deadlines & defiance

In February, I applied to transfer to two in-state schools: UVA and William & Mary. Both are good schools, and both seem good fits for me. However, I had completed a third transfer application that I never sent in—an application to Stanford University. It’s my dream to eventually attend Stanford and live happily ever after on the west coast.

I’m not quite sure why I didn’t send in the application. I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford the tuition. And I knew it would break my heart to be accepted and have to turn down the offer. I thought it would be better to not apply in the first place, so I would not have to face that painful decision.

The deadline to apply for Stanford passed on March 1st. Over the past month, I have regretted losing the chance to attend one of my dream schools. Although I am excited at the prospect of attending either UVA or William & Mary, I feel that I cheated myself by not even daring to apply to Stanford. I might not have gotten in. I might have gotten in and had to decline. Hell, I might have gotten in and somehow been able to go. I’ll never know because I didn’t try.

Today, April 1st, marks exactly a month since the deadline. And I was thinking and thinking, and I decided, for my own peace of mind, to look into schools whose deadlines hadn’t yet passed. Almost every school I had been interested in had March deadlines—with the exception of one.

Swarthmore College has been one of my dream schools since I was twelve. One of my friend’s sisters was applying to colleges at the time, and Swarthmore was among the few she seriously considered. She was bright—a role model to me, and her consideration of Swarthmore inspired me to look into it. I loved what I saw. I still do.

The deadline to apply to transfer to Swarthmore College was today. And I (just barely) made it. I put aside my usual obligations for a couple hours, and threw together an application. I wrote essays, found recommenders, and requested transcripts. I realize that admission is extremely competitive, and I didn’t have the time to make my application as spectacular as it could have been. But it gives me peace of mind knowing that I tried. That, on the last day possible, I applied. To a dream school that I could never regularly afford.

Maybe I’ll get a scholarship. Maybe I’ll go and absolutely love it. Maybe I won’t even get in. Honestly, it doesn’t matter to me. I’m just happy I worked up the courage to try. At the end of the day, that’s what I’m proud about.

(Afterwards, the bestie and I celebrated with face masks.)



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