Moment of truth for three local early applicants



Almost three months ago, three Connecticut high school students — Maya Shankar, Megan Powers and Paige Rossetti — were anxiously putting the final touches on their early decision applications to Yale.

After six weeks of anticipation, the results are finally in — online, by phone or slowly making their way by mail. Two will join the Class of 2007, along with 555 other early applicants. The third is setting her sights elsewhere.

Because Yale has decided to abide by a nonbinding early action policy starting next year, the 2,611 students who applied early this year may be the last pool of applicants to undergo the early decision process. And while Shankar, Powers and Rossetti said they do not regret their decision to apply early, the three students said they were relieved that at least this phase of their college application process is complete.



A family tradition

Like many other Yale applicants, Shankar took advantage of the University’s new online notification system to find out if she would become the next proud daughter of Eli. Brimming with anticipation and inevitable jitters, Shankar logged onto her home computer on a cool December afternoon in Cheshire. The result of three-and-a-half years of intense high school preparation was hanging in the balance. After punching in her personal information, a flashy “Welcome to Yale” message appeared on the screen, announcing her acceptance into the Class of 2007. Excited and relieved, she instant-messaged the good news to her older sister, Meera Shankar ’05, and phoned her parents and brothers.

“Yale is a place I can really imagine myself at for the next four years, so I was thrilled,” she said. “Of course it also reminded me that I will be graduating from high school, where I will leave absolutely amazing friends and experiences.”

While she no longer has to worry about the burden of getting into college, Shankar seems to show few signs of resting on her laurels. She has been preparing for her senior violin recital at Juilliard, which has demanded extensive practice and frequent trips to New York City. In addition to her extracurricular activities at school, she recently auditioned for her school’s senior play, “Applause.” She has also developed an “obsession” with Indian bhangra dancing, which she said she may pursue at Yale with the South Asian Society.

Shankar said most of her close friends are still waiting to hear from colleges, as they applied to regular or rolling admission programs. She is unsure of what she plans to study at Yale and said she is hoping to explore realms of academia that were inaccessible at the high school level. Because she maintains a close relationship with her sister Meera, a Calhoun sophomore, she said she intends to select Calhoun as her college of choice.



A shift in perspective

Next fall, Powers hopes to pack her bags for a bigger, “more exciting” city than New Haven.

Though she received disappointing news from Yale in December, she took a pragmatic view of the situation, having applications to Fordham University, Boston College, Boston University, Brown University, the University of Connecticut and Villanova University finished before Christmas.

“I was upset when I heard, granted, but there’s not much you can do about it once you get the letter,” Powers said.

One of the reasons Yale initially appealed to her was its urban setting, which contrasted with the small suburban town of Northford where she grew up. But compared to the cities that house the other schools to which she has applied, New Haven is small. Her new favorite is Fordham, in New York City.

“I think New York, Boston, Providence, or wherever I end up will be more exciting,” Powers said.

She does not regret applying early, figuring it is better to know her status sooner rather than later.

“I think I’ll be better off somewhere else not so close to home, not having to worry about my older brother [Al Powers ’04] looking out for me,” Powers joked.

Powers, who worked for Yale’s Off-Campus Housing Service last summer, said her job will keep her close to New Haven for at least a short while longer. And she has no hard feelings.

“I don’t have anything against Yale,” Powers said. “I’m still going to work there over the summer.”

While over 2,000 early applicants, like Powers, did not receive early admission, other students are eagerly awaiting Bulldog Days.



The quintessential Yalie

Clad in a gray hooded Yale sweatshirt and jeans, Rossetti looked just like all the other Yalies sitting at the tables nearby. Her confident and laid-back demeanor was typical of someone comfortably situated to student life at Yale — but Rossetti is still a senior at the Hopkins School in New Haven. But when fall 2003 arrives, Paige will officially become a member of the Yale Class of 2007.

When she logged onto the Yale undergraduate admission Web site on Friday, Dec. 13, she said she was surprised to see that the admissions office had already posted its decisions. After clicking “enter,” the Web page reloaded to reveal a message that over 2,000 early applicants for the Class of 2007 hoped to discover: She would soon call Yale’s Gothic campus home. Not too long after some screams of celebration and numerous phone calls to relatives and friends, Rossetti said she went to sleep.

While many students who are accepted early tend to abandon their extracurricular commitments as soon as they get into college, Rossetti remains committed as ever. She is busy rehearsing for her school’s production of “The Mystery of Andrew Drude” in February.

“I play Princess Puffer, a former prostitute opium dealer,” she said. “I’m the tart with a heart.” In addition, she continues to serve as president of Hopkins’ student council, has joined the Senior Year Committee, is playing intramural basketball, and working on a full requiem mass with her school’s concert choir. But despite her commitments, Rossetti said she is focused on enjoying the rest of her senior year.

Along with many other Yalies this week, Rossetti has been looking through the Blue Book.

“I’m not sure what I’ll major in,” she confessed. “I’m hoping that when I’m here I’ll be able to take advantage of a lot of opportunities and try to do things I haven’t done before,” she said.

Although excited about going to Yale, Rossetti said she is a bit intimidated about going to an Ivy League school. Come mid-April, she will attend Bulldog Days and catch a glimpse of her future life, but before setting out on FOOT and heading off to Yale, Rossetti plans to go on vacation with her family and get a job. Meanwhile, the small Yale sticker on the back of her car attests to her anticipation of exciting times ahead for her at Yale.

“I’ve made a lot of friends at Hopkins and I really like my school, but I will be ready to leave when the time comes.”

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