Surviving the College Admissions Waiting Game


As senior year draws to a close, the anticipation surrounding college admissions can feel overwhelming. It's natural to fixate on the outcome, but obsessing over it can make the waiting game unbearable. Instead of allowing anxiety to consume you, consider adopting a different approach—one that emphasizes living in the present moment and making the most of your final months of high school.

First and foremost, it's essential to resist the temptation to constantly dwell on college admissions. While it's undoubtedly a significant milestone, fixating on it won't expedite the process or change the outcome. Remember that there's only so much you can control, and worrying excessively won't alter the decision-making process.

Instead, shift your focus to enjoying the present moment. Senior year offers countless opportunities for growth, exploration, and self-discovery. Rather than letting college admissions dominate your thoughts, immerse yourself in new experiences and pursue your passions wholeheartedly. Whether it's joining a club, participating in a community service project, or exploring a new hobby, embrace the chance to broaden your horizons and create lasting memories. Spend time with your loved ones and especially with your friends. You might all be spread out in future years due to college, so make sure to enjoy your time with them. 

Resist the urge to compare yourself to others or measure your worth solely based on college admissions outcomes. Each student's journey is unique, and success is not defined solely by acceptance letters. Trust in your abilities and recognize that your worth extends far beyond the confines of a college application.

In my own experience, while I was waiting for my decision in Barcelona, I found solace in maintaining a sense of normalcy amidst the chaos of college admissions. I continued to prioritize my academic responsibilities, engage in my music extracurricular activities, and spend time with friends and family. By treating college applications as just one aspect of my life rather than its focal point, I was able to alleviate some of the pressure and anxiety associated with the waiting game. No one around me really knew how the American college admissions process worked, so being surrounded by people with whom I couldn’t talk about it or stress about it definitely helped me forget about college decisions. 

Ultimately, I found it helpful to remember that the college admissions process is just one chapter in my life story. Regardless of the outcome, my worth and potential remain unchanged. So, rather than allowing the uncertainty of college admissions to overshadow senior year, choose to enjoy the present moment, explore new opportunities, and pursue your passions. Trust in the journey and have faith that everything will unfold as it's meant to.

Princeton

 


Just trust me, you'll be fine


“Just trust me, you’ll be fine.” 

These are the words I wish someone would have told me after college decisions came out; that period of my life feels like it was ages ago, but it has only been two years since I opened my application portal with a feeling that can only be described as both anticipation and anxiety. 

This anxiety doesn’t go away after the dreaded decision day. It manifests itself days and weeks after too — especially when you start weighing your choices of where to go — or for the early birds — what to pack, what to expect, and what will happen in the next 4 years of your life. 

Understandably, a lot of big changes will come about in the next few weeks and months. Here’s an unofficial guide of what to do (and expect) if you are feeling lost and something that I wish younger me had access to: 

  1. Be kind to yourself —Whether or not you got in, or are still waiting for a decision, celebrate yourself and how far you’ve come! It can be a hard day for everyone but remember that these decisions don’t determine your worth. So congratulate your friends, celebrate yourself, and hug your loved ones a little tighter. 
  2. Most colleges will send an email with next steps outlining different events or things to anticipate in the coming weeks or months. Make sure to read each and every email thoroughly! You might be asked to send photos for your student ID cards, verify your financial aid information, or undergo a series of educational programs that will help you better acclimate to campus life once you’re there. 
  3. Start crafting a list of things you need to purchase, bring, and pack. What’s the weather like in the Summer and Winter? Will you need a bike? It might be a good time to start curtailing a spreadsheet of items to look over and doing some research. 
  4. Ask for help — there are a lot of resources online that prepare you for what move in day will look like, different orientation programs, meal plans, etc. Each college is unique in what it has to offer but current students and the school’s official website will be your best friend during this time, so don’t be afraid to consult these resources. 
  5. And lastly, take it slow! You’ll have a whole Summer ahead of you to figure things out and figure out the next steps. Be present — cherish your remaining time at school. Spend more time with your loved ones. But most importantly, be excited! 

In the blink of an eye, time will fly by — while this period will usher in many changes, some things will stay the same. 

You’ll always have your home, your family, and your friends to support you, but most importantly, you’ll always have yourself. Be your biggest cheerleader and look forward to the next couple of months! 


