Where Are You Applying to College?
By: Andy, Minds Matter Class of 2016
The college process began way before the start of my senior year. During the summer before my senior year, I focused on finding colleges that would be a good fit for me based on features such as the location, the body size of each class, and the specific majors offered at each college.
This summer, I went to an international summer program in Chiang Mai, Thailand with the Experiment in International Living. I was tasked to do many things that were not necessarily in my comfort zone, such as living with a host family in a really small village, going on scavenger hunts in the busy streets of Chiang Mai and Bangkok, and riding on water buffalos and elephants. I realized from this trip that no matter the circumstance or the environment, I am really adaptive and I can cope with change really well. As a result, location is not really a priority for me when it comes to searching for a college. I have schools on my list that are all over the country, such as Oberlin College, which is in a small rural setting in Ohio; University of Rochester, which is in a medium suburban setting in New York; and Drexel University, which is in a large urban setting in Pennsylvania.
Another determining factor is the body size of each class. I attend high school at NEST+ m (New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math), a K-12 school on the Lower East Side. Our class sizes are very small. I enjoy the amount of attention we get from teachers, but I often dread group discussions in the classroom. Some students argue that they shine in small environments, but I realized that I learn best when I am just alone and there isn’t so much attention on me. I see myself being in a larger community with a larger student body. I enjoy meeting new people and having more freedom outside the classroom to do things that I like. Schools such as SUNY Stony Brook, Northeastern University, and New York University fulfill this requirement for me.
In my opinion, the specific majors offered in each college are very important when seeing if a school is a good fit. Early on, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in medicine. Medicine appeals to me because it has the ability to heal. I want to be part of a field that saves and improves lives through advances in medicine and research. I want to follow the pre-med track with a major in either Biomedical Engineering or Microbiology. As a result, Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, and Boston University are on my college list because of their wonderful programs and internship opportunities.
I have many other colleges on my list such as University of Pennsylvania, University of Chicago, Stanford University, University of Southern California, and Brown University, which I am applying to through QuestBridge. QuestBridge is a prestigious national merit scholarship for low-income high school students.
Learn more about Andy in his next post!