Applying Early Decision (ED) to Bowdoin College was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. Getting to that decision, however, was not as easy. Here is the story of how I applied ED to Bowdoin:
Since 8thgrade, I had been involved with a program in Baltimore called Bowdoin Bound, a program run by Bowdoin Alum, Dan Spears. Through this program, I was able, each summer, to go up to Bowdoin for a week and get 75% of the college experience. I was able to live in a dorm, meet with a professor, eat college food and things like that. The other 25% was comprised of college prep work, such as college visits, an interview at Bowdoin, a financial aid meeting, a class with a professor, and college counseling with Dan himself. When it came time to apply for college, with the help of Bowdoin Bound, college visits with my rowing team, and college visits with my high school, I was able to comprise what I called my little black book of colleges with information about each one that I visited, and from there, a list of 15 or so that I wanted to apply to.
I had marked on a calendar when the common app was available to the public and when it was finally time, I raced to it and started filling in blanks, boxes, and submissions, as early as the day after it opened. I wanted to be on top of it and, most importantly, done early! And, for a hot second, I was on it and on top of it. By mid-October, I was completely done the common app and was in the process of writing the little personal statements. However, I still was faced with a quiet dilemma: Bowdoin College. I knew that I had been wanting to go to Bowdoin since 9thCgrade, when I sat on their quad for the first time. But, I was terrified to make the commitment.
Fast forward, and it is maybe 7 days before the ED application was due and I received a text from Dan asking if I was going to make the leap. It was not until two days later that I decided that ED at Bowdoin was the right decision. I knew it in my gut for months that Bowdoin was where I was meant to be, but I was scared. So, I learned that day that there is an entire financial aid application that needed to be completed and submitted the same day as the common app. Houston, we had a problem, because I had no clue what I was doing. So, I spend the next three or four days collecting information, scanning and rescanning documents (which is really hard to do in highschool), contacting the financial aid office, completing the written submissions to Bowdoin, learning and maneuvering IDOC, and completing the FAFSA while still going to rowing practices and completing my school work. On top of all that, I was hounding my recommenders for their recommendations and checking with my college office to see if they’d submitted my transcripts and other important information (they were notoriously forgetful). It was a journey and I may have submitted everything in totality the day it was due, something I swore not to do during the college admissions process.
Looking back, it’s a really funny story that is still a little anxiety inducing. But, it worked out in the best way because not a month later, I received my acceptance to my dream school. Here is what you should take away from my experience: