For Eli Russell, who earned a perfect score on his SATs and founded the award-winning National History Day team at AFS, the list of possible colleges included many of the nation’s top-tier universities.
Eli applied via the early-action process to Yale, but his application was deferred to the regular admission round. After applying to 12 other colleges he was admitted to nine colleges, but not to Yale. He narrowed his choice to five, and then finally to just Harvard and Brown.
“I knew it would be hard to say no to Harvard,” Eli said, but he worried about a culture of exclusivity and the selectivity of certain organizations on campus. He found himself weighing questions that went way beyond academics. “If I’m on a quest to be a compassionate person,” he asked himself, “will it be helped or hindered at this school?”
A visit to Harvard helped seal the deal. “I sat in on an improv class and by the end of it I felt comfortable enough to jump into a scene!” Eli said.
Eli plans to pursue his twin passions — history and theatre — at Harvard.