Starting the college process, no one wants to hear comments like “This school is more of a reach for a student like you” or “I don’t want you to be disappointed.” It may be the truth from the speaker’s point of view, but what if you think you have a chance? Truth be told, I do.
After walking out of my first college meeting with my guidance counselor, I felt smothered and insignificant. I was an average student with a 3.0 GPA, captain of three varsity sports, and had a list of extracurricular activities that could speak for themselves. Granted, my SAT scores weren’t perfect, but they were average.
So what was the problem? As I sat in the chair, I stared at my mom listening and nodding slowly at my counselor, totally mute. As the counselor spoke, she gave me the benefit of the doubt and let me hear it straight. She bumped my first choice down to my “reach,” my safety school climbed to the middle of my longer list, and a college I had never heard of became my back-up! With steam coming from my ears, I had nothing but criticism left to thrash at her.
She focused on the papers and transcripts on her desk discussing what schools we should be looking at rather than what I wanted and what I was thinking about. But I am a person. Yes, my transcripts, grades and SAT scores reflect who I am, but that’s the me that can only be seen on paper. Colleges can’t see the passion and aggressiveness I feel and release every time I step onto the field or basketball court. They don’t see the student who does things again and again until she gets it right. They can only see the 8.5 x11-inch paper version of me. They can’t see the actual physical, passionate human “me” at admission time.
So I owe it to myself and I deserve a chance. I am a strong human being with a good sense of judgment and I’m going to apply where I think I have a shot. If I get rejected, my head will be up high and I’ll know I wasn’t a fit for that school. If I get accepted, I’ll scream at the top of my lungs and know that the 8.5 x11-inch version did it! Nevertheless, whether I end up at my first choice or an “unknown” college, I know I will be happy. Because I am determined. I am my own person.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.