As I grew up with two parents who both attended the University of Pennsylvania, it was always assumed that that's where I would go. Stories, memories, pictures and connections with Penn filled our house. My dad joined the alumni team when I was a freshman in high school, and he always volunteered to host all of the events for new Penn students and other local alumni. As a freshman who knew very little, Penn was the only college that I knew anything about. As I heard about more colleges and grew older, I decided to open my mind to new things, but changed my mind about things very quickly. My careers and interests changed from week to week, and from things as different as graphic design to neurosurgery. Always an accelerated students, my grades stayed good and consistent throughout high school. I tested well on the ACTS (not the SATs, but we don't talk about those), and had a hearty list of activities, achievements, and leadership positions. In short, I was the typical overachiever, and I was lined up perfectly for Penn.
As my senior year quickly approached, I started to evaluate my choices. Since both of my parents had attended Penn, my chances would rise substantially if I applied early decision. The only problem with this plan is that my idea of what I like and what I don't like could change within a week, or even a day. In the spring of my junior year, I visited Penn for my first official visit with a friend. I fell in love. I went back the next month, dragging along my parents during Alumni Weekend. I did all the "Penn" things like eating at the dining hall and buying a Penn sweatshirt. I knew I had found my school. And after shadowing a doctor, I finally knew what I wanted to do.
It seemed like I had my life figured out perfectly, but then reality set in. Even with my good grades, good test scores, good activities, and added legacy, Penn was still an Ivy League school, with high Ivy League standards. This meant that I couldn't take anything for granted. Applying to Penn would still be a challenge, and getting in a feat. But I decided to plow ahead and submit my application by the early decision deadline.
All of my friends who knew my stats always talked about me like I was already in Penn, but deep down I felt the dread of future embarrassment after I would get deferred, or worse, rejected. I usually blew off comments like those with a slick "We don't know anything yet". I continued to work on applications and had already been accepted to Penn State. I planned on applying regular decision to around 10 other schools if Penn didn't work out. I convinced myself that no matter the decision, I wouldn't be upset, but the truth was, I really wanted to get in.
Finally, on December 10th, at 3:01 PM, I checked the online decision portal. As soon as I read the "Hurrah, Hurrah!", I burst out in tears. I realized that all my 13 years of hard work had finally paid off. No more essays needed to be written, no more tests taken, and no more applications submitted. My college search process was finally over, and I couldn't be happier.
I later found out that my parents and family friends had already ordered me clothing from the Penn bookstore. Their confidence in my application touched me, and I can't thank them enough for their support through my entire school career and college admission process.
In Fall of 2011 I will be matriculating to the University of Pennsylvania. I will be studying Biological Basis of Behavior (similar to a neuroscience major), with a focus of pre-med.