How I Navigated the College Search Process
Class of 2017
Cameron Woods is from Yarmouth, Maine. She is a formidable athlete who contributed to NYA’s varsity volleyball and lacrosse programs, and she is also a talented actor, singer, and musician. She performs with NYA’s Bluegrass Ensemble and in Studio Band and has spent years devoted to piano instruction. She helped start an investment club on campus and competed on NYA’s very successful Math Team. Probably Cam’s greatest devotion has been reserved for the Special Olympics. She will attend Colby College in the fall of 2017.
I am the anomaly. I fell in love with a small liberal arts school, Colby College, early on in the college search process, and looked no further. That is lesson number one: if you feel it in your soul, and love it with your whole heart, dedicate everything you have to that one school. If that school, for whatever reason, doesn’t love you back, think about taking a gap year and busting your butt doing something worthy of acceptance. Make them love you, don’t just ask.
I didn’t expect to have such a strong connection with just one school; I didn’t expect to have such a strong connection with any school, for that matter.
Despite visiting a handful of schools near and far, and having arguably my best interview at an elite university—practically being ensured a spot—I didn’t have that same feeling. And it wasn’t worth forcing, even if it meant sparking initial disappointment in my parents. I didn’t expect to have such a strong connection with just one school; I didn’t expect to have such a strong connection with any school, for that matter. Yet, this seemingly preconceived notion of mediocre affection vanished as I took my first step on the spacious campus of Colby College as a prospective student. This leads me to lesson number two: you need to visit the campus to truly know the college; an online virtual tour will not do the trick.
Try to make as many connections to the school as possible. Reach out to friends, family, and anyone who might know someone, because (lesson number three): the more people you know, the greater chance you have of getting in. While grades, SAT scores, extracurricular activities, and essays matter, so do phone calls from alumni advocating on your behalf. Or emails from current students to members of the admissions committee, mentioning how great you were to host or how cool it was that you not only sat in on, but also participated in, one of his or her classes. These things matter. That element of connection matters.
Navigating the college search process was hard, sure. But I, like all of my fellow classmates, got through it. And you will, too.
North Yarmouth Academy is an independent, college preparatory, coeducational school for toddlers to students in grade twelve. Since 1814, NYA has fostered integrity, character, and intellect in its students.
For more information, please contact NYA at 207-847-5423 or visit our website at nya.org