For Those on the Fence
If you’re reading this, you’ve likely just been accepted to Oberlin. Let me be the first (after the acceptance email and your exuberant younger sibling, of course) to say CONGRATULATIONS!
Applying to college is a huge and exhausting ordeal, especially for those of us who aren’t bankrolled by a nefarious celebrity parent willing to buy their child’s way into school no matter the cost... Anyhow. The waiting time between submission and admissions response can feel excruciating. But! You did it! Yahoo, baby!!!
Some of you reading this might be on the waitlist - to you I say HOORAY! Many of the people I’m closest friends with started their path to Oberlin on the waitlist, so if you’re feeling down, know that you’re not alone. There are many blogs detailing how to respond to the waitlist, so feel free to look at those if you’re seeking guidance or affirmation. Also: please remember that no college acceptance or rejection can determine your worth or value as a human, your work ethic, your skills, or your potential. I’m writing this post for those who are trying to determine whether Oberlin is the right fit for them, but want to be intentional in saying that while college acceptances can feel like the be-all and end-all of your joy, that’s just not true! That’s crapitalism talking. *tips hat*
So, okay. Maybe you just got into Oberlin, but you were also accepted to (insert seemingly similar liberal-arts college). Your financial aid packages are robust and identical! You have one beloved sibling rooting for (rival school) and one beloved friend rooting for Oberlin! You visited both campuses and loved them both! How will you ever make the decision? Four years are at stake here!!
First of all, breathe. The stakes might feel high, but I promise it will be okay!!! This is probably the best problem you could have, so try to steep yourself like a teabag in the fact that you are definitely going to be fine.
I picked Oberlin for a number of reasons. I applied for the double-degree program, and was super excited about the prospect of the conservatory being intertwined with the college. My high school mentor Anna got in a year or two before I did, and she loved it and talked it up to me over break. I remember her eyes getting bright as she talked about the first snow, the waffles at Stevie brunch, the slightly degraded yet still present piano key sidewalk paint outside of the Conservatory. Oberlin just seemed special.
She was right! This is a really special place. I’ve never felt so simultaneously affirmed, challenged, and excited about learning as I have at Oberlin. My professors are super weird and loveable and wise and go to admirable lengths to get to know and support their students. My friends are all incredibly kind, goofy, and hard-working. The weather? Not so great, I will say that. But it is bearable.
Oberlin is the right place for you if you love to learn, if you think complacency is not an option, if you’re afraid of climate change but committed to fighting it, if you want to speculate about the future and then build that world starting now, if you want to learn Russian, if you loooove writing well-formatted footnotes, if you play oboe, if you play frisbee, if you want to learn how to map projections onto large public monuments, if capitalism is over if you want it, if you would like to run a track race covered in glitter, if you write poems when you should be writing your midterms, if you want to teach a peer-taught course on the radical potentials of badminton, if you like it when the flowers bloom all at once, if you are into drinking smoothies, if you want to study the Blues, if you value local knowledge, if you’re critical of powerful institutions like and including Oberlin but still think there’s important work to be done from inside them, if you are interested in ten different subjects and don’t quite know what to major in, if you like painting rocks, if you want to learn how to balance your time, if you love math, if you care about complicated and nuanced discussions around social justice even when they make you uncomfortable, if you want to learn how to articulate your thoughts in many different social environments, if you want to abolish prisons, if you hate busy-work, if you want to learn more about your gender identity, if you like swings, if you want to cook huge themed meals for your loved ones, if you like pranks, if you like improv or are at least open to watching it because you will without a doubt have at least one friend in an improv troupe, and if you are ready to be pushed and stretched into a version of yourself you can feel really proud of.
If any of that sounds like you — come to Oberlin. If you hate it, you can leave. But I have a feeling that if you made it all the way to the end of this blog, this piece of Ohio might be right for you. We’re waitin’ for ya!