A Little Bit of Everything: Campus Jobs


In the past two years I have been at Princeton, I have worked at 4 different jobs. Most of these jobs were posted on JobX — our website for student employment opportunities — and ranged from working at Firestone library to writing for this very student blog. Each opportunity has given me the privilege of acquiring very diverse experiences and I am always amazed at how many incredible people I’ve met along the way. Here are a few of the jobs I’ve worked at since coming to Princeton:

Marquand Library: I’ve worked at Marquand since I was a Freshman. Nestled in Floor C of Firestone, a typical day at Marquand looks like sitting at our front desk, welcoming patrons, and occasionally doing a scan of different manuscripts and books that students, faculty, and staff request. Working here has always felt special to me — not only because it was my first job at Princeton, but because it is the perfect job to get my day started or to end a long day. I can always know what to expect and I enjoy working with the staff, who are all so knowledgeable yet welcoming. Coming in for a shift here never feels exhausting. If anything, this library serves as a home away from home. 

ELA Conversation Partner: I’ve worked for McGraw as an ELA conversation partner for the past year and I’ve been able to meet incredible people through this program. Each week, I meet with two graduate students for an hour and we work on their conversational English speaking skills; sometimes we will grab coffee and other times we will go grocery shopping. There really is no set agenda — I coordinate and plan our activities and each week will vary dramatically. This job has given me the honor of getting to connect and build relationships with the graduate students here at Princeton; learning how radically different yet similar our lives are from one another has truly been a fun experience.

Communications Intern: As a communications intern for the Princeton Entrepreneurship Council, I’ve been able to do some amazing work with some truly accomplished people. The council consists of 5-6 other individuals who each play an important role in their respective ways. My job is to liaison and interview Princeton alumni, students, faculty, and staff so that I can write a story on the entrepreneurial work they’ve done and the impact they hope to achieve. This has truly broadened my perspective on what entrepreneurship entails and the expansive resources Princeton has to offer. At this job, I get to enjoy learning new things and meeting new people.

Admissions Blogger: The blog you are reading right now is a product of my work as an admissions blogger here at Princeton! When I was applying, this job appealed to me because it provided me a creative outlet to express myself. Moreover, this role enables me to share my Princeton experience while also giving back to our community in a small way. As a blogger, I usually attend monthly meetings and brainstorm on potential topics I’d like to talk about. Then, I write the stories you get to read! This job has really deepened my understanding of student life here at Princeton, not just by reading the other student blogs but also by reflecting on my own experience.


The Guyot Dinosaur and Other (Inanimate) Campus Companions


The most valuable aspect of Princeton is the community, because the people you meet and friendships you form are what truly make the college experience meaningful. In addition to my living and breathing friends, however, are several non-living ones located in various spots around campus. Here is a roundup of several of my favorite inanimate companions at Princeton.

1. Guyot Dinosaur

Author standing in front of dinosaur skeleton in Guyot Hall

This Allosaurus resides in Guyot Hall, home to the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department, the Geosciences department, and the High Meadows Environmental Institute. I have two classes in Guyot Hall this semester, so I get to wave hello to my largest friend on campus several times a week. He appears to perpetually be in a chipper mood.

2. Bronze Tigers

Bronze tigers outside Nassau Hall with orange, black, and gold balloons

The two bronze tigers standing in front of Nassau Hall are perhaps the most iconic Princeton statues, and nearly every student takes a photo with them at some point. They're decorated in the photo above for Orange and Black Day, the university's anniversary on October 22.

3. Car Lab Mannequin

White mannequin in beanie and black t-shirt in the ECE car lab

This mannequin is a constant presence in the car lab of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department, where juniors in ECE take a lab course building and racing their own vehicles. I haven't taken the course, but the car lab is the first stop on my tour of the E-Quad, so the ECE man helps me graciously welcome campus visitors.

4. Dillon Gym Gargoyles

Four stone gargoyles on the exterior of Dillon gym

Keeping watch over Dillon Gym are four gargoyles. I can't say with certainty what each one is, but I believe the one on the right (unpictured) is a football player, and the next one in might be a monkey. Don't quote me on these identifications. Dillon Gym is currently undergoing a renovation and expansion, but I'm almost certain they'll keep these loyal guardians in place.

 

While these inanimate friends are very dependable in that I always know where they'll be, I would have to say that my human Princeton friends are even more loyal and reliable. They are the real stars in my campus experience, but I still appreciate my daily sightings of my non-living companions.


Princeton is Knowledge


In April of 2021, shortly after being admitted, I visited campus with my parents for the first time. After grabbing a quick breakfast on Nassau Street, we walked towards campus, warm coffee in hand as I tried to take it all in—I think my parents fell in love with campus before I had a chance to fully process where I was.

