Sunday, July 10, 2011

The College Quest--Part I: Going where no one has gone before

   Sitting in West Main Restaurant in Charlottesville, Virginia, my father and I conceived an idea. A brilliant idea.  A terrible idea. My folks are always trying to find ways to boost my college application, and as I tried to distract myself with what was probably the best spinach-artichoke dip I had ever eaten, my dad gave his pitch to what he thought was application gold.
   Normally, when my parents begin talking about the future (a broad term for college, in this case), the family dinner turns into a one-man competitive eating competition as far as I am concerned. I figure the more my parents see me occupied with chewing, the fewer questions they will ask me about this school or that school. I hate “college-talk”. But now, the discussion has grown unavoidable, and I finally took matters into my own hands and dragged my father across the country to look at schools. It was on this trip that the above idea was born, and I have to hand it to Dad, because he actually had a few things to say that made me want to listen.
   Here it is: through my blog “According to Dazz”, I will share my entire college process with all of you. Everything from my search for schools, my applications, and my final decision will be made public. You will hear about schools I have seen, what I thought about them, what the applications are like, why I apply to the places I do, where I am accepted and where I am denied, and how I finally arrive at my final decision (maybe we can even go all LeBron James style on this one . . . or maybe not). Essentially, this is like proposing to someone on the Jumbotron. You can wind up looking really good, or really bad.
   One thing I need to say right now before we go on: this is in no way at all designed to be a giant frosted cupcake on the top of my college app. I will be giving my honest thoughts on these places with the full realization that anything I say can be used against me. That means if I did not like a certain aspect of University of Virginia or Vanderbilt, you will hear about it. We are talking about absolute transparency. This honesty could lead to a really impressed admissions director, or a really pissed off admissions director, but that is up to the schools at the end of the day. All I can control is giving you guys the most straightforward analysis that I can. So if this turns into that cupcake, fine. If it absolutely bombs, that is alright too, so long as all of you are reading the real deal.
   This is obviously a huge risk, but there is a reason for all of this. Remember that movie Armageddon with Bruce Willis? About how NASA recruited those untrained oil drillers to go into space and try to blow up that asteroid? The fuel behind the movie was that the plan was so crazy it just might work. The same goes for this series. I want to be able to put this blog on an application, and this might show schools originality, dedication, and guts. So is it self-serving? Of course it is. But the good part for you comes at the end when I receive my comeuppance from all the places I applied.
   In order for this series to be successful, you, the reader, need some information. Denial or acceptance does not mean anything if you do not know what kind of person is trying to be accepted in the first place. So, here is what you need to consider about this applicant when reading onward:

SAT Scores:
Critical Reading-680


   As far as a transcript goes, I am not going to sit here and list every class I have taken and my grades in each. I do not want to write all that out, and you do not want to read it, so how about an overview?
   If things go as planned at Notre Dame, I should graduate Summa Cum Laude, meaning I will have completed at least four AP classes and 10 additional honors classes. With my targeted schedule for next year taken into account, I will have the four APs as well as 11 honors. In terms of grades, as of this summer I have (out of 24 classes) five B/B+ scores, with the rest of my classes handing out an A-/A. My (estimated) total number of credits upon graduation will be 32.

GPA (as of July 2011):
Weighted: 4.13
Unweighted: 3.85

   Outside of school, I have been involved in numerous sports and other activities (this is already sounding like a canned college essay, excellent). I have ran track since sophomore year and I played football through my junior year (Some of you will know that “played” is a very loose term here, as I had a season-ending injury my sophomore year and a career-ending injury my junior year. But do colleges need to know that? Hell no!). I have been swimming in each offseason, and I recently started water polo this past winter. I have written for the NDP newspaper every year, and I started this blog this past summer. I recently became heavily involved in the Miracle League of Arizona for my community service, and I am (brace yourself) going to be an Eagle Scout come December. The gist of this whole thing is that I keep myself busy, and all of this will be articulated in greater detail when the application process begins to roll around.

   Here is how this is going to pan out over the next few weeks. Now that I have some visits under my belt, I will start to profile some schools. I will show you what I liked, what I was not so crazy about, all that good stuff. Eventually, you guys should be able to develop a pretty good understanding of what I am looking for in a college, as well as an understanding of the colleges themselves. Remember, you are receiving all the dirt as well as the gold. The stuff that usually comes in a folder marked ‘Confidential’? Consider yourself an insider. I will answer any questions, accept outside information I (will have definitely) missed out on, and take anyone’s suggestions on how this whole series can be made more informative or insightful.
   So there you go. Tell your friends, tell your family (Actually, you know what? You don’t have to tell your family, because this thing is a freaking breeding ground for “college-talk”. Seriously, that would be like the kiss of death), tell everyone who might be remotely interested in watching this poor soul make a potential fool of himself. This is a perspective that you cannot find in a book; it is something original, candid, and the way I see it, it could be pretty useful too. Talking about college is something I was never crazy about, but I figure if something is going to pull me away from food, I better make it worth my time.
   The bottle has been smashed, the anchors are away, and we just hit full sail. We aim for Charlottesville, Virginia, where UVA awaits a teenager’s thoughts. Cross your fingers for me, the waters might be rough ahead.

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