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Florida State College Student Accepted at Oxford—and takes philosophical look at what’s best
(Update on the continuing education of Garrett McLain) “After extensive reflection, thought, discussion, prayer, and contemplation, I have decided to complete my undergraduate studies here in the U.S. I still aspire to attend Oxford for graduate studies, but for a wide variety of reasons, I have come to the conclusion that it is my best interest NOT to attend Oxford for my bachelor degree.”
By Florida State College Tue, February 28, 2012 1:03 pm EDT
The Campus Voice—Florida State College's student-run newspaper—produced this article on Garrett's road to Oxford. I've added some new information below the piece.
FSCJ student Garrett McLain was astounded to have received a once-in-a-lifetime offer from the University of Oxford. McLain aced the grueling admissions process for the three year Bachelor of Arts program of Philosophy and Theology at one of the world's most recognized schools, but that was the easy part. Raising the money to fulfill his dream of attending Oxford will prove to be a whole different story.
After joining Phi Theta Kappa at FSCJ, McLain began to receive emails from a myriad of colleges, one of which was Columbia University in New York. Though Columbia University was not his dream college, it planted a seed in McLain's mind that if Columbia University was interested, Oxford may be within his reach.
Each application's requirements vary slightly based on the field of study the student wishes to pursue. McLain's Philosophy and Theology application required a personal statement of 1,000 words or less, a letter of recommendation, college transcripts and two writing samples graded and marked by the professor, preferably concerning theology or religion. This documentation was followed by two interviews that required him to read an excerpt and develop arguments. Applicants were given the option of interviewing on Skype instead of in person, but McLain decided to fly to London, England in order to give himself as much opportunity as possible.
Weeks later, McLain was notified via email from Oxford's permanent private hall, called Blackfriars, of his acceptance. "I was in shock! I kept rereading the acceptance letter. There were moments that I thought, this is crazy. I'll never get into Oxford," said McLain.
Acceptance was just the foot in the door for McLain. The whole three-year program will require a total of $150,000, but those accepted are expected to have $40,000 by July. If the funds are not available by July, the offer will be taken back, leaving McLain with a huge financial goal and a college dream hanging in the balance.
McLain is pulling out all the stops to make his Oxford dream a reality by creating a website, www.OxfordDreams.com, that allows donations to be made via PayPal and mail, in order to help fund his education. "I've always found the idea of attending romantic. It just always seemed really far-fetched. But the options are out there, you just got to go for it," said McLain.
If Oxford is possible, McLain will pursue a Bachelor's degree in unity ministry interfaith and secular faith philosophy, followed by a Master's in divinity, to be ordained at a church and possibly a Masters in Business Administration for nonprofit businesses.
For now, McLain is focused on raising funds to make his Oxford dream possible and inspiring FSCJ students to pursue their own dreams and know that nothing is out of reach.
UPDATE: Garrett previously informed Florida State College Network that Oxford required proof that he could afford all three years of the program by this summer. After a somewhat fruitful effort to raise the needed funds, he has decided to complete his undergraduate education in the USA, and has made arrangements to return the donations that were given to him for his Oxford Dream. You can learn more about Garrett's decision on his own website: http://www.oxforddreams.com/