At Rainbow, we treat every student’s victory as our own. I personally find enormous joy in hearing about my students’ college admissions wins, the factors that influence their final decisions, and the sublime shift that takes place for each and every one of them…their idea of college morphing into one multi-faceted, actualized experience. I value the life-long connections forged with many of my students, and the ease with which email, phone, Skype, and social media allow us to stay in contact. My students share with me their successes in their first semesters away from home, the professors who rock their worlds, the all-nighters and perspective-changing adventures that inevitably transpire, and the endlessly amusing and eye-opening interactions consistently taking place with “fill-in-the-blank” roommate. I find my students’ stories immensely inspiring, as many have overcome great adversity and self doubt in the process of transitioning from high school student to collegiate superstar. So, I wanted to start a new column on this little blog of mine that celebrates our students’ accomplishments and provides insight and motivation for those who are about to follow in their footsteps.
I am honored to kick-off this venture by interviewing a very special student, Corinne Kentor. Below we discuss her process of applying to college, her first semester at Yale, and the advice she has for current high schoolers.
1. What was your biggest fear going into the college application process, and what helped you to overcome it?
I suppose I was most afraid of losing the “image” I had cultivated of myself. I spent my entire life working toward some abstract intellectual ideal, and I was terrified of failing to live up to my own expectations. I honestly did not know how to move past the 18 years I had spent preparing for college to actually experience it. Ironically, I was able to overcome this fear when I was deferred from my top choice school. As distraught as I was at the time, I experienced an immense outpouring of love and support from those around me–even students at my high school that I barely knew! This helped me to realize that I was more than a college candidate; I was a person with a unique history and incredible friends.
2. What was your dream acceptance school and why?
Yale University was always my dream school. Yale combines academic rigor with intellectual passion, along with a healthy dose of artistic quirkiness! I love that Yale has 200+ years of history, and yet it is a place unafraid to be silly and to continue to explore the joys of knowledge.
3. What did you do to prepare for your college application season?
I did a lot of personal writing leading up to the application season. I definitely spent some quality time with my notebook that semester! Writing became a daily exercise for me; it gave me a chance to stretch my creative muscles and hone in on what I wanted to share about myself with different universities.
4. What kind of help did you get during the process? What was the most helpful advice/guidance that you got and why?
The most helpful advice I received actually came by accident. Cindy and I were discussing my activities list, and she jokingly mentioned that I should send my application readers a Petrarchan sonnet, in reference to my love of classic literature. Well, I didn’t write any Petrarchan poetry, but I did end up writing an Elizabethan sonnet about my years at a youth drama camp, and the love of Shakespeare that resulted from that experience. Cindy unintentionally handed me the keys to a unique and creative application! After writing that sonnet, everything began to flow, and I realized that I could use the questions on various applications and supplements as a jumping off point for further creative exploration. I ended up with a distinctive application that reflected my own passions and interests, as well as my personality in general!
5. If you were to give advice to someone who also wants to go to the school you were accepted to, what would you tell them?
These schools do not want you to fit a box; they want you to create a new one. Colleges today are looking for students who will contribute to the community. They want passionate and excited people to come learn and share with their peers and teachers. My best advice would be to use your applications to discover what makes you tick, that subject that you could pontificate on for hours–whether it is a sport, a class, beekeeping, whatever makes you excited! That sort of passion should inform your application more than anything else.
6. I have loved working with you, and you have had a profound impact on me as an educator, but how has working with Rainbow transformed you?
Rainbow changed how I conceptualize applications overall. I now view everything from job applications to internship interviews as opportunities to explore my own passions. Since working with Rainbow, I have become a more introspective and reflective candidate, and I continue to learn more about myself with each application I complete.
7. What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome while applying, and how did you overcome it?
I was incredibly stressed during the college application season. More than anything, I needed to overcome my own anxieties. I am not sure that I ever truly succeeded, but with the guidance and support of those around me, I was able to realize that I had so many people who loved me and wanted to see me succeed. That definitely put a rather arbitrary acceptance into perspective.
8.Now that you’re in college, how has it been so far? Any surprises or insights?
College is fun! It is easy to lose sight of the ultimate goal while in the midst of applications, but college is a time for exploration and innovation! I have learned so much from the inspiring learners around me, all while experiencing unprecedented joy! I am surprised, I suppose, by how much fun it is to live and learn with my peers.