In Her Own Words:

A Senior Shares Her College Admission Experience

This month, we invited Carly Devine, a high school senior who worked with Popp & Associates, to share her personal perspective on the college application process. Carly’s insights can benefit all of us, especially current high school students. We loved working with Carly and her family and wish her lots of luck in college next fall!

Can you tell us a little about yourself? What high school do you attend? What are/were some of your important extracurricular activities (feel free to mention meaningful positions and leadership roles)? Any thoughts about what you want to study in college?

My name is Carly Devine, and I will be graduating from Mansfield High School in June. During high school, I have been a part of my school’s Healthcare Club where I had a role on the elective board. In addition, I was a founding member of my school’s Mental Health Club, where I was vice president during junior year and president in my senior year. I was also the lead event planner for my school’s Best Buddies chapter, a member of the Science Team, and I played varsity soccer and tennis. Lastly, I had an internship with an orthopedic surgeon during the summer before my senior year. In college, I plan on majoring in data analytics and pursuing a pre-medicine track.

When did you begin your college search and application process (what year in high school)?

I started touring colleges in the spring of my junior year, mainly over February and April breaks. I began my application process in July before my senior year, starting with the activities section on the Common App and brainstorming personal statement ideas.

If given the chance to redo your college search and application process, would you do anything differently?

If given the chance to redo my college application process, I would try my best to think and stress less about my applications once they were submitted because the admission decisions were out of my control. It is hard to be patient during the time between submitting applications and waiting for decisions, but thinking about the decisions before they come out only leads to unnecessary stress.

What aspects of the college application process were most challenging? What was the most fun? Were there any surprises?

The most challenging aspect of the college application process was definitely managing my time. Finding the time to write quality supplemental essays during the fall of my senior year was difficult, especially while playing a sport and trying to keep up with a rigorous academic workload. The most fun aspect of the college application process was opening acceptance letters and attending accepted students days. I was most surprised by the variation in the amount of merit scholarship money that colleges offered.

What advice would you give to high school students (grades 9-11) and their families regarding how they can best prepare for and engage in the college search and application process?

Early on in high school, join clubs and activities that interest you because this will help you gain leadership roles in these extracurriculars as you become an upperclassman which will ultimately strengthen your college application. Also, focus on your academics early on in high school because colleges will see freshman and sophomore year grades on your transcript.

What college are you planning to attend and how did you make your final choice? Feel free to also mention where you applied and where you were accepted (optional).

I am planning to attend Denison University with a major in data analytics and will pursue a pre-medicine track. My decision ultimately came down to the amount of merit aid I received from the school in addition to the strength of the data analytics and pre-medicine programs at Denison. Besides Denison, I also applied to Bucknell, Lafayette, Davidson, Gettysburg, University of Richmond, Dickinson, Hobart and William Smith, Kenyon, Marist, and Union, and I was accepted into all eleven schools.

How do you feel that Popp & Associates helped you and your family?

Popp & Associates definitely helped keep me organized and accountable during the application process. If it was not for the weekly check-in meetings during the fall, I definitely would have pushed off my college application work which would have decreased the quality of my applications. Additionally, Mindy organized the assignments I had to do each week to make sure I had ample time to complete all of the necessary supplemental and scholarship essays before the deadlines. Lastly, it was very helpful to have someone critique my essays and Common Application in general.

We are proud of Carly and excited for her and our other seniors as they wrap up high school and begin a new chapter starting college in the coming months. To learn more about our college counseling work, upcoming college admission events for students and families, and tips on how to choose a college, please read our most recent newsletter.

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