scared of the snow, even though I hadn’t mentioned my concern. One asked me if I was German–her grandmother was named Sabine (pronounced the same). I didn’t even have to initiate (I would’ve been too nervous anyway), they were genuinely enthusiastic about the school.
I then got to meet with a professor in the speech department (who’s now my advisor, actually) and tour the clinic, followed by the regular campus tour.
By 2pm, I was sold on Ithaca. I loved the student body, I loved my department’s faculty, and I even loved the ugly 1970s architecture (halls of Ivy are too intimidating for me anyway). I decided I could tolerate the snow since the people were so warm.
Three years later, I still love the student body. I love my department’s faculty. I don’t hate the ugly 1970s architecture. And I tolerate the snow.
I cringe a bit saying it, but it’s true: sometimes mother does know best.
This post is part of my April A to Z Challenge. For more All Things College posts, click here.