students-with-pennants-for-website_03Andrew ’16

The best piece of advice that I ever had about the college application process was from Mrs. Schweber. She told me that instead of finding a school and convincing yourself that it fits you, make a list of things you want in a school. Then, find schools that match up with your list. I think my involvement in my community, athletics, and my school is what set my application apart from others. I was able to be part of the varsity basketball and golf teams, I went to Badger Boys State, and I created close relationships with the people around me while working in my community. I decided to go to the United States Military Academy at West Point because I have always wanted to serve. Although it was a reach, I decided it would be the most successful way for me to serve and receive an excellent education.

My advice to next year’s seniors is to research, research, research. Sometimes you never know what is out there until you look. Find what you love. You may find it at more than one school, but just keep looking until you find that special place.

students-with-pennants-for-website_07Aidan ’16

Halfway through the college process, my dad sat me down and told me that if I wanted to stay sane through the fall, there was no way I was going to apply to 20 schools. He told me to look at my list and only apply to the schools that I really wanted to attend. Following his advice saved me a lot of stress, and, when on the application they asked me “Why ____?” I already had my answers ready. I think my teacher/mentor/counselor recommendations made my application stand out, because of the close student-teacher relationships at MCDS. MCDS students really have an advantage when it comes to recommendations because our teachers know us so well and, in many cases, have taught us for multiple years and in multiple classes.

I ultimately chose Yale University for the close community, the student-professor relationships, and the academic opportunities. Coming from MCDS, I knew I wanted a college with a strong sense of community, and I think the residential college system at Yale really encourages a close student body. I also found that the professors seemed to take an active interest in the students both inside and outside the classroom. My advice to next year’s seniors is simple: Mrs. Schweber is your best friend during the college process. She won’t coddle you, but she will give you honest and insightful answers.

students-with-pennants-for-website_11Raman ’16

My extracurricular involvement helped set my application for an engineering major apart academically. I attended many engineering related summer camps and participated in clubs such as Science Olympiad. But, I think it’s also important for a students to get involved with activities in other areas as well (like athletics or volunteer work), because they might discover new interests or learn more about what they don’t like just from trying something new.

I decided to attend UW-Madison both for financial reasons and because I was directly admitted to the College of Engineering. In addition I felt like it matched the academic and social environment that I was looking for (being more collaborative versus competitive), and I definitely felt excited when I thought about going there. Go Badgers!

I decided to attend UW-Madison both for financial reasons and because I was directly admitted to the College of Engineering. In addition I felt like it matched the academic and social environment that I was looking for (being more collaborative versus competitive), and I definitely felt excited when I thought about going there. Go Badgers!

students-with-pennants-for-website_15Zoe ’16

Since I was interested in studying film, I easily compiled a list of very prestigious and selective colleges. Ms. Schweber, however, told me how important it is to have a safety school. Using this advice, I was able to broaden my college search and find a school that was actually good fit, and not just a good name. I think that my college application stood out because I wrote a truly honest essay about the importance of caring for those in your community. At MCDS, all students are included in the caring for and keeping of a healthy community.

When choosing between the University of Denver, Lewis and Clark College in Oregon, and Columbia College Chicago, I decided to visit both Denver and Columbia. The visits made my choice very clear. The animation teachers at Columbia were so involved in their field and had real-time experience. This was super important to me.

My number one piece of advice is don’t get concerned about acceptance rates. While the percentage of students accepted may speak the truth about the quality of education for some schools, it is not always the case. In fact, sometimes a highly selective school is not the right fit. I recommend that you truly get to know the school, aside from the numbers, before you say yes (or no).

students-with-pennants-for-website_19Noah ’16

My advice for next year’s seniors is to give yourself enough time both to do the nuts and bolts of the process—applying, Common App, standardized tests, etc.—and also to give some serious thought to what you want in a school and what will suit you best. Don’t try and figure it out all at once. (I tried that and quickly found out it doesn’t work!) In addition, planning a meaningful visit is extremely important.

I chose to attend Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont, for several reasons. Middlebury is rigorous in liberal arts academics overall, but also has strong programs in specific fields I am interested in like foreign languages and environmental studies. The “feel” of the school that is so hard to quantify felt completely right—it would be a place where I would feel at home. Academics made Middlebury an option; the down-to-earth, like-minded people I met, and the mountainous, rural setting, which I loved, made me choose it.

I think my essay set my application apart. The school I’m going to is very focused on environmental sustainability—one of the reasons why I chose it. Because sustainability is very important to me, I wove it into my essay about learning to drive and worrying about the impact of burning gas every day. I felt good about the essay because I had full control over its message. Even though it was stressful to reflect my entire self in so few words, I had a powerful opportunity to portray what makes me who I am.