We spent the morning wandering around aimlessly, first passing through FitzRandolph Gate and walking by Nassau Hall, then towards Blair Arch and down to the rest of campus. Eventually, we made it to Prospect Gardens, where the beginning of spring had left behind the sweet smell of blossoming flowers and bright colors everywhere.

I remember my mom turning to me and saying, “Odette, I can just picture you reading a book on that bench over there.” (With the knowledge I have now, I can confirm it is a very comfortable bench. I read several excerpts of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America on that bench, but I’m getting ahead of myself here.)

Everywhere we walked, we passed by students talking about the relief of completing their senior theses. I didn’t know it at the time, but we were visiting shortly after many departments had already required submissions of the senior thesis for their students. It was intimidating to think about, but I was also fascinated by how excited they all sounded about their work. When we ate lunch later that day at Proof Pizza, we sat next to a group of students who very quickly transitioned from discussing their weekend plans to debating a topic from their math class.

Back on campus, we started to realize many of the trees were labeled with their scientific names.

“What a nerdy thing to do,” I joked with my parents.

For some reason, this particular anecdote stuck with me the most when I returned home. When my friends and family asked about how my visit had been, I could only reply with “they label their trees up there.” Entering my third year, the labeled trees scattered across campus are still one of my favorite things about Princeton, and although it was something that was merely kind of strange and amusing back then, I think it’s a testament to what Princeton stands for.

Maybe this goes without saying, but knowledge is everywhere, and I mean everywhere on campus.

If you asked me now what it’s like to go to Princeton, I think I’d start with the same response. No mundane fact is too insignificant, no question unworthy of being asked. It is inspiring to be surrounded by thousands of students who are as passionate about learning as I am. I could not count the number of thought-provoking conversations I’ve had over Wawa mac and cheese, or the number of times I’ve left a class absolutely in awe of my classmates.

Curiosity and the quest for knowledge are central to all that Princeton is, and if this sounds like the sort of environment you’d love, then I’d say you’re already halfway home.

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A family of three poses in front of Nassau Hall wearing face masks.
The first picture I took with my parents on campus in April 2021—time flies!

Personal Growth While Finding Community and a Sense of Belonging


It is easy to say Princeton is beautiful, but real beauty goes beyond appearance and reputation. The heart of a school is the people and the people at Princeton are some of the best you’ll ever meet–they make this school beautiful. Is it easy to make friends? Will I fit in? These are the most common questions first-years ask before entering Princeton’s campus and I think at the root of these questions, it boils down to: will I find a community? Students from around the country and even the world enter Princeton’s orange bubble and hope they’ll find belonging. What does it mean to belong?

In my first year, I didn’t know what to expect. I wish I could say that I worried about the common concerns many other students had coming in. Instead, I was just excited to have a normal college experience, see people face to face, and create connections. My lack of expectations made it easier for me to settle. I didn’t engage in all the opportunities available and never stepped outside my comfort zone. My first year was a learning experience, it was filled with trials and errors and sometimes isolation. While it may not have been the most ideal experience, it highlighted how important it was for me to push myself and seek connections–to find my community. 

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Two girls standing in front of Blair Arch.
This is my first year roommate Megan, we would always go on little food trips to Nassau Street trying to find our favorite place to eat. She's someone I can always depend on!

One of the ways I find belonging is in the classroom. My Latino Literature and Film seminar is a class full of Latine students who share similar lived experiences. I resonate so quickly with their feelings and I learn of different cultures and upbringings that influence perception on representation, all within an hour and a half. One of the reasons I love the Latino Studies program is because of Professor Rivera-Lopez. She constantly finds ways to make us question how Latine individuals are represented in film and what authentic stories look like. I previously took a seminar with her in the fall semester called "Introduction to Latino/a/x Studies" and this is where I learned a history that is so often overlooked and forgotten. Many people from the fall seminar decided to continue into the spring semester taking Professor Rivera-Lopez’s classes, these people began forming my community here. 

One of the other ways I find belonging is by demonstrating my support to the organizations that bring joy to my Princeton experience. Más Flow is Princeton’s premier Latine dance company which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. A couple of friends and I went to their spring production “La Fiesta del Año”. I loved seeing my friends and people I had classes with perform on stage, dancing to music that reminded me a bit of home. I tend to look for community with what feels familiar to me, but I also just love catching up with people I work with or friends via quick trips to late meal and USG movie nights.

