Nicolas Keller Sarmiento Photograph


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Don't Give Up!

March 28, 2011   

Firstly, I would like to congratulate all those accepted to Hamilton College Class of 2015. You made it! I look forward to meeting you all next fall.

I can distinctly remember when I got accepted, and when I got rejected.

In late 2007, I applied to Hamilton for the Class of 2012. In Argentina, we finish our academic year in December. So I had an 8-month gap between the end of high school and the beginning of college. When I decided to apply to US colleges, I had no idea how hard the process would be. Little did I know, I would have to juggle studying (and taking) my SAT tests, IB exams and Argentine national curriculum finals. Let me add that I had little experience taking multiple-choice tests where vocabulary and speed is of the essence; our IB exams were long and arduous analytical papers with generous amounts of time. Of the 130 students from my high school’s senior class, 2 of us came to study in the U.S. You can imagine that the resources available to us were rather limited because only 1 in 65 students had an interest in studying in the U.S. Despite all the obstacles and conflicts that came my way, I managed to send off all my applications.

I applied to many colleges, and got many “no, thank you’s.” Hamilton’s letter came in the mail, it was the small envelope and it brought unfortunate news. A few colleges said yes, but I wasn’t fully convinced. If I were to (literally) go halfway round the world to attend college, I wanted to make sure that I really wanted it. So I decided to give it another try. The schools that accepted me were good, but I knew that there was more out there. In reference to Harry Potter, why settle for a public school near Privet Drive, when I aspired to Hogwarts?

I decided to take a year off, in addition to the 8-month gap from December to August. During my lengthy gap year I travelled around Europe and the Middle East, I worked in a hotel-vineyard by the Argentine Andes, I took various writing and acting courses, I interned at a major Argentine FM radio station, co-directed my middle school’s play, re-took my SATs, re-did my college applications and worked at Sony Pictures in New York City. Yeah, I kept myself busy.

I was lucky enough to interview at Hamilton College and I really think that that helped my chances. It gave me the chance to become a person with a name and not just an application with a number.

Months after my interview, I got the envelope. It was large. You can probably deduce the rest. Hamilton picked me, and from that moment on I was set. Looking back now, I really didn’t consider any other college too much.

When I was a kid, I was always worried that I would not know whom to marry. My mother would comfort me by saying: “When you know, you know.” Even though I don’t want to sound incredibly cheesy, I might have to. When I got accepted at Hamilton, I knew.

My journey to Hamilton was a long one, and it wouldn’t have happened if I would have taken ‘no’ for an answer.

To those students who were accepted to Hamilton College 2015, CONGRATS!