tufts university,

More than half of Tufts University sorority quits after delay in admitting trans woman

The 19-year-old student attempted to join the chapter in September only for Alpha Omicron Pi International to respond by saying it would need to “hold off” admittance until it could check its policies. Afterwards, many quit the organization. In a statement, remaining members of the sorority provided a sorely disappointing justification for the delay.
Tufts University

I just officially committed to Tufts because someone asked if a chipotle was near campus and then someone else casually made a fully functioning website in under 5 minutes for a student run chipotle delivery service and that sounds like the kind of people I want to spend 4 years with. See you all in the fall 

Throughly impressed.

A very cool inside-look at Tufts throughout the year.


My first ever live interview! Talking about Title IX and Tufts’ systemic failure of survivors.

How Getting Into College Became Such a Long, Frenzied, Competitive Process

College admissions officers in the mid-19th century had it pretty easy. Since higher education was only a possibility for a small fraction of American teenagers, admissions decisions were more about who could foot the bill than who could do the academic work. Students from top high schools were granted admission as long as they were in “good standing,” and other privileged students just needed a check and a decent grasp of ancient Greek. More than a hundred years would pass before admissions officers needed to implement more sophisticated ways of evaluating applicants from across the socio-economic spectrum.

So how did the college admissions process turn into the lengthy, complex system it is today?

Read more. [Image: Lisi Niesner/Reuters]

Advice to Eleventh Grade me

It’s about that time of year when the next batch of college applicants start the process, and this post is for them when they decide to come looking for it. This is being posted a little before the anniversary of my college blog being created, (March 31, 2012,) so yay to all those who have been sticking around, those who joined in along the way, and those just coming to our little world now. I gave into my own obsession with the process sometime around Spring break 2012, and by then the whole idea of college was a daunting amorphous glob. I hope this post helps to give it some backbone. 

The Breakdown 

Going into the process I had very little idea of what it entailed, and the best way to combat that problem is to break it down into tangible steps, and as you complete one step the next one or two become a bit more obvious. The first thing I did was I got a long list of about two or three pages that just listed schools that my counselor thought I should look at. To make this list less daunting I tried to set up a schedule of getting through half a page of schools every week until I was done. By ‘getting through’ I mean looking them up in my two big college books the Fiske’s Guide to College’s and Insider’s Guide to Colleges. I took notes which, while sometimes only three words per school, were very helpful. 

Now I understand that not everyone is going to get the type of guidance that I did from my school, and that’s really tough. My best advice if no one gives you a comprehensive list is first to think about what you’re looking for. That means small vs. large school, liberal arts vs. a specific focus, location, diversity, etc. With that information you might try to plug in key words, like top 10 science research programs for undergrads or what have you. Generally I do not like quizzes offered by college books or even the college board itself. I took the college board one and it had very few schools in common with the list given to me by my counselor. I am very happy to help anyone who wants to tell me what they might be looking for and I can offer a few names, but I am not an expert and could not give you a two page list. 

A more serious option would be to look for college counselors not necessarily associated with your school. Depending on where you live and what your family can afford this may or may not be a realistic option. If you’re interested search the web and I imagine you could ask your SAT tutor if you have one if he or she knows someone in that line of work. 

College visits were a big part of my college process because I could never really imagine committing to a school I had never seen before. In seeing a handful of schools I was able to get a better sense of what I wanted and decide what schools I was no longer interested in by having a strong reaction to other schools. For example in visiting Bryn Mawr I could tell there was little point in me seeing all girls schools because it was something I did not like at Bryn Mawr.

I was a little surprised by how late in the process the common app came up, and I admit this is one of the parts I struggled with staying on top of. While 80% of the common app is just background information you don’t have to think about, 90% of what get people antsy are the supplements included in it. There is the common app essay which is easy enough to handle in the summer so long as you make sure you do it, but specific college supplements aren’t released until August or September. I didn’t do this, BUT START THEN. If you know of any colleges you definitely want to apply to, even if you’re considering ED, do them then. I didn’t, and I was almost screwed. Just do it. If you have trouble figuring out how to access the questions, feel free to ask me for tech advice as I wrestled tackled that monster myself. 

Getting the Right Dose 

I quickly learned in the college process that information is kind of like cholesterol, some types in certain amounts are recommended, but you want to cut out a lot of it. Information about specific colleges is good when the person you are talking to has visited a school you did not. I found it beneficial to hear what other people thought of schools, but I did not let that information seriously impact my real opinion of schools I cared about. 