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Pairs of dancers in white attire.
One of the many dances performed by Más Flow. This was one of my favorites because of the lighting design and the effortlessness in their moves. 

I can’t say I am the same person I was when I walked through FitzRandolph Gates during pre-rade but I like that I am still finding out who I am. Belonging does not have to be definite, our identities are complex and growing. The friendships you make your freshman year won’t always last but that doesn’t mean they weren’t meaningful. I love being able to interact with so many people who have interesting and different perspectives. Princeton's campus is a space where you are both challenged and embraced, that is one of the reasons I love it so much.

To the Class of 2027, I can’t ensure that your journey will be easy or perfect by any means but it will be memorable. Worries and excitement are all normal feelings but I hope you won’t allow your nerves to dictate your time here. Make that first step and try something new because if there’s a time or space to do anything, it’s at Princeton. Embrace the new atmosphere and don’t settle for what is within reach, community is most often found in places you’ll least expect it to be. Congratulations on your acceptance and I hope to see you next fall!


It's That Time of Year Again: Welcoming the Class of 2027


It’s that time of year again. My team and I are making last minute tweaks to the incoming first-year class.

We’ve spent the past several months reading, re-reading and discussing the applications that many of you reading this blog put hours of preparation into. We have appreciated learning about your academic pursuits, the activities that intrigue you outside of the classroom and the factors that led you to apply to Princeton. We have laughed at your funny anecdotes, cried (yes, cried) over some of the situations you have trusted us enough to share and thought about how you might add to this vibrant community. And now it comes down to your receiving a decision.

You might not believe it, but this is not my favorite part of my job. Don’t get me wrong, I think I have one of the best jobs on this campus – being able to serve my alma mater in a way that introduces her to prospective students around the world. But in this moment, providing decisions that will exhilarate some and devastate others is not my idea of fun.

So, each year, I try to remind ALL applicants that receiving a decision from a college (whether it’s Princeton or some other amazing institution of higher learning) should not make or break you. If you receive positive news, that’s excellent! Celebrate, decide if it’s the place you can see yourself learning and growing inside and outside of the classroom and base your decision on whether or not to enroll on whether or not the school is a fit for you academically, socially and financially.

If you receive not-so positive news, know that one school’s decision does not indicate anything about your ability to be successful in college. I can only speak for Princeton, but each year we receive applications from many more highly qualified students than we could possibly admit. And, each year we have to say no to many of those same students. I realize that doesn’t take the sting out of receiving anything other than an admit. Still, I hope that you will not let the received decision keep you down. Rather, take a minute to absorb it, and then regroup and put your efforts into your senior year activities. Importantly, remember to enjoy the remainder of your high school senior year, as making those memories are as important as figuring out the next phase of your life.

Whatever decision you receive from Princeton or any other college or university you have applied to, please know that we have enjoyed getting to know you. Your story is unique to you and important. And whatever campus community is allowed to benefit from your presence will be all the better for it.

Good luck with this next adventure!


A Thousand Paths to Princeton


It goes without saying that every student currently enrolled at Princeton has a unique journey that led them here, but when I was still a prospective student, this is something that was especially important for me to remember. So allow me to say it again: there is no “normal” path to Princeton, and there is no “normal” Princeton student.

Like many other nervous prospective applicants, I spent countless hours during my senior year of high school searching the Internet for answers–for anything that would tell me whether or not Princeton was even remotely attainable for me. Sure, I’d always gotten good grades, but what if that wasn’t enough? I’d been a public school student all my life, and although I greatly valued that education, I knew there would be other applicants that would have gone to different schools that had likely better prepared and exposed them to the rigor of ideas and extracurriculars that Princeton was looking for. In the weeks leading up to the January 1st deadline, my head swarmed with self-doubt.

I almost didn’t apply, but on December 31st, I submitted my application. To avoid getting my hopes up, I told myself that even if I got in, I probably wouldn’t go because it was more than a thousand miles away, and it’d be too hard, and I didn’t want to live in New Jersey anyway, and… 

I believe my first words were, “Oh my God I got in,” and I believe after that (as well as after refreshing the page dozens of times to make sure it hadn’t been a mistake) they were, “What am I going to do?”

Up until that point, I had been ready to submit my acceptance to one of the state schools near my hometown. Maybe the fact I hadn’t yet was a testament in itself that I was hoping for my admission at Princeton, but that didn’t change the fact that I was scared of leaving Florida: all of my friends would be staying close to home; I had never gone so far on my own; and my family–my sister and my parents–and I were all extremely close since my parents had immigrated from Mexico and raised us far from any true support system. Princeton, with its Gothic architecture and ivy-covered walls, did not feel like the place for me–I did not think it was a space made for people like me, even after being accepted.

