Monday: Go to school, go to a club meeting, go to the gym, finish my homework, WORK ON COLLEGE APPS
Tuesday: Go to school, go to a doctor/dentist/orthodontist appointment, finish my homework, go to the gym, WORK ON COLLEGE APPS
Wednesday: Go to school, go to another club meeting, finish my homework, go to my community college business course, WORK ON COLLEGE APPS
Thursday: Go to school, go to practice, go to the gym, finish my homework, watch Jersey Shore, WORK ON COLLEGE APPS
Friday: Go to school, go out to lunch with my friends, WORK ON COLLEGE APPS, go to that one party everyone at school was talking about
Saturday: Go to the gym, go to practice, go out to lunch with my family, WORK ON COLLEGE APPS, go to another party
Sunday: Watch the 49ers Game, WORK ON COLLEGE APPS, finish all my weekend homework that I regret having left until Sunday night
Notice a trend? The one mainstay of my hectic senior year schedule has become working on one of my various college applications. Not gonna lie though, I’m loving every minute of it. You’d think that twelve college applications wouldn’t take THAT long and me, having started on the day that the Common Application was released to the public in late July, should’ve been done a long time ago. But I, like tens of thousands of high school seniors across the world, am spending a majority of my time attempting to craft an essay or a resume or an application that will allow me to gain admission to the college of my dreams, whichever school that may be. We are working at all times of the day, putting blood, sweat, and tears in anticipation of that cold, rainy day in April (or January for Early Action/Early Decision students) when we receive the letter that will ultimately determine our future.
As many students know by now, there are various components that go into the whirlwind commonly referred to as the college application. Everything from finding the right college to standardized testing to transcripts to a flurry of essays and supplements make it a rather arduous process. For me, the high and low points both came on the same step: the Common App Personal Statement. I spent the first three years of my life as a high school student compiling list after list of potential colleges and slowly narrowing the list down after visiting a variety of different schools, receiving numerous brochures in the mail, and utilizing multiple online college-matchers and screeners. In retrospect, I wish I had known about CollegeSolved before I began, as that would’ve made things so much easier. But anyways, after three years of research I was able to enter senior year with a list of colleges that I wanted to attend and I knew would be good fits for me. As I began working on applications, I knew that my grades were finalized and could not be changed, my test scores likely were as high as they were going to get, and the activities I had completed during my wonderful three years and counting of high school would more than fill up all the “Extracurricular Activities” slots on all the applications. The one thing that I could influence, however, was that Personal Statement. Those 250-500 words (although nobody I know has actually abided by that word limit) could very well make or break my application. I cranked up my laptop and got to work, churning out essay after essay about a variety of irrelevant topics in hopes of coming up with a single essay capable of “wow-ing” an admissions director. Six essays, two cartridges of printer ink, and many screams, tears, and paper cuts later, I had an epiphany: I was only going to submit one of these essays, so, as in life, quality trumps quantity. I had to pick a single essay to write, and this only added to the frustration I was experiencing with the process. I utilized every resource available to me, from counselors at my school to my parents to my friends to my ten-year-old little brother, polling everyone to come up with the topic I could best develop. Finally, I reached a point where only one essay stood out, and I took it and ran. After reviewing about ten different essay guides and revising my essay over fifteen times, I had quite possibly the most gratifying moment of my young life: hitting the “Upload Document” button on the Common App Writing Section.
The main advice I’d give for high school students who are either about to begin or have already begun this daunting process is to start as soon as possible, exhaust every possible resource you have in completing the components of the application, and just be yourself and be honest in everything you submit. And yeah, the application is very important in deciding your future, but after you click send there is nothing to do except sit back, relax, and enjoy the rollercoaster ride that is senior year. We’re only seniors once, so let’s make the most of it. Good luck to all high school seniors and I hope we all get into the schools we want to attend in next fall!