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nervous about college

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histortluva21st's picture
Joined: Feb 2006
nervous about college

aaah! im so nervous about colleges so heres what i got so far and im a sophomore whos nearing the end of the school year. is this good engouhg for schools like harvard, columbia, upenn, etc?
gpa - 3.96
first place in a statewide essay contest
architecture camp at a well known school
art classes with a private tutor
part of an art society
head of a group that vistis a home for the mentally retarded every saturday
participates in two youth organizations
plans on participating in more community service this year
takin ap ush
plan on takin 5-6 more aps in high school
will be head of a tutor program that i created within my high school
a semi-finalist in a nationwide bible competition (extremely hard!)
goin to art school summer program in chicago
so thats it...hope its enough (hopefully ill get an 5 on the ap this yr and will win the two writing contests i entered this year)
does anybody know of any history contests i could enter? what about science competitions?
-historyluva21st (sry, the name got screwed up in the registration process)

punchinfaces's picture
Joined: Aug 2006

all that is good, but universities like Harvard, Columbia, and upenn aren't necessarily the best schools to go to. Just because they're labeled Ivy league doesn't mean they're the best schools for you.
check this article out from the most recent TIME magazine (as of August 20, 2006)...

The Ivy League's X Factor
Posted Sunday, Aug. 13, 2006
I went to Princeton. There: my résumé. Usually I slip it in more casually. I wait for an opening, a cue, a question. I rarely wait very long, though. As every Ivy League graduate discovers, the greatest benefit of that education is social, not intellectual. I went to Princeton. That statement opens a lot of doors. But should it?

The first time I asked myself that question was in the fall of 1980, a month or so after arriving on a campus that struck me as a version of heaven on earth. The buildings cast elaborate, Gothic shadows that I had never seen in the Midwest, where I had attended public high school and dreamed of someday going east to glory. My fellow classmates wore natty outfits that put my dull provincial threads to shame. They also spoke more impressively than I did, dropping the names of ancient Greek philosophers and contemporary French deconstructionists. What was a deconstructionist, exactly? I wasn't sure. But I was dying to learn.

I learned instead--and in only a few weeks--that Princeton wasn't heavenly at all but a flawed, all-too-human institution whose reputation seemed exaggerated compared with the quality of the education it offered. Because I had transferred there from a smaller school--Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn.--I had a basis for comparison. Although Princeton had far more money and mystique, its reading lists were composed of the same books, and its students were filled with the same questions. But the students carried those books with more aplomb, and they asked their questions with more confidence.

That was the Ivy League's X factor. It bred confidence. I remember taking an exam once next to the heir to a legendary fortune who kept peeking at my test sheet. I knew a few things that he didn't, it turned out. Me, the striving, uncertain country boy who had aced the SATs as though by accident, only to end up surrounded by aristocrats who stole my answers when they felt stumped.

Later, many years after I graduated, as I watched my former classmates climb to the top of enormous corporations, publish prizewinning books and dream up hit TV shows, I felt I was rising with them. I knew deep down, of course, that they, and I, were no better than anyone else, but the world seemed to think we were, and that was thrilling. Even though we learned nothing at Princeton that we couldn't have learned elsewhere, the place gave us a calling card whose impact and power were undeniable. I assume it has opened doors for me, but none of the gatekeepers have said as much.

I went to Princeton. A winning ticket in the social lottery. And although I might not have deserved it, I cashed it anyway. Advancement is partly a game, I learned in college, and while games are not always fair, they're still worth playing. So say the victors, anyway.


Michael Jordan plays ball. Charles Manson kills people. I talk. - Thank You for Smoking

kgreer02's picture
Joined: Sep 2006

My sister applied to Harvard when she was a senior. She got into GW with a full honours scholorship and Harvard rejected her so she went to GW though Harvard was apparently her first choice. After graduating GW she got a near perfect score on her LSATS and was accepted to every reputable law school ivy and otherwise she applied to. Including Harvard. That's where she currently is for graduate school. She admits that if she had gone to Harvard for undergrad, she wouldn't be in the great position she is now. She wasn't ready for it and she didn't really think it through..she just wanted to go because it was an Ivy and because it was, well HARVARD. But by going to GW she got many internship, job oppurtunities, and connections she could not have gotten at Harvard.

So I agree with punchinfaces...just make sure you consider all your options throughouly.

What's picture
Joined: Mar 2005

What are you wanting to go into? Find this out before you look at a college.

tgtgcgirl's picture
Joined: Nov 2005

Yeah, that's good enough, I would say, so long as you can pay for it! Those are schools for rich people, sad but true. I recommend Questbridge - google it I guess, I don't have the exact adress. Basically, if you can't afford a nice college but you are a good student and actively involved in a lot of stuff (which it looks like you are), they offer some awesome (even full) scholarships. It's a rigorous application process, but it can be worth it. I came close - I was a finalist, but that wasn't good enough. Without a full ride, there's no way I could afford it. So I'm going to a state school, but you know what? I'm still getting a great education. So don't sweat it too much. It's mostly the name you'd be paying for anyways.

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