Search Menu

If Not Yale, Then Where?

If Not Yale, Then Where?

Laura (and her alterego, rosefan42) has profuse thanks and even profuser QUESTIONS for all you college-prepping, Harry Potter-loving Sparklers, because she's a British Sparkler trying to get into Yale with your help! –Sparkitors

Are you there, Sparklers? It’s me, Laura.

Let me just begin by saying a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to everyone who commented on my last post. You guys rock! I got tons of great reading suggestions and application tips. A couple of questions answered and shout-outs to…

Seven_up-19 and hp4747 for recommending I take a look at the ACT; unfortunately, there are no viable test centers or dates for me, otherwise I’d be sure to think about it!

14as, who shares my love of quintessentially British (and apparently Newfoundlandish) phrases.

PrestigiousTimeLady, who wrote an absolute mammoth comment. SO MUCH GOOD ADVICE! Thank you :’) And also, you have an awesome screen name.

goolgasianma, you are awesomely far-ahead if you’re already taking SAT prep! Wow! You’ve also read tons for your age. I hope I’m not sounding patronizing here; I am genuinely in awe of you right now.

Timebreaker49, I look forward to hearing your firsthand Yale stories in the autumn. Well done and good, good luck!

TaylorKinsley, it’s awesome that you know exlovers too! I was mainly using the hipster phrasing for added effect, but you gotta admit that they’re not aaaaall that well-known. I wear my band shirt to school sometimes, and the standard response from just about EVERYONE is always “Why do you have a picture of a topless girl on your shirt?”

rja9999, YourRoyalHighness, pikori and mdsq36: thank you for putting my mind at ease about the literature SAT! Unseen comprehension paper for the win!

Starkid10: Gary… *shakes fist* Awesome screen name, by the way. PIGFARTS!

ohmygoodnessgraciousgosh!, who gave me a much-needed reality check. Don’t worry, my levels of naiveté have gone down considerably since I last wrote…

And with that handy segue—time for an update!

Now, it would be easy enough to fill up every post with SAT panic and revision stories, but that would quite possibly bore even me to death. So here’s a very, very, very brief overview:

1. Apparently you can’t take the SAT and the subject tests on the same day. I did not know this!

2. Subject tests approaching on the 4th of June. Practise tests this weekend gave scores of 800 (German), 750 (Literature), and 710 (Maths I).

3. SATs approaching in October/November. My last practise test gave me 750 (Maths), 710 (Reading) and 630 (Writing; essay marked by parents as 6).


  • Do a happy dance about German.
  • Work through shiny new Literature prep book and do some more practise tests
  • Use online SparkNotes to revise Maths I and do some more practise tests
  • After June 4th, start work again on SAT strategies, essay practise, full tests…
  • Oh, and actually study for IB year 1 tests in three to four weeks. Might be a good idea.

The rest of this post comes to you from the College Board “find your college” app. Expect tales of location confusion, scholarship stress, and many, many browser tabs open at the same time!

After the initial excitement of deciding to apply to Yale had worn off slightly, I began to think seriously about where else I would like to go. I’m not drawn to Yale only for its academic reputation and Ivy League cred—it’s the American Liberal Arts system that really pulls me in. With this in mind, I decided to research my other options.

College Board recommends one or two “reach” colleges, up to four middle-ground choices, and one or two safety schools. I decided to do the fun and terrifying thing first, setting about researching some of the other “big name” colleges that could potentially become my second “reach” option. Here’s a quick rundown of my two current favourites:


Pros: New York City! I’d be living IN NEW YORK! Ahhhhhhhh! The English department looks awesome too, with courses on anything from the intriguingly titled “Multimedia Blake” to an entire course on “Austen, Bronte, Gaskell.” Being so close to Broadway and other amazing theatre locations bodes well for the Theatre Arts courses and experiences, too.

Cons: No creative writing courses within the English department, which is a big turn-off for me as I don’t want to commit to Creative Writing as a whole major. Also, International applicants aren’t admitted needs-blind, which means that I would really have to shine to have any hope of going here.


Pros: Some veeeeery interesting courses available in English, and the option to add a Creative Writing and/or Drama Minor, which seems to be almost exactly what I’m looking for. Also, the Drama department includes playwriting courses. WIN! The fact that it’s located in California and therefore close to many, many of  the conventions and theme parks I’d love to visit adds to this college’s appeal, as does the weather. (Hey, I’ve spent the last 7 years in almost constant English drizzle. Cut me some slack for dreaming of sunshine, here!)

Cons: Again, the biggest case against Standford would be that international students’ financial need is considered during admissions. Location, too, might add to the cost; after all, flights to the UK aren’t exactly cheap, especially from the West Coast.

You see how hard it’s already become to choose? I mean, I know I could apply to all of these and more, and wait to decide once admissions decisions are in. And to be honest, that’s probably what I’ll end up doing. My only concern right now is the fact that I’m finding it really hard to find appealing, less competitive schools. There are so many colleges listed, I’ll never be able to look through them all! Even using the College App filter, I still ended up with about 50.

So there you have it, Sparklers. I am conflicted and confused as always, not to mention hungry. Darn those descriptions of Pop-Tarts! I’ll see you all soon, and thanks again for your amazing support on the first post!

HLBLNAIATUSoA (Help Laura Be Less Naïve And Ignorant About The US of A)

Answers to any and all of these questions would be muchly appreciated!

1. How do I go about selecting some less competitive schools to apply to?

2. Should I let a school’s needs-aware policy affect my application decision?

3. Is it worth applying for so many highly competitive schools, or should I try to focus mainly on Yale?

4. Revision strategies, especially for IB exams…HELP ME! HOW DID JUNE GET TO BE SO SOON?

5. Are there any other official practise SAT subject tests? I’ve done the ones in the book, and I know SparkNotes covers Maths I, but what about German and Literature?

6. Doctor Who fans! I don’t know exactly when this will be posted, but I’m guessing nothing will have really been resolved yet, and I want answers. Who is the Eye Patch Lady? Who is the little girl? How the heck is Amy pregnant-not-pregnant? Who is River and who did she kill?

7. How are you coping with the upcoming End of Harry Potter? Are you going to the premiere? Midnight release? Will you be rereading, rewatching, dressing up? HAVE YOU CRIED YET? BECAUSE I HAVE.

MTITIGAYSLTAW! (Music That I Think Is Good And You Should Listen To As Well!)

This week, all songs come under the heading of “Catchy sing-along numbers for when you’re pretending to work but not really, because, admit it, we’ve all been there”

"Friday" by the Glee Cast

"Teenage Rebel" (acoustic version) by Chameleon Circuit (the song starts about 2 minutes in, but the rest is a pretty adorable Nerimon vlog that you should all watch anyway)

"Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves, and if anyone can explain the music video to me you win about 50,000 Laura points.

"Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler. Go on, belt it out. Belt it like you’re on a balcony! You know you want to.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Literal Trailer" by Tobuscus. Come on, I can’t be the only one who knows all the words, right? Spell, dodge, too many passengers, dramatic turn, how does that hold him, first time he touched a girl…

Laura :-) x

Can you help Laura in her search for middle ground and safety schools? How many times have you cried about Harry Potter?

Related post: Help this British Sparkler Get to Yale!

Wanna write for SparkLife? Read this first!

Topics: Life, College Advisor
Tags: sparkler posts, college, ivy league, help laura get to yale, yale, safety schools, college decisions, the sat

Write your own comment!