Because you’re entering a war zone, we have prepared a commencement speech for you and the rest of Class of 2021. Don’t stop reading – this is important.
Firstly, congratulations to our clients who got into their dream school this week! Needless to say, our clients are amongst the top of their class and have worked hard to get into their school of choice. Here’s a list of the schools our clients were admitted to: Yale University, Columbia University in the City of New York, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, Williams College, Duke University, University of Notre Dame, and NYU Stern Undergraduate College!
As a reminder, there’s a major difference between early decision and early action. The primary difference is that early decision acceptances are binding while early action acceptances are non-binding. This means that if you were admitted to the University of Pennsylvania through early decision, you must attend the University of Pennsylvania (this is nothing to be upset about, after all). Otherwise, you have a couple of months to make a decision. Spend it wisely.
To the incoming Class of 2021, we have prepared a speech to help you prepare for the journey that’s ahead. Now, without further ado:
Class of 2021,
So you spent immense hours on your early decision or early action applications. Too many nights did you stay up to revise your personal statements to meet the maximum word count; you even have a file saved for each of the 43 respective drafts of your essay. The countless hours you put into your club positions or volunteering are starting to weigh in. And alas, you were finally accepted into your dream school last week. Great! So your work here is done now, right? Time to sit back and relax?
Nope. It’s not that simple.
If you were accepted through either your early action or early decision application, you’re likely feeling joyous, and you should be! For many others, though, they might be under a lot of pressure – and with good reason.
Getting into your dream school is only the tip of the iceberg; the real battle begins in the fall when your first set of classes begins. What students don’t realize is that they had just signed up for war. The academic rigor of a top university challenges students to step out of their boundaries not only on a mental capacity but on an emotional capacity as well. Therefore, the time between receiving your admissions letter and attending your school of choice should be spent in what we call “preparation mode.”
During preparation mode, you will probably be asking yourself a series of tough questions. “What’s more important to me: the engineering program at MIT, or the financial aid package Cornell is offering me?” “Will I like the ‘vibe’ of the Yale campus and neighborhood in downtown New Haven?” “What will living on the east coast be like? (It’s so cold out there…)” These types of questions will be some of the most important determinants when choosing your school. Here’s some wisdom we thought we’d share with you:
Be Smart Financially
Money is a huge factor when it comes to picking your school. Students are often presented with the dilemma of sacrificing going to their dream school to attend a school that’s offering a better financial aid package. For example, one of our clients received a much more preferable offer from Yale University than Princeton University, which ultimately led to her decision in attending Yale.
Sure enough, reducing your student loan debt now can provide a lot of financial relief a couple years down the line. Because each school offers different financial aid packages, the amount of financial aid that you receive is important to consider when weighing your options.
“The School Is Nice, But I Hate Living Here!”
Committing to a school means committing to your home for the next two to four years. Not only is this the place you will be attending classes and participating in different clubs and organizations, but you will be living there as well. Students often forget that the school they choose to attend will also be the same place where they carry out their daily lives: eat, shower, study, sleep – you name it.
Having early exposure to your prospective school of choice can help give you a better idea of whether the campus is a right fit. If you have attended the Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS) academic summer program in the past and think you would be happy attending Yale, then your decision is already made. You could probably withdraw from all other schools and be satisfied with your decision. If you haven’t had a chance to step onto campus, then go visit! If you are unable to physically visit, many top universities have virtual tours that you could navigate online. Take advantage of technology!
Last but not least, don’t fall victim to senioritis! It’s very tempting to take it easy in school now that you have been admitted into your dream school, but it’s extremely important to stay on top of your game.
Colleges and universities will still require you to do well in your classes and continue to excel. For that reason and while it’s rare, schools reserve the right to rescind their acceptance offer to you if they spot any red flags, such as getting a D in AP Chemistry during your last semester. With that being said, stay diligent for the remainder of the school year! It’s the final stretch!
Over the next couple of years, you will begin facing novel challenges, like living on your own, figuring out how to choose a major, and adapting to an irregular schedule. You will also likely find yourself working much harder than you did in high school and wanting to become involved on campus. You may even find an internship that will lead to your next job! These are only a couple of the challenges that will come your way, but when the time comes, you’ll be prepared because, well… you prepared!
As the winter holidays have finally come to an end and the year of 2017 commences, students should also begin thinking about the next steps, such as applying to FAFSA (if you haven’t already) and taking their last SAT or ACT tests. Of course, you should take the time after graduation to let loose a bit and relax, but remember not to let your guard down.
As previously mentioned, it’s extremely important to stay on top of your classes to make sure you protect your early action or early decision acceptance offer. Too often do students begin to slack off before even graduating, forgetting that their admission to their dream school is provisional. In other words, schools can rescind their offers to its provisional students. Keep on studying!
And lastly, if you weren’t accepted through early action or early decision, it’s not the end of the world! The school year is not over, and you will still likely get into one of your top schools of choice. College may bring you some of your most memorable experiences in your life, and taking the time to pick the school that’s right for you is essential. You don’t want to just settle for a school because you had trouble deciding. Picking your college of attendance will take some brainwork, but we believe that you have it in you. Stay diligent and stay warm.
Class of 2017, “May the Force be with you.” (Star Wars)