Profile: Finding the Perfect Match

Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet High School grads tell their stories, dish out admissions tips.

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Delaney Roberts was looking for a perfect match in a college: "I kind of saw it as a dating process." She narrowed her list to five—University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, Tulane, Webster, Agnes Scott, and Hendrix College—and got into all, but she was offered full rides at UTC and Hendrix. "UTC was my safety school," says Delaney, who will study Spanish. As for Hendrix, "they seem to have their heads and hearts in the right place."

GPA: 3.87

SAT/ACT scores: 670 math, 750 critical reading, 750 writing/31 composite

Extracurrics: SGA president, Model United Nations, Planned Parenthood teen educator, volunteer with handicapped kids, voice and piano lessons

Essay topic: Vignette about an older woman looking back on her life

Approach: Started visiting colleges in 10th grade, went to college fairs, read up on schools, picked her final five, and sent in applications by September of senior year.

Staying organized: One folder per school for all info and correspondence. And after it was all over? "It felt really good to recycle them," she said.

Value of visits: Hendrix had a "very relaxed" feel. Of Agnes Scott, a women's college: "I loved everything about girl power, but I got sick of it after a while."

Aha moment: She scratched Tulane after realizing it was New Orleans she liked, not necessarily Tulane.

Using the Web: Delaney joined Facebook's Hendrix class of 2013.

On scholarships: "It was a ridiculous amount of work."

Searching for a college? Get our America's Best Colleges 2010 complete rankings.