I am very relieved to report that our oldest daughter has now completed all of her graduate school applications.
This was a long haul. First she did exhaustive research about institutions by reading websites, going to an admissions fair, and contacting departments and professors, in order to finalize where she was applying. Then she had to rally professors and employers to write numerous letters of recommendation by the right deadlines. Finally she had to fill out exhaustive forms –complete with copious carefully crafted personal statements– that had to be meticulously honed by endless editing and adjusting as well as much soul-searching.
My job, when she was unsure or didn’t know what to say, was to ask probing questions until she said something to which I’d respond, “write it down!” (She got tired of my response,“Then say so,” because I said it so many times.) It is hard to get yourself summed up in 500 words; some schools would allow 1000, but the school that let her write 1200 words got the best picture of her, I think. We were a good team (me supporting in the bleachers and her running with the ball) and she did a phenomenal job navigating downfield during this grueling process.
I’m glad she’s so web-savvy too. We used “Google docs” and Skype a lot; both are free and the combination was indispensably helpful. We could comfortably look at the same document being edited in real time on two different computers, talk at length without holding a phone by chatting at our computers, and from states away I could watch her on her own desktop as we looked at stuff together. What an asset all this readily accessible technology was to this project!
It was a privilege for her to involve me so closely during this adventure; this is something I never took for granted and will always appreciate. Because I was included all along, I have a good sense of each school’s relative merits. They all have slightly different things to offer, but any one of them could be a huge blessing to her.
She applied to top ranked political science and Public Policy schools, and will not hear news back until the end of March. We are unsure of her chances as her background coming from an all-required Great Books program at St. John’s College is unique. Each of these graduate schools only take 10% directly out of undergraduate programs, preferring those that have been out in the workforce several years. However, she’s had some great experiences in summer internships both on Capitol Hill and for the Governor of Maryland, so we’ll see. She’s also exceptional, as any of her unbiased observers will tell you: dedicated, genuine, intelligent, caring, moral, hard working, optimistic, idealistic, a reformer at heart. No doubt the world needs her contribution, so it shall be interesting to see where God places her, and how He makes it financially possible as well.
In this post are doodles I did during a couple of our conversations during this enormous undertaking…