I won’t lie to you that Princeton was immediately, or even now, all sunshine and rainbows. As I look forward to declaring Politics as my major, as well as applying to law school in the future, I still struggle with these sorts of thoughts. But this is home now, and I’ve learned to embrace the rigor and explore the endless opportunities at my disposal here. If I had given in to the fear and the uncertainty, there is so much that I would have missed out on:

  • Every beautiful seasonal transition on campus, including experiencing my first snowfall;
  • Amazing friends, including my roommate of two years that I genuinely could not live without;
  • Meeting Nobel Prize winners in the middle of class or watching movies get filmed on campus;
  • My upcoming internship with an amazing organization in Trenton through the Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS) program;
  • Engaging in all of Princeton’s quirky traditions;
  • And above all, tremendous self-growth.

Maybe this is a letter to my past self, or maybe it’s a love letter to Princeton. But to you, future applicant, or to you, future student–if there is anything that you get out of this one of thousands of stories, it is this:

You belong here, and sometimes the scariest choice turns out to be the right choice after all.

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Photo of Blair Arch with a pink and blue sky in the background.

Insights from a Gap Year: Lessons for Incoming Transfer Students


I transferred to Princeton in 2020. Most of us can surely recall how odd and challenging of a time it was, and my transition to the University was no different. I expected Princeton to be challenging in a few ways: academically, socially, and logistically. All those things were true. What I did not expect was the degree of mental challenge I encountered, which was likely exacerbated by the isolation of remote learning and my difficulty balancing academics with my personal life. So, after driving from Southern California to Princeton in the summer of 2020, my partner and I packed up and moved back home when I began a leave of absence in the fall of 2021.

I spent my leave trying to be as introspective as possible, recalibrating my mental and physical health after the peak of the pandemic. I spontaneously signed up for a marathon despite having never run a half. I returned to one of my favorite past times: road trips and camping in California. I broke the cliché veteran habit of waking up early every day and allowed myself to sleep in. In sum, I tried to slow down, focus on happiness and health, and interrogate myself on what I really wanted in life.

In this blog, I share four lessons from my gap year. I also share each lesson’s relevance to being a transfer student at Princeton. In doing so, I hope to make future transfer students’ transitions to Princeton easier and to remind current transfers that success at Princeton is not measured purely by GPA.

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Five people stand in a parking lot, one holds a metal from completing a marathon
Here I am with my partner and in-laws after completing the Orange County Marathon in Costa Mesa, California.

In no particular order, her are four insights from my leave of absence:

I. Life is not a race.

A race has a set course and boundaries. There are winners, and there are those who aspired to win. Life is different. What constitutes a “win” in life is highly subjective. Your only competition is against yourself, and the only finish lines are the goals you hope to achieve.
I emphasize this because coming to Princeton as an older student may be at the front of some transfers’ minds. The age gap can be quite salient here—I have been older than many of my preceptors. Yet there is no reward for graduating from Princeton one year earlier. Complete your degree in the time that is best for you and judge your grades not in comparison to other students but against the standards you have set for yourself.

II. You will not regret self-care.

There is a future version of you watching themselves—watching you—through their memories. The more you take care of yourself now, the better that prospective version of you will be. Exercise regularly. Eat well. Put effort into maintaining friendships. Do not strive for perfection. Strive for progress and consistency. But recognize that you will fail. Learn from those mistakes.
Self-care is, of course, important for everyone. I bring attention to it because some of our older transfers have a different relationship with mental health than the Gen-Z students that make up the near-entirety of the of non-transfer student population. (To be clear, I mean that as the utmost compliment to them.) Some transfers—particularly the transfers who served in the US Armed Forces—may think that forcing their way through every obstacle is the best method. Others may fear failure so much that they neglect exercise or socialization. Both, I know from experience, are poor choices. Invest in self-care and enjoy its returns.

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Man stands with dog on the branches of downed tree on a beach
Here I am with my dog, Bishop, while on a camping trip in Pismo Beach, California during my leave of absence.


