By Alessandra Forero
Hello! My name is Ali Forero and I am currently a junior studying public relations in the College of Communication. Only three years ago, I was a high school student, trying to figure out what my path to college was going to be. I spent my nights—as many of you probably do—studying for SATs, researching universities, and working on my Common Application essay. I eventually decided that I was going to apply Early Decision to BU. Here’s the story of my college application process and my decision to apply ED.
Cambridge, MA. April 2010, 9 p.m.: Hotel room
I stood staring out the hotel window, looking over the Charles River at the glistening Boston skyline. Even I, a born and raised New York Yankees fan, couldn’t deny it was a truly amazing sight.
“Do we have to go on the rest of those tours tomorrow?” I asked my mom.
I was shocked as the words came out of my mouth, considering my mom practically had to drag me to Boston. “There are so many schools in Boston! It’s a great college town!” She told me, “Come on Ali, at least look.”
First stop: Boston University. They say you’ll just know when you find the right school for you. That never made sense to me until I visited BU.
We drove down Bay State Road and parked in front of the Admissions Reception Center. Who knew such a beautiful and peaceful street could be found in the heart of Boston?
As the tour guide led us around a corner onto busy Commonwealth Ave, my heart leapt with excitement. It couldn’t be more perfect, a city school that still felt like a campus! It was its own little city in a way. She told us all the fun facts about BU as we walked by Warren Towers, the George Sherman Union (GSU), and the BU beach.
What if I came to Boston?
If you had a similar reaction when you first visited BU, Early Decision may be right for you. Haven’t visited yet? Give yourself the chance to experience the excitement and give BU the opportunity to meet you.
Boston, MA. July 2010, 10 a.m.: Warren Towers
They say you should show your favorite schools how interested you really are. The more they see your name, the better. So, I applied to BU Summer Challenge, a two week program for high school juniors and seniors. I spent those two weeks living in Warren Towers, taking classes with BU professors, and exploring the city of Boston. If I wasn’t 100% sure about BU when I visited in the spring, then I certainly was now.
I highly recommend this program to any high school student who thinks they might be interested in BU. Actually, I recommend it to any high school student, because it really was so much fun!
Upstate, NY. September 2010, 12 p.m.: Guidance Office
“I want to go to BU!” I told my guidance councilor, with a smile and a nod.
BU was a reach school for me. My GPA and SAT scores were a few points short of BU’s average, according to College Board. But I knew I wanted BU. My guidance counselor told me I should consider applying early decision. This meant two recommendations, an essay, and an early decision agreement, all within the next few months. It was time to get to work.
Number 1: Common Application Essay
500 words. I had 500 words to make Boston University as excited about me as I was about them. My topic changed probably three or four times along the way. Once I finally decided, I went through countless drafts before finally uploading that 500 word essay.
Three things: Start your essay early, have 5 million drafts, and have 6 million people read it. The sooner your Common Application essay is done, the sooner you can click apply. That doesn’t mean rush through it; it means start now and take your time. Think about what you want to write about and then figure out the best way to do so, with the help of as many people as possible. In my case, that meant three teachers, a counselor, my parents, and two neighbors. Most importantly, draft and proofread, and draft and proofread some more.
Number 2: Recommendations
They say it’s important to maintain a good relationship with teachers, visit them during their office hours, stay after class to chat, whatever it takes. I’m not a quiet person, but I was never good at this. I had two teachers whom I had built solid relationships with throughout my four years of high school. First, was my Latin teacher. I got good grades in his class and he knew me well enough after four years, so he seemed like an obvious candidate. Second, was my chemistry teacher. Science was never my strongest subject; that being said, I spent a whole lot of time with that teacher. He knew my personality and he knew how much time and effort I put into that course.
BU requires two recommendations, both of which need to be submitted with your Common Application. Get it done now. Talk to the teachers who know you well; they are the ones who will give you the best recommendations.
Number 3: Early Decision Agreement
I applied to seven or eight schools, some safety schools and a few reach schools, just for fun. None of that mattered anyway, because if I could get into BU that was where I wanted to go. This meant that I was ready to commit right then and there. I also wanted to show BU how excited I was, and I figured that applying early decision was the best way to do so. I signed the Early Decision Agreement and committed to BU, if they wanted me.
There are two general options when applying to BU. Regular decision (application due January 1) and early decision (application due November 1). If you are 100% sure you want to attend BU, then I say early decision is the way to go. Just remember, you can only apply early decision to one college and you can’t back out once you hit apply.
Upstate, NY. October 31, 2010, 7 p.m.: Kitchen Table
My essay was done, recommendations were in, and my application was complete. All I had to do was click submit. I had read it over a million times, but still I checked it just once more. I even had my parents take a glance, just to make sure everything was right. I wasn’t about to mess this up just because I misspelled my last name somewhere on the application.
Check it over. You’ve spent four years working toward college and now so many months on your application. Take another ten minutes to read it over one more time.
Upstate, NY. December 2010 4 p.m.: Yearbook Office
The yearbook doesn’t come out until a few weeks before graduation, but for the yearbook staff December means countless hours of editing to meet deadlines on time. So, naturally, I ignored my mom’s first call and, naturally, she called again. “Decision emails are out! Check and see if you got in!”
I calmly hung up the phone and logged into my Applicant Link account. I didn’t want to have to tell anyone around me if I didn’t get in.
There it was. I took a deep breath before reading my decision… “Welcome to the Class of 2015!”
When you receive your first college acceptance, scream and dance around, call everyone you know and post to every social media platform out there. You have worked so hard and you deserve a little bragging time!