Page 217 is excited to feature Shayna Roth, C’18, as she discusses how the 5Is and 4Cs informed her college search process. Sophomores and juniors, as you actively think about your next steps, allow Shayna’s thought process to inform and guide you.
Shayna: “My first college visit was a frightening experience; I walked into an admissions session in October of my junior year of high school with a nervous smile and left feeling beyond overwhelmed. While I had researched the school prior to visiting, I was a rookie in the college-search scene, and therefore had no idea what to listen for or what kinds of questions to ask like every other high school student and parent around me seemed to know.
A few weeks later, I visited UPenn and heard Dean Furda speak about the college admissions process and the 5Is and 4Cs framework designed to facilitate it. Still a newbie, I welcomed any and all advice on where and how to start, especially given my previous state of confusion. This framework also appealed to me as a visual learner as it could be written down and seen.
I began with the 4Cs, after experiencing surprising difficulty in expressing the 5Is through written word. I realized I had explored aspects of the 5Is through various study methods, extracurricular activities, and intellectual engagements over the past few years, but this was the first time an explanation of what I figured out about myself was demanded of me.
Fortunately, my 4Cs came easily, and I again surprised myself with how much I knew about what I was looking for in a college experience. Soon, all of my ideas meshed together into one big picture, and unintentionally included my 5Is as well. Of course, I was aware of the overlap beforehand, but I was not aware of how easily the pieces would come together. I worked until each question was fully answered and simply kept this list in my back pocket as a rough draft for occasional references or notes.
Once I was able to understand my motives and aspirations, I felt better communicating my thoughts about college decisions to my parents, guidance counselors, and other adults. I was able to extend my research beyond basic facts such as available majors or standardized test scores and become interested on a more personal level. In fact, I got so caught up in researching a specific program that I went to meet with the director in order to deepen my research beyond reading the website. Soon, campus visits became less confusing and more of a positive inquisition experience, and I became the kid in the information session vigorously taking notes and constantly asking questions.
Eventually, I became an informed, collected decision maker as the 5Is and 4Cs improved my approach to research and communication. This confidence helped me overcome my usual indecisiveness and commit to a binding early decision application program in the beginning of senior year.
So, though college searching is confusing and somewhat scary, it has the potential to be quite exciting once you find your grip on it. I encourage all college searching newbies to think about the 5Is and 4Cs, ask as many questions as possible, and have confidence in your thought processes. Who knows where that could lead you?”