After anxiously sending her Early Decision application to Columbia University this November, senior Ali Rosen could only wait and hope for an acceptance letter to arrive on December 15. When that much-awaited date arrived, however, she found herself forced to reevaluate her college plans. She had been denied admission to Columbia and would have to continue the search for a college elsewhere. To Rosen, however, this served only to provide an opportunity to look further and discover what she truly wanted after Andover.
Although Rosen has yet to finalize her college plans, the ambitious senior thinks that she has at last discovered what she expects from the college experience. She has also found a school that, in addition to being slightly off the beaten path, matches up with those expectations – the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. If she decides to attend school abroad, Rosen plans to enjoy the different perspective she could gain in Scotland for a year, but to eventually transfer back to a university in the United States. With all the turmoil in the world today, she considers a school year overseas the ideal opportunity to look at current world issues with a fresh set of eyes, an experience she would not have at a college closer to home.
Despite the fact that Rosen is still considering schools in America, she thinks that going to Scotland for a part of her college years will be an entirely new experience. “Coming to Andover from a public school in South Carolina was such a drastic change, and I think that’s part of what made the Andover experience so rewarding. I hope that going away for college will be just as rewarding,” she explained.
Rosen felt that the amount of attention the University of St. Andrews devotes towards its international students distinguishes it from other schools abroad she had considered. She commented, “In terms of programs for Americans and overseas students, St. Andrews is definitely one of the best schools.” This, she hopes, will help her to feel more comfortable as a freshman studying in a foreign country.
Though the University of St. Andrews does not specifically offer a theater major, Rosen is confident that through the variety extracurricular activities offered at the school, she will have numerous opportunities to pursue her interest in drama. If she does decide to attend the St. Andrews, Ali plans to double major in English and Philosophy and continue her involvement in theater.
After realizing the many unique opportunities presented by the University of St. Andrews, Rosen feels that in an ironic way, her denial from Colombia actually turned out to be for the better because it gave her time to reconsider her options and reassess her expectations. Without the rush that inevitably comes with applying to a school through the Early Decision program, she was given time to think clearly about what she wants out of a college and find a school that matches up with these aspirations.
Although Rosen notes that an Early Decision or Early Action program is great for some people, she also asserts that all too often, students apply early “simply because everybody else is.” “Having to worry about finishing college applications by early November can create a lot of added stress,” said Rosen, “the additional stress is often unnecessary and better off avoided unless a student is absolutely certain which school he wants to attend.”
When looking back at the college admission process and her time spent at the Academy, Rosen comments that by taking the classes that she found interesting and participating in the extracurricular activities to which she was attracted, she was able to make the most out of her four years at Andover. “I really feel that I was able to do everything I wanted to,” she said. Rather than allow college to dictate her course selections, Rosen says she chose her classes based on her interests, and this, she believes, contributed to the richness of her experience at PA.