Committing to Davidson

allegra_davidsonHow do I begin to write a blog post about committing to attend my dream school? I am so unbelievably proud to say I have committed to Davidson College! I am a proud member of the class of 2018 and a die-hard wildcat! Actually, I committed twice to Davidson, once through the College Match, and again through Early Decision 2. It was heartbreaking to be deferred from after the Match and then deferred to Regular Decision from ED2. I guess the saying “good things come to those who wait” applies in my case!

I committed without actually ever visiting campus. But before you think I’m nuts, let me explain. I had already accepted a fly-in visit to another partner college the weekend of Davidson’s fly-in program, so I couldn’t apply to it. I knew there was no way we could afford to send me to visit, so instead I did everything else I could. I attended an information session in my city, I spoke with current students and alumni, I pestered the admissions staff, I took online tours, I looked at their YouTube videos, etc. Through all of my research I realized that Davidson was the college I wanted to call home for the next four years. I could feel the sense of community by talking to people! I just couldn’t imagine what it would be like when I got onto campus.

So let’s fast forward to when I found out I got in. I was scrolling through the QuestBridge Facebook group where someone had posted they were rejected from Davidson. My heart started beating really fast. It was only March 22nd! Decisions were supposed to come out April 1st! I hadn’t gotten my pints of Ben and Jerry’s to sob into in case of the worst. Still, I logged onto my application status page and saw that yes, there was indeed an update. I didn’t think my heart could beat any faster, but boy it did – and I hadn’t even viewed the update to my application yet. I screamed for my mom and brought my laptop into her room and together we stared at the screen. I couldn’t click the button to view the update, I was so scared. My mom held my hand and said if I got in, I got in, if I didn’t, it just wasn’t meant to be. Squeezing her hand tight, I clicked the button and the second it took to load was agonizing. Then we both read “Congratulations!” and burst into tears. I started shrieking and we pounced on each other hugging and crying and screaming. I got in! I finally, finally got into my dream school. I called my grandparents, girlfriend, and friends, and they all started crying with me. I can truly say that finding out I was accepted to Davidson College is one of the happiest moments of my life so far.

Included in the letter online was an invitation to visit one of the accepted students days, Decision Davidson. My heart dropped a little bit. I knew I needed to go but finances, again, were the problem. The following day I emailed and called my “buddy,” Darren Morgan, a Davidson Alumni and the Assistant Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, who I had been speaking to since December, and my regional counselor, Abby Jones. I explained how badly I wanted to visit campus and couldn’t pay the enrollment deposit in addition to a flight to and from campus. They said they would speak to their bosses and see if Davidson could help fly me to campus. Amazingly, Davidson flew me out for the decision weekend. I was in utter shock. I knew Davidson is notoriously generous, but I couldn’t believe they were paying for me to visit campus. Davidson wanted me!

My visit to campus was indescribably amazing. I met a group of admitted students and a staff member at the airport. Two of the prospective students I met at the airport had applied through QuestBridge; one had been Matched, and the other had gotten in through Regular Decision. We hit it off immediately! When we reached campus, about a half an hour ride from the Charlotte, NC airport, I felt like I had set foot in a magical place. The Davidson College campus is absolutely gorgeous. The weather was warm enough to wear shorts, the trees were bright green and the grass mowed to perfection. I swear you could smell the sunshine. I met prospective and current students from around the country (both QuestBridge and not) and the world during my information session, tour, and just walking around campus. I sat in on an information session about the Religion department. The professor was incredibly knowledgeable, and you could tell was very kind and involved with her students. There was a fair to introduce prospective students to the various academic departments and the dozens of clubs Davidson has to offer. I felt like I was in a fairy tale. I was surrounded by students who cared about being intellectually stimulated and were just as passionate about Davidson as I am! I met my host later in the day in person for the first time, though we had already been talking for days through Facebook. Though she is not a QuestBridge student, she is involved in a lot of clubs I am interested in and plan on joining while I’m at Davidson. We ended up having ice cream with other students including two Davidson Quest Scholars at the Ben and Jerry’s located five minutes off campus (freshman 15 here I come?!).

At the end of the day everything I had thought about Davidson was reaffirmed. I handed in my enrollment card and deposit, and officially became a wildcat! Okay guys, bear with me again. Yes, I handed in my enrollment card and deposit before I actually knew my financial aid package. Yup. You read that correctly. I committed before I knew if I was getting a dime. Hear me out: Davidson is committed to meeting 100% of demonstrated need without loans through the Davidson Trust. They are committed to having qualified students attend despite financial obstacles. They are committed to making a Davidson education affordable. They are committed to making sure their students graduate without debt. And I trust Davidson College. When I did receive my financial aid package, it was incredibly generous. It would have been enough for me to attend without financial stress, if my mom hadn’t recently lost her job. In light of that, I need to call the office of financial aid to talk about it. I fully trust and expect Davidson to be understanding and generous as they have been in the past. So there you have it! That is my story about visiting and committing to my dream college!

Lastly, I just want to thank all of you who have read my blog posts. I’ve gotten so many messages from fellow QB’ers saying they loved the posts and they’re relatable and helpful. Wow. Thank you all so much for reading. Thank you to Lisa, who directs The Bridge Blog, for dealing with me through this whole process with kindness, cause let’s be real here: The college process is hard! Thank you to Rachel Fishbein and the NYC team for your constant support and guidance. Thank you QuestBridge staff in Palo Alto! Thank you to the McCulloughs – without you two, QuestBridge would not exist. I am forever indebted to you for creating a program that is helping me fulfill my dreams. Until next time, keep riding in the QB lane!

–by Allegra Kogan, 2013 College Prep Scholar, Quest Scholar, Davidson ’18