Try not to let rumors or random specifics get to you. Just because your friend knows this one girl who went to Oberlin and was so crazy she punched a girl in class does not mean everyone at Oberlin is a crazy person with anger issues. Even the smallest schools can have a wide variety of people that you might feel totally comfortable with, and don’t let what other people say determine that for you. A major problem for me was that if I knew of a friend’s older sibling who went to a school I could not get the vague impression I have of then out of my head at the school. Frankly that is a waste of brain function because not only is that like deducing everything about an ocean from a drop, but also then looking at that drop with a blurry microscope. You probably have very little idea of what this random person on the periphery of your life is actually like, so don’t let that impact an important decision in your life.

The worst information you can have is that which pertains to other students’ process. You do not need to know what Mollie got on her SATs. You do not need to know what Alex’s GPA is. You do not need to hear Matt recite his entire extracurricular resume. That will only drive you crazy, and you gain absolutely nothing positive from that knowledge. It is very tempting because it’s interesting and the potential horrid joy you get if you are superior is nice, but it is not worth the dangers of feeling like shit. I decided early on in the testing process that I wanted to know nothing about other people’s scores, grades, etc. 

Avoid sites where people list their entire profile and have people judge whether they are a worthy applicant. The people offering the information are probably stupid insecure bullshitters and the ones judging them don’t have any idea what they’re talking about. I only ever went on one once and it was by total accident, and I can tell you right now that its fantasy bullshit. I’m sorry, but they are destructive and really just piss me off.

 If you’re really hungry for stats and information like I was use Naviance if your school is associated with it. If not it doesn’t hurt to recommend your school incorporate it. It allows students, teachers and parents to see how former students from the same school did in applying to specific schools. Without listing the names of former students one can see the GPA and SAT scores of the lowest, highest, and average students accepted to a university both early decision and regular decision as well as how many students were accepted, deferred, rejected, deferred then accepted, and so on. While I don’t recommend getting addicted to the device, if you’re getting stats from somewhere, use Naviance. 

With that I bid you juniors the best of luck. I’ll always be here to help as best I can. Once again I am no college counselor, just a veteran of the modern college process to hold your hand as you sort this all out. Ask me for advice, and check out my older posts about colleges I visited such as Tufts, Bryn Mawr, Oberlin, and Bates among others. I also have articles about certain aspects of schools like Winter Term at various colleges and my thoughts on early decision

Common App Essay - Entangled Memories

by Bruno Olmedo

Memories cling to my hands. Some are vibrant; others are simply black. Some are from exotic places; others are from just around the corner. Most are from close friends, but some are from complete strangers. All of these memories lie tenderly cuffed around my wrists, readily available for when I need them.

People say that these bracelets look tacky, that I wear too many, but no one understands the pleasure of the memories they evoke. No one understands that within every filament and fiber lies the chronicle of my life. My wrists are a novel, and I am the protagonist.

One bracelet, modest, black, with a beautiful blue orb, is from a street vendor. I was waiting for my parents to pick me up from South Beach when the bracelet caught my eye. I didn’t have enough money, but the elaborate style of his creations spelled out a man whose story was worth hearing. Instead of bargaining I sat next to him to listen.

 “Venezuelan,” he said in Spanish through a vaguely yellow smile, “Venezuelan and proud.” He had been a successful entrepreneur in Venezuela until Chavez came into power. He lost everything he worked for – his home, business, and family – but was lucky enough to make it to Miami with a rusty bag slung across his back and a few dollars in his pocket.  

I liked him a lot. Maybe it was the ease and brutal honesty in his words, or maybe it was that his story was disturbingly similar to mine.

“Take the bracelet, son,” he said to me as I left, “and live your life with passion.” His life was tragic, miserable at best, yet his smile radiated the contagious bliss of a truly happy man. Those last words remain engraved in that bracelet.

I don’t like playing favorites, but there is one bracelet that I treasure most. It’s red, yellow, and green, rare in style, complex in significance. My cousin entrusted me with it in the midst of a chaotic episode of my life. Upon false accusations, my family was chased out of Bolivia by the government when I was fourteen. Stripped of all our belongings, we started over.

The bracelet is worn out but beautiful, tired but still strong. Every loose end has been held down with nail hardener and fire, and every knot has been tightened, unwilling to break under any circumstances. This bracelet holds tough times, but it also holds strength and courage.

Since my cousin used to own the bracelet, its tales go back further than when it became mine. The bracelet is woven with memories of pain, but also of childhood and laughter. It tells stories of grand battalions with wooden swords, of great adventures on a ship with pillows, and of mysterious expeditions into the deadly forest in my back yard. Regardless of the troubles I encounter, this simple bracelet holds all the support I need.

“Tacky,” they say, “tacky and weird,” but I just smile because they don’t understand.