Reflecting on undergrad and looking towards grad school

By Wednesday, April 20, 2016 ,

Applying to grad school is no small feat. During the application process, I was able to reflect on the past four years of my college education. In hindsight, I recognized areas that I wish I could have improved but I also got to remember so many wonderful, positive experiences.

My favorite highlight of my undergraduate time: organizing a drive for a local orphanage. As community service chair for the student organization I was involved with, I reached out to St. Joseph Orphanage in Cincinnati to see if there were any items that they were in need of. I was nervous because I was not sure what my peers and faculty would donate. It was so humbling to see the outpouring of donations for these kiddos. We were able to give the orphanage over $800 worth of toys, clothing, hygiene products, and school supplies. We also gave them duffel bags so that the kids would have something besides a plastic grocery bag to take their belongings to when they were placed with a family. This experience was made even more fulfilling when the orphanage director told us that without the generosity of my peers and faculty, the kids would not have had anything to open in that holiday season as their corporate donor decided to go in a different direction for their holiday philanthropy.

I have been a strong student throughout my entire education and for this reason, I was fortunate to be in a position where it was note a matter of if I would get into a program but where I would want to go. For this reason, I chose to apply to three schools whereas I knew of other classmates who were applying to 10-12 schools. Not only did this save me a lot of time and stress during my applications but I literally saved thousands of dollars.

Another thing that was to my advantage during this process was the fact that I have always been someone that has enjoyed actively participating in organizations and other events. Throughout college I have held an executive position on four different student organization boards.

Keeping my GPA, involvement, and GRE scores in mind, I decided on applying to the Indiana University (IU,) the University of Cincinnati (UC,) and Vanderbilt University. I had a strong feeling that I would be offered admissions to IU and UC due to their ranking and where I stood as an applicant. As far as Vanderbilt goes, I knew I would be competitive but I didn't know where I stood because they have the #1 Audiology program in the country.

I had my applications to IU and UC submitted before the new year. I got engaged January 10th and was still wrapping up my Vanderbilt application. At this point, Carter and I discussed if I should still submit my application. Carter has been so supportive throughout my schooling and has never wanted to get in the way of my education so he said I needed to apply still so I submitted my application to Vanderbilt a day before the deadline.

I heard back from UC first in the middle of February. Next was IU at the start of March. Finally Vanderbilt in the middle of March. I can happily say that I was offered admissions to all three programs but this also meant that I had a big decision to make. I weighed out my personal pros and cons of each program to decide which school would be the best fit for me. I crossed IU off my list first. Now between UC and Vanderbilt, I started to get really stressed. I loved UC and had spent an enjoyable 3 years as a Bearcat, I knew the area, I knew the faculty and they knew me, and it has amazing clinical opportunities. Vanderbilt had been my motivation and aspiration since my freshman year when I started to look into various programs throughout the country. It's hard to deny anything that comes from a program as respected as theirs (besides maybe the price of private tuition) and Nashville is an incredible city. I was torn. Turn down a school I love and know for a school unknown in a city I have only stopped in once? Or start life as a grad student in a new city? I really couldn't see any regrets either way.

In the end it came down to this:
After spending the past four years in the same city for a few months and then apart for a few months, Carter and I are so beyond ready to be in the same city. Carter didn't want to add any opinions to my decision so I had to decide where I wanted to go to school all on my own. We are so excited to start our life together as a married couple and going to Vanderbilt would have meant starting out our marriage apart for six months. Going to Vanderbilt also would have meant more student loans because the amount of aid I was offered didn't make it comparable to UC in price plus the cost of rent in Nashville is much higher than the cost of rent in Cincinnati. 

Turning down Vanderbilt was hard. Was it the hardest thing I have ever done in my life? No, but it was saying goodbye and thank you to the biggest motivator and possibility of what if that had lived in the back of my mind for the past four years. As sad as I was to say no to Vandy, the excitement of my marriage and all the good things to come at UC prevailed. 

I know that I am going to get a fantastic education at UC, I have experience nothing by support and kindness my faculty already, and I cannot wait to meet my classmates in August! 



  1. Just the Vanderbilt logo showed on my Feedly for this and I was like "wait, what??". I knew you had been considering it but though UC was the decision. I would have picked that way too. We did the long distance thing for 3 school years and it SUCKED. I wouldn't want to start marriage that way!