Become a leader for positive change with the Bezos Scholars Program.

Contributed by
LUIS GIRALDO
Aspen Institute Intern and Franklin and Marshall College Student
Categories
Community & News

College Application Insights from a Current College Student

As many of the locals in Miami, Florida I was born somewhere else, in my case, Medellin, Colombia. Seventeen years ago I immigrated to the United States where I began to call the sweltering heat and humidity of Miami my home. This June, I interned for the new Aspen Institute President, Dan Porterfield, and met the 2018 Bezos Scholars while they were at the Aspen Ideas Festival.

I am a junior at Franklin and Marshall College (F&M) currently majoring in business. My goal at F&M is to learn how to express ideas in ways that others can understand the value of what I am presenting. I believe there are many community programs making a tremendous impact in the families they support. I plan to use my background in business to expand the reach of these organizations by addressing the financial and logistical issues that might come up as they expand influence to impact a larger community.

As a high school student, I applied to two schools, one I could afford and Franklin and Marshall. I knew I would be fine wherever I went because my experience and my education are ultimately in my hands. I was very fortunate to receive the Posse Scholarship through the Posse Foundation. The Posse scholarship is founded on the idea that without having some sort of familiar network to rely on, students are limited in their ability to explore their unique gifts. By creating a cohort of 10 students, who meet once a week for 8 months, Posse Scholars create lasting bonds that they can depend on as they go through new challenges at a college far away from home.

At Franklin and Marshall, my Posse cohort has helped me explore different aspects of the school outside of my initial purview, as well as have different friends to reach out to when I struggle and as I grow. Since I started attending F&M I have been amazed by the wealth of opportunities to create and explore my own perspective. Even before I began at F&M I heard countless times from current students, about the tremendous amount of support professors provide. As I learned more about Franklin and Marshall through its alumni and current students I realized that I liked the environment that existed there. Although I was never able to visit F&M, I had spoken to enough students there to get a feeling of what my experience might be like if I attended. This helped me calm my fears about not knowing what I was stepping into, as well as, knowing that I would be able to find opportunities to pursue my interests.

Although students can never be 100% certain that they will love the school they pick, it’s important to remember that there are always options available, like transferring to another school. Students should act with as much preparation as possible while also understanding that life is an unfolding journey. Things might not go according to plan, but that might be the most exciting and interesting place to start exploring.

My advice to students in the college application and decision-making process would be:

  1. Reach out
    Talking with current students and recent alumni helps prospective students learn more about the college experience from students who are attending and alumni who have graduated and can look back. Contacting the school’s Admissions Department is a great way to get prospective students in contact with current students and alumni.
     
  2. Think about the experience
    Spend time thinking about what you would like to get out of college and why you think you want to major in a particular field. If you have a better idea about the future you want, it will be easier for you to know what you are looking for in a prospective college.
     
  3. Visit the campus
    Many colleges and universities have programs that allow prospective students to visit their campus throughout junior and senior year of high school. High schools are generally supportive of these trips. When contacting the Admission Department ask about these programs. Sometimes the programs are funded by the university, or only happen at certain dates throughout the year.
     
  4. Paying for college
    If you are considering going into serious debt for your undergraduate degree, it is most likely not worth it. It would be wiser to go to a less prestigious school and shine there, while later taking out loans for a more prestigious graduate school in your field.
     
  5. College rankings
    Avoid looking at the overall rankings of a school, but rather look at the individual ranking for the program you’re interested in applying to. For example, Ohio State University and the University of Florida are not as prestigious or selective when compared to Harvard University, however both of these schools have stronger veterinarian programs than Harvard does.
Contributed by
LUIS GIRALDO
Aspen Institute Intern and Franklin and Marshall College Student
Categories
Community & News

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