The College Campaign of 2010

The College Campaign of 2010: Falling in Love (with Brown University)

The College Campaign of 2010: Falling in Love (with Brown University)

To protect the author's privacy, the Admissions Blog has granted her anonymity for this series. Read Part I and Part II.

There comes a time in every college applicant’s life when they realize their dream school. Well, maybe it doesn’t happen to everyone, but it sure happened to me.

Even before I visited Brown, I was obsessed. I loved their name brand Ivy recognition coupled with a laid-back atmosphere. I saw myself studying anthropology in knitted sweaters, the leaves falling, and intellectually engaged students everywhere. (This could only happen at Brown.)

I was determined to love campus before I set foot on it. My father and I drove there one warm Saturday at the end of the summer before senior year. Our tour guide was the same middle-aged man who’d given our information session. We trekked up and down the brick-paved sidewalks: campus sat atop a hill, overlooking downtown Providence from a lofty height. In reality, it was easy walking distance from the center of the city, though as one student representative put it, “We’re basically in the suburbs.” Should this have been a warning sign? Were Brown students less adventurous than I’d thought? Never mind that! I saw the school only through the rose-tinted glasses I’d purchased months before.

The Rhode Island School of Design sat at the bottom of Brown’s campus. “You can cross-register for classes easily,” our guide told us. I peered through ceiling-high glass windows into an art gallery. I liked painting. At no other school could I paint like I could at Brown. The college grew ever more perfect in my eyes.

By the time we drove home that afternoon, I was beside myself. The tour hadn’t been anything special, but I loved Brown so much already that our visit had been almost a formality. I’d made my decision weeks ago: I’d apply early decision.

It wasn’t long before I knew I’d made the right decision: Emma Watson had just started her freshman year there! Though Brown was already my first choice, this elevated the school even more in my eyes. Our paths could cross in a variety of ways. “Do you have a pen?” she might ask, flustered, as she searched her bag in lecture. “Sure!” I’d say. “What’s your name?” Or maybe I shouldn’t feign ignorance. Surely she expected everyone to know who she was, even if she simultaneously loathed it. But what if she came over to study and I was caught unawares, without time to take down my “Half-Blood Prince” poster? These were very real concerns, but I was lucky to have them. I was going to Brown and I had to be prepared.

But wishes do not a college acceptance make. I’d have to write a personal statement that was quirky, sensitive, cultured, and intelligent enough for Brown. I knew I’d fit in great—I had four pairs of Converse and a plethora of ethnic jewelry, for God’s sake. Were these suitable criteria to determine my first-choice college? Only time would tell!

Now, all I had to do was write.

The fourth installment of the College Campaign of 2010 is here. Read it now.

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