Heading into my senior year, my list of schools for college applications was short: Wake Forest. Yes. One school. Have I given all the parents and college counselors out there heart attacks?
My story doesn't end there, of course (those who read the spoiler in my last post know this). I applied to my local college, Augusta State University (now Georgia Regents University), as my back-up to Wake. If I didn't get into Wake, I would apply again as a transfer student. One way or another, I was going to get there.
Then my college counselor at Westminster, Russ Merritt, told me that Westminster was nominating me for the Jefferson Scholarship at the University of Virginia. To be considered for this competitive full-ride scholarship, I had to apply for admission to UVa. Sighing, I filled out another application. Hey, if UVa wanted to give me a free college education, I'd happily and graciously consider them.
My Jefferson Scholar path was short. I made the first cut, but I completely failed the state-level interview. I didn't know a thing about UVa--I didn't even want to go there! And these facts shone through in my interview, where I was up against mostly UVa legacy students who had been raised to the tune of "The Good Old Song". Oh well, Wake was my destiny, so I wasn't too phased by the experience.
Again with the spoiler: I ultimately ended up at UVa. What if I had been better prepared and hadn't squandered that chance? I did no interview practice, no research on UVa (some public school in Virginia, right?). I was so sure of my fate that I was a poor steward of a fine opportunity. That interview in downtown Atlanta is one of the moments in my life I wish I could do over. But "do overs"s are rare things in the application process. Even if you think you have your whole college path figured out, give your best each time you present yourself to a college: in a casual introduction, on a tour, on paper (or virtual paper), and in interviews.