Illustration by Grace Mazzucchi
Ah that time of year has come again. The most dreaded time for every parent and student. College admissions (dun dun duuuuun).
The time in which you are scrutinized for every grade and activity you have participated in while in high school. Fun!
While it sounds miserable, the college admissions time is a great time for you to look back at your accomplishments to see where your future is headed. Think of it as a form of Shark Tank. You are the entrepreneur pitching yourself as a good fit for the school. The sharks (or admissions officers) have to decide if they want to invest in you. Your words and ideas have the power to make someone believe in you the way you believe in yourself.
I’ll admit, it’s going to be rough. You may rip your hair out trying to come up with a theme for a personal statement. You may curse your tenth grade math teacher for that bad grade during semester 1. You may wish you had done sports or joined more clubs. The important thing though is to look back at all the good things, and everything you have been through that has led you to this point. I went through it, and I know you can do it too!
1.Write all your essays before school starts!
Wait a second right there. Summer work?! Let me tell you something. When that first week of school comes, and then the second, and then the third, you will NOT want to be doing more work on top of your piles of homework. Don’t let an essay about yourself (it’s supposed to be fun and introspective) become homework. If it becomes a chore for you, chances are it won’t be your best work. The more fun you have writing it, the better it will be.
2. Visit some schools (even if you don’t think you’ll go to there)
We all have our dream schools, but you can’t just apply to one school (well you can... but that’s probably not the best idea out there). You’ll need backup schools and you may want to try for a few reach schools. You may not even know what you’re looking for in a school! Visiting places will help you narrow down what is on your priorities list. Do you want to be in the city? Big or small school? You may never know until you visit a place.
3. Talk to your friends
Your friends can’t write your essays for you, but they can help you talk about ideas you didn’t even consider. Sometimes talking out loud to someone can help you turn a thought into reality. They can’t solve everything, but they can make you feel less alone. Remember -- they are going through the same thing as you.
4. Don’t ask people to rate your chances
There are tons of websites out there like “collegeconfidential” where students ask others to “chance them” to see if they have a shot at a school. While it sounds tempting, DON’T DO IT. Colleges are subjective and getting your hopes up (or down) is not a good idea. Be confident in what you have done, because those people rating you are not admissions officers. They know as much as you do about the process (essentially nothing!), and all they can do is ruin your self esteem.
5. Have fun with it!
While it sounds like the worst process, know that college (aka the best time of your life) is coming. Make your essays reflect the real you. If you’re funny, make them funny. Take risks and write about what you want to write about. And when you get into places, keep your options open. If something doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of the world. You’ll do great in anything you try.