III. Forgive yourself.

There will be times when you pursue a goal and fail. That failure may come because you exhausted all efforts but still fell short (running a marathon under a certain time; finishing Princeton with a certain GPA), or it may be because you neglected to put your best foot forward (planning to exercise in the morning but snoozing the alarm; watching Netflix rather than doing your readings). But we all make mistakes. Forgive yourself for doing so and be introspective about your shortcomings.
Imposter syndrome can be a particularly pernicious and persistent issue for transfer students. This year, we have a population of 59 transfer students in an undergraduate enrollment of 5,548, meaning there is approximately one transfer student for every 94 non-transfer students. These figures can contribute to some transfers’ ideas that they do not belong at Princeton, that their acceptance was a mistake. Thus, I feel it is imperative that transfers forgive themselves. Performing poorly on a test or forgetting a reading is not evidence that you are a fraud who slipped through the cracks. You are human and therefore prone to mistakes. If you were flawless, you wouldn’t need Princeton.

IV. Remember that you can always leave.

If you feel like you no longer enjoy something—a relationship, a job, a path in life—consider leaving. Self-honesty can reveal that you really ought to leave, but it can also show you that your feelings were misplaced or misguided. The thought of leaving may actually make you realize just how much you do enjoy something.
I believe that every transfer should remember that leaving Princeton is a valid option. This may be startling to read—during the transfer pre-orientations that I’ve helped run, it has certainly surprised incoming cohorts. But transfers should know that it is an option, be it in the form of a gap year or dropping out altogether. I say this not to advocate for transfer student departures, but because all of us worked so incredibly hard to get to Princeton that we sometimes forget leaving is an option. Remembering that we are not proverbially handcuffed to the University can actually strengthen and our desires to be here. Feeling as if quitting is not an option can rob one of their agency, but knowing that it is a choice and choosing to continue forward is empowering and builds confidence.

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When I reflect on spending my leave of absence recalibrating my mental and physical health, these are some of the most striking lessons that come to mind. My return to Princeton has been challenging, but it has also been manageable and quite successful because I am mindful of these principles.


Some current transfers or transfer applicants may agree wholeheartedly with these ideas. Some may only like a few, and others may object to all four entirely. That is okay. These are not heaven-descended axioms. They are merely my lessons and what have worked for me. So, experiment and find what works for you. Make the most of this time because you’ve earned it. And know that while you do that, you’ll always be supported.


From the U.S. Army to Princeton University, from a Veteran Transfer Student


It still feels unreal that I am a student at Princeton University. Last year, I was in a completely different position compared to a lot of other freshmen. While they were juggling between classes, sports, and clubs in their high schools, I was serving in Korea in the U.S. Army. Back then, I never thought I would be attending Princeton University, let alone any of the Ivy League schools. I knew I wanted to continue my education, but I was quite uncertain as to how to go about the process. Most people around me stayed in the military, so they could not provide any guidance about my academic journey after enlistment. However, I soon found out about the non-profit organizations Service to School and the Warrior-Scholar Project, which support and empower military veterans to successfully transition into the classroom. With their help, I was able to gradually navigate my pathway to find the right school and start the college application process.

I had countless Zoom meetings with many elite universities to learn more about their schools, but my meeting with Princeton's Alex Bustin, senior associate dean and director of transfer, military and international admission, was the most memorable of them all. I was especially drawn to the fact that Princeton was a liberal arts institution geared towards the undergraduate student body. This meant that I could utilize all the academic, research, and professional resources available as an undergraduate student. Moreover, I felt that Princeton was sincerely invested in the success of their students. In addition to the academic resources like the McGraw Center and the Writing Center, Princeton’s commitment to making education affordable and accessible for everyone is truly commendable. Princeton offered an extremely generous financial aid package, especially for veterans, to remove the financial burden of pursuing higher education. After my meeting with Dean Bustin, my mind was set. I believed that transferring to Princeton was the step in the right direction for my academic journey (I took some community college classes after high school, before joining the military).

It is almost March, which means the transfer application deadline is approaching. Crafting the college application can be extremely challenging. You may be overwhelmed with uncertainties and doubts about where you will end up and what your future looks like. Looking back, I remember frequently asking myself if I was good enough to get into any of the schools I applied to. To provide some guidance for future transfer applicants, I would like to share two pieces of advice. First, you have come so far already, so do not give up now! Transferring to a different school is a big commitment that takes a lot of time and effort. It is admirable that you want to be in a different environment that challenges you in every way. With only a few weeks left, you are so close to the finish line. So please, do not give up on yourself. Second, it is not about where you end up, but what you make of it when you get there. If you make the most out of your experience wherever you go, I am certain that you will be able to find yourself at home in any school.

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Three people sit around a table in a restaurant booth
With new Princeton friends!