I could totally be cliche and let the college applicant know that I was in his or her shoes just a year ago, looking for the place where I would spend the next four years of my life and really wondering if I would find the right place. And after looking at various places, I felt that gut feeling telling me that this was the place for me to go. Again, roll out the cliches.
The college process is scary, intimidating and stressful. You are deciding the next four years of your life and it all depends on an application and the person that reads that application. Do not be scared if you have not found the one place where you really want to go. This is a normal feeling. Some people do not know where they want to go until days or even hours before committing to a college. I was the exception to this rule since I found Dartmouth as the perfect place for me within minutes of being on campus. Again, I felt that tingling in my heart and the peace of mind when I stepped on campus and all of it told me that I would love to be here for the next four years. Go with that gut feeling, that would be my best advice. If it feels right and if, after taking a holistic view of the college, you like it, then chances are that it is the right college for you.
Once you have found a college, you need to apply. Again, the application process might be even more stressful than finding places to apply to. There are a lot of essays and many short responses that you have to take care of. My best advice for you is this: do the applications for your top three schools first. Release as much of yourself in those applications, in other words, put your heart and soul into them. By doing this, you will gain the momentum which will allow you to finish the other applications. Put equal effort into these since you don’t know how decisions might turn out and you might end up getting denied from your dream school and accepted into a school that you did not consider. It is always good to have options.
A few tips on applications:
1. Proofread them once.
2. Proofread them again.
3. Have someone else proofread them.
4. I think you get my point on how important proofreading is.
5. Be yourself. Do not try and impress anyone by pretending to be someone you are not. College admissions officers will accept you for who you are since they see a place for you in the college. If you choose to be someone that you are not, you are only hurting yourself.
6. The essay. Man, the essay. Be creative, be yourself, be true to who you are. Do you like Gossip Girl and love Newton’s Laws of Physics? Do you love soccer and find Dickens an amazing writer? Find a way to integrate them both into an essay. Ask your college counselor for tips on what not to write about, you do not want to be cliche.
7. Proofread your essay.
8. Take time to relax and enjoy the last year of high school. You’re only a senior in high school once, make it worth it.
9. Accept and realize that there is always a possibility of being rejected. Have that in your head as you apply and be prepared for an eventual heartbreak. BUT…also be prepared for celebrating an acceptance letter.
Best of luck seniors!