Monica Cho, News Writer
Seniors have only a day until sending in their college decisions to whether they would like to attend the university or not. They’ve worked ruthlessly, doing anything and everything for their dream schools. Now, with 29 days left until graduation, it’s time for them to get ready for their new lives and reflect on all their hard work.
The seniors probably all screamed out “I got accepted!” sometime during the past few months. Mike Park, who will be attending Chinese University of Hong Kong, was accepted by all of the colleges he applied to. He shared his experience of the moment he received his first acceptance letter. “I was punching my pillow and screaming in the dorm. The dorm parent thought I was fighting with someone else. I guess I was really emotional and overjoyed. I was very happy at that moment.” Mike talked of the two months he waited for the admission result. “It was the worst two months. It felt so long. It felt like a year! Every time I went home, my parents asked me, “Hey, did the university reply back?” and everybody that I met kept on asking me, so it was sort of a pressure to hear those kinds of questions about the results. I guess it was worth waiting for, since I got accepted.”
The seniors had to look at the colleges’ requirements –Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT), SAT subject tests, American College Testing (ACT), and minimum Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score – and what mattered to them, to carefully decide on the schools they were applying to.
A lot of the seniors claimed that the standards in choosing their colleges were based on the name value and high ranking in the major. Daniel Sohn’s standard was one how good the biomedical engineering department was. He ended up applying and being accepted by Johns Hopkins University because it was the number one medical school in the United States and was his dream school.
While it was ‘a dream come true’ moment when the students got accepted, there were devastating moments when they were rejected by the colleges. Matthew Kim was rejected from his dream school, Vanderbilt University. Like all the other students, he spent a lot of time and poured his energy for the glorious acceptance letter. Matthew commented on his initial reaction on receiving the rejection letter. “I was just stunned that all my efforts have been wasted.” However, his thought changed after some time. “As time went on and as I realized that there is a plan from God, I could find my own pace back again.” Out of the five schools that he was accepted by, he decided on going to University of Wisconsin-Madison with honors, one of the top three schools which offers a secondary educational major.
Jee Eun Kim was rather indifferent to her rejection letters. When she received them, she told herself, “Okay I’m cool with it. I don’t like you guys, you don’t like me. That’s cool.” The reason for her response was because she applied to those schools for the sake of applying, but not because she wanted to. She also took it well for her dream school’s rejection letter, because she predicted the result after the first few rejections. “Okay. If schools at this level are going to reject me, then I’m pretty sure my dream college won’t accept me,” was her response. She decided on going to Washington University in St. Louis.
Going to college is a big deal for everyone and the students were pressured during the application process. Students all around the world are pressured in one way or another, and the pressures are mostly to receive scholarship, to go to an Ivy League or a high name value university, or to go to the same university as their parents or siblings. GSIS students were no exception to this. “I think I put pressure on myself rather than other people putting pressure on me. Although my parents did have that typical Korean expectation of going into a top university and my grandparents as well, the only school they know in the States is basically Harvard and I’m like, “Grandma, that’s not the only school in the world.” Other than that it was that I wanted to please my parents, I wanted to give them a show of appreciation for their years of support. That’s how I wanted to pay them back,” commented Jee Eun.
Now, there is less than a month left until graduation. The seniors are about to leave their comfort zone called “high school” in their home country, and face the reality of becoming college students in a foreign land. The students had various responses to their new future. Danny Jung, who was accepted by University of California at Los Angeles, commented, “I just want to stay back in high school for the rest of my life. I don’t want to go to university and study for four more years. I want to be free after two years of IB.”
Denny Kim, who was accepted by Emory University, had a very different response. While he feels great that he’s moving on, he doesn’t want to leave because GSIS has become his comfort zone. After spending eight years at this school, it’s hard for him to leave for a new environment.
The seniors had heartfelt advice for the juniors, to prepare them for the application process. “Until you apply, you have to do everything you possibly can whether it’s academics, CAS activities, essays, or whatever,” Mike continued, “The relaxing moment will come, so you have to try hard enough to get accepted by a single college to start enjoying those moments.”
Jee Eun also gave advice for the juniors. “Don’t apply for the sake of applying, because the applicants are experts and they’re going to know if you’re interested or not. I’m pretty sure it shows in you application. So save your money, save your energy.”
Although pleased with the amazing results, Mrs. Adams wanted to comment on how the students are forgetting that they can lose their acceptances if they don’t keep they grades up. “If your grades fall, or if you slack up, or if you don’t do your best, then they’re going to think, ‘Okay, this is the kind of work ethic this kid has.’” She emphasized the seriousness of the issue, since she needs to send in an evaluation along with the transcripts. “They ask me whether my recommendation is still the same. I absolutely cannot check that if your grades have dropped drastically, which means you haven’t been doing what I told this college you could do.” While it is tempting to catch senioritis, it is important for the students to realize that they have IB exams in less than a week and college rescinding their acceptance letters is the last thing they would want to hear after graduating.
The general atmosphere amongst the seniors is that they have done remarkably well with their college results, getting into top universities. “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined,” said Henry David Thoreau. As the class of 2014 makes their way to graduation, those that remain behind look forward to seeing them spread their wings and fly towards a whole new world called “college.”