Q&A With $2,500 Scholarship Essay Winner Sarah Mirsaidi Madjdabadi

A round of applause for our most recent $2,500 scholarship essay winner, Sarah Mirsaidi Madjdabadi! I got the chance to chat with Sarah about her essay, her college search process, and her plans for the future.

Here’s what she had to say!

Sarah Mirsaidi Scholarship Winner

Tell us a little about yourself!

My name is Sarah Mirsaidi Madjdabadi, and I am a rising senior from San Diego,
California. I absolutely love biology, and I plan on pursuing a career in neuroscience in
the future. Although I am a fan of the sciences, I also do have a little bit of a creative
side. I love to write, and I played the flute in my school band for 6 years. In my free time,
I love to watch movies, listen to music, and journal.

What aspect of the application process intimidated you the most?

The most intimidating aspect for me was creating my college list. I had no idea where to start. There are so many amazing institutions in the United States, and I was worried I
would never be able to find the right ones for me.

Which colleges did you consider before using College Raptor? Did your list change after?

Before using College Raptor, I was considering a couple of public universities on the
East Coast. After using College Raptor’s “total debt” feature, I ended up removing a few
of them from my list because I realized that they were far too expensive for me and my
family. As a result, I started adding a few more schools in California to my list because
they are much more reasonable in price for my family.

Did College Raptor highlight any factors you hadn’t considered before?

I never considered student-to-faculty ratios when considering schools before. As
someone who likes to work in more quiet, intimate settings, going to a smaller school
might be a better option for me. Thus, I made sure to add a few small to midsize
institutions to my college list.

Did narrowing down your list ease some of the pressure you felt?

Absolutely! Once I was able to discover the aspects of schools that I really enjoyed (e.g.
academic match, student-to-faculty ratio), I no longer felt intimidated by the thousands of schools in the U.S. I was able to find a list of schools that worked for me and my

What are you most looking forward to in college?

I’m most looking forward to meeting new people in college. There are so many
interesting people in the world with so many cool perspectives on life, and I can’t wait to
meet and learn from as many as I can in college.

What advice would you give to other students in the college search process?

Don’t be afraid to open up to people about your college search process. The people in
your life (e.g. friends, family, teachers, mentors) will offer a lot of interesting
perspectives on your college list, and they might even help you think of schools to add to your list that you never even knew existed. For example, I talked with my parents about my college list, and they really helped me find the schools that would best work for me

Congratulations again, Sarah! Everyone at College Raptor wishes you well on your college journey.

If you want to use the same tools that helped all of our scholarship essay winners, create a free account with College Raptor.

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