{ How I Ended Up At Oberlin, Not Hogwarts }

I just so happened to come across the Admissions webpage, and saw that the first Early Decision deadline is quickly approaching! With this in mind, I thought I'd share just how I made my decision to come to Oberlin.

Thinking back to this time last year, I was applying to several colleges I was genuinely interested in. One school in particular had my heart, but it wasn't Oberlin. Let's call it Hogwarts. I spent most of my time, outside of completing other applications, thinking about Hogwarts. It seemed like the perfect fit. I fell in love with the campus during my visit, the programs, and just about everything else a school could offer. I was so enamored of Hogwarts that the idea of me not attending became a lost thought. Spending hours on the supplements, I made sure that everything on my application was perfect. Eventually everything was good to go, and I applied Early Decision.

I waited weeks and weeks, thinking about Hogwarts pretty much every day. Fantasizing over the next few years, the excitement continued to build. Fast-forward to decision day. I anxiously went through my usual classes, anticipating my decision. I drove home and opened my computer, logged in to the Hogwarts portal, and read the message (paraphrased) "We are unable to offer you admission to the Class of 2019 at this time."

It hit me like a wall.

After coming to terms with the decision, realizing I wouldn't be spending four years at what I thought was my dream school, it dawned on me that I needed to start looking at other options.

I frantically met with my counselor, and she gave me a list of schools to take a look at--on that list was Oberlin. I had heard a bit about Oberlin before. I knew about the phenomenal conservatory and liberal arts curriculum, among other things. I decided to look into Oberlin a bit more, and from that I discovered Oberlin's rich history in commitment to social justice and the liberal arts, beautiful campus, numerous musical opportunities for college students, and progressive ethos. Oberlin quickly became my new obsession.

Maybe I just fall in love easily, but I certainly fell for Oberlin. I ended up applying EDII.

I remember the day when I opened up my computer during mock trial practice, logged into my Oberlin portal, and saw the dancing graphics saying something to the extent of "You're in!" I was so excited, and to this day I still am.

In hindsight, applying EDII was a little risky. I had never physically stepped foot on campus, but I formed a connection to Oberlin from reading the blogs and mailings, hearing of Oberlin's exceptional reputation, watching the first-person testimonials on Youtube, and other means. Hogwarts and Oberlin are very different in a variety of ways, and now it's hard for me to believe that at one point, I couldn't see myself anywhere else besides Hogwarts. Now, I can't imagine a world in which I didn't go to Oberlin.

So, a few take-aways:

1. It's ok if you and your Hogwarts don't work out. There might be a better place for you, and Hogwarts could be standing in the way of that.

2. If you really love Oberlin, and you're ready to make a commitment, think about applying ED or EDII. Just knowing where I would be going a little earlier made my senior year that much more enjoyable.

3. Visit the campus if you can. I didn't step foot in Oberlin until 'All Roads.' Fortunately, it worked out for me, but I wouldn't recommend that for everyone.

4. Enjoy the fall, and don't let the college application process consume you.

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{ Responses To This Entry }

(Very late) but welcome to campus! Almost everyone's "road to Oberlin" story is some combination of it wasn't my first choice/I just kinda went with it because my elders knew better and told me to get right/it just worked out this way.

The magical thing about all those kinds of stories that I hear is that Oberlin draws in folks who did have this variety of experience with wanting to come to the institution. My own Oberlin journey includes Posse, a ED1 admissions process but my story has its own little spin because I visited campus during MVP the weekend that I needed to make my decision as a finalist for the 2nd round of Posse.

It was in a practice room in the Conservatory with my friend and first year roommate playing piano and singing Amy Winehouse that I walked to a nearby window and called home to Chicago and accepted my finalist position. Soon after, Oberlin would be calling me and this would be my new spot for the next four years.

I hope that you continue to love Oberlin--for all its flaws and shortcomings--and be an active part of making this space be that Hogwarts you envisioned but 1000x better.

Posted by: Alex on November 18, 2015 10:04 PM

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