As Early Deadlines Pass, Seniors Reflect on Process

The following article is the second part of a series that follows two Phillips Academy Seniors through the college admissions process. With the early college application deadline falling on November 1, PA Seniors who applied early can now breathe a sigh of relief. Both Ben Lasman ’06 and Lucretia Witte ’06 opted to apply early to their first-choice colleges. “I feel like the hard work of Senior year is almost over,” said Lasman. Lasman submitted an Early Decision application to Columbia University and an Early Action application to the University of Chicago. Under the policies of the Early Decision program, Lasman must attend Columbia if admitted. The Early Action program of the University of Chicago, however, is not binding. The University of Chicago also releases its decisions earlier than does Columbia. Despite the heavy course load of Senior fall, Grasshopper Night rehearsals with his band, and other extracurricular commitments, Lasman feels that the application process has not overwhelmed him. “I used the same essay for both schools, so it was a lot less intense than I expected it to be. I filled out one section one day, filled out the other section the next day, and eventually I got it done,” said Lasman. On his applications, Lasman emphasized his passion for music and interest in writing. “My recommendations for Columbia were from my English and history teacher, and the essays for both schools were about a novel I’m working on and the process of writing it. I wanted to come across as being very serious about my writing and humanities. I also talked a lot about my involvement in music,” said Lasman. Lasman included his band’s CDs in his applications. Finished with the early admission applications, Lasman will begin work on his regular applications in a couple of weeks. He said, “The pool of schools I’m looking at for regular admissions have common applications. Once you have completed a couple of [applications], you sort of get a formula down you can use. Also, a lot of these schools have overlaps – they are in cities and all very strong in English and humanities, so I can basically reword ‘why I want to go to this school’ statement.” He continued, “I’d love to get into the schools, but at the same time I don’t feel like I have a better chance than anyone else. I can always think about other schools I can apply to if I don’t get into these two. Now, I just have to wait.” Witte, another Andover Senior, is applying to Dartmouth University under the Early Decision program. Witte said, “I’m happy because I think I put in my best effort, and I did all that I could to portray myself well and accurately. I feel really good that it’s sent in, that it’s out of my hands until I hear from the school.” According to Witte, the application essays consumed much of her free time. “My friends were telling me, ‘Oh, I haven’t seen you all week!’ I basically stayed in my room for five hours doing them – something I’ve never done even for my schoolwork. I wrote two of my essays this summer, [but over all] I’ve written six or seven [essays] and I had to narrow it down to one I really liked, and [then] I edited it so many times, too, that in the end you couldn’t tell what I started out with. It was a lot of work,” she said. Unlike Lasman, who focused on his extracurricular activities, Witte emphasized her goals and perspectives. Witte said, “The résumé you submit pretty much speaks to what you spend most of time doing. Most of my essays were about goals and what I plan to do in the future. They are little bit of reflection and a lot of projection.” She is now planning to focus on her schoolwork for the rest of the term and to work on the regular admission applications over Thanksgiving. “I have a big list, [there is] a large pool of schools I’m looking at but I haven’t narrowed it down as of yet. I’m almost positive on applying to schools like Williams [College] and Middlebury [College], [which are] liberal arts colleges in New England, but I haven’t specifically decided yet,” said Witte. The Early Admission decisions are announced during winter vacation – about four months before the regular decisions are released.