College Column


“Classics and economics? What’s the connection between those?” my interviewer from Smith College asked me through the Zoom screen, half-joking and half interested. I nervously chuckled before answering the question that everyone seemed to be asking me.

Since the beginning of freshman year, I’ve had a very clear idea of my interests. I have loved studying Latin ever since signing up for the class on a whim in seventh grade. On a different note, business has intrigued me since I was a child. I’m worried, however, about having few extracurriculars that demonstrate my interest in business. I hope that the economics courses I’ve taken show that I’m serious about the field.

I enjoy both the humanities and technical fields, so I’ve been looking into schools that value interdisciplinary learning. However, my two polar interests dramatically restrict the length of my college list.

My love of classics hinders me from applying to any undergraduate business schools, which tend to have more rigorous and prestigious business programs than those offered in a school’s College of Arts and Sciences. In addition, classics is a rather niche study, offered by just a few schools. In fact, just weeks ago I had to remove a school from my list since it no longer provided the major.

Distance also limits the schools on my list. The farthest school I am applying to is six hours away, since I want to be able to drive home a few times every month.

Because there are few schools that match my criteria, I’m worried my list lacks a sufficient number of schools. I may have to increase my distance limit, but I want to feel assured that I will be accepted into at least one school.

I’m applying early decision (ED) to Cornell University. I love that it’s a huge school with plenty of resources for me to research and further my interests. I’m applying regular decision to Brown University, which has the most prestigious classics department in the world and a stellar economics major. 

UMass Amherst and Rutgers University are also great options since they are public schools that tend to have more opportunities, especially for niche majors like mine.

Like a lot of us applying early, I just hope that I’m accepted into my ED school to put this process behind me. Struggling to make sure that my transcripts and letters of recommendation have been sent in has made completing college applications laborious and nerve-racking. The personal and supplemental essays with deadlines that approached quickly also heightened my stress levels. 

For now, I’m using the supplemental essays as an opportunity to explain why I want to study both classics and economics. It has been hard to fit my reasons for a double major into a one hundred word essay for UMass Amherst, but I still find the writing enjoyable. Not every college will have the chance to ask me about my interests like the interviewer from Smith did.

I’ve leaned into these supplemental essays (and their somewhat limited word counts), to describe who I am and my passions. Hopefully, I will one day be able to set foot on campus and tell my story in person.