This is one of the few posts in which I will discuss the application process and give a few tips to prospective students.
My senior year flew by quickly. I began it in August by completing my 221-page William T. Hornaday Silver Medal application for Boy Scouts. Afterwards, I started writing my essays for college through the Common Application. These essays hold a lot of weight in the application process. They allow an admissions officer to “hear” an applicant’s voice and truly understand his or her perspective of the world. It shows how effectively he or she can communicate through writing.
Here is my advice for any high school student who wishes to apply to Princeton:
- Good grades and high test scores are a given. Maximize these, but do not worry if you do not have a perfect score. Get them within range.
- From the beginning of high school, follow your passion(s) to the fullest. Do not participate in an activity solely because it will “look good on an application.” Only do things that you enjoy and do them better than everyone else. Specialize.
- Participate in and lead community service projects. You are a citizen of this country, so you should be active in the community. Additionally, Princeton has a great emphasis on service. The unofficial motto is: Princeton in the Nation’s Service and the Service of Humanity. You too should emphasize service in your application.
- Know yourself well. What makes you tick? Take a weekend off to determine what motivates you. Once you know this, craft the essays around your values.
- Tell a story. Make your essay interesting.
- Bribe the admissions officer. Just kidding, don’t do that. You will get rejected.
Back to my story. All of the colleges had announced their decisions by March 31, known as “Ivy Day” when all of the Ivy League colleges announce release their letters. I applied to nine colleges with: 4 acceptances (Princeton, UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Delaware, and University of Oklahoma), 3 waitlists (Harvard, Cornell, and Duke), and 2 rejects (Yale and MIT). By early April, my decisions were narrowed to UD, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Princeton. I attended Robertson Scholarship finalist weekend on April 9-12, 2016 at UNC (I highly recommend that students apply for this scholarship).
They announced their results on April 15, and I did not receive it. I then chose Princeton. After sending them an e-mail with some financial information, I was able to increase my financial aid grant, lowering the price for my family. Princeton’s promises are true; they do indeed offer a lot of aid. I visited the campus and knew that this was the place for me.