Struggles of college admissions


The dreaded Nov. 1 deadline has officially arrived. The impending decision that could possibly determine my future is now in process. All I can do is wait.

I finally submitted my college applications. This anxious feeling of waiting surpasses the stress of writing college essays, filling out applications and sending transcripts. This is a feeling of helplessness. The ball is now in the admission officer’s court. The decision is in their hands.

While waiting to know who accepts or denies my request feels vulnerable and definitely scary, it is simultaneously thrilling and exciting. This is the beginning of a new life path filled with endless opportunities, friends and fun.

Looking back on my college application process, I followed some strategies that allowed me to submit my applications three weeks early, feeling as confident in my work as I possibly could.

Having a solid list of colleges that I am interested in was extremely important. Applications are costly, with prices ranging from $60-$80 each. Because of the time, effort and cost of these applications, it is essential to apply to the right combination of schools.

I quickly became very familiar with the terms “reach,” “target” and “safety.” The perfect college list combines all three types of schools: a few top schools that are extremely selective, some that you have a good chance of being accepted but are not guaranteed and a few schools that you are confident you will get into with your grades, essays and extracurricular activities. Solidifying this list as soon as possible and knowing that you would be more than happy to attend any of these schools is the first step in the college application process.

Starting my essays during the summer before my senior year allotted me valuable time to refine and perfect every word I wrote, without the stresses of senior year.  You may be asking how could I possibly show my identity to an admissions officer in a mere 200-600 words? How can an officer decide who I am based on an online application thousands of miles away from the source itself, me?

Brainstorming topics and deciding what you want to write about may be the hardest part, but simply spilling out words onto a piece of paper is the best way to begin. Ideas will flow and with some patience and a careful eye, you will have crafted an essay that perfectly encapsulates who you are as both a student and individual.

Who knew it was so difficult to talk about yourself? Filling an entire application with your interests, goals and accomplishments is far more strenuous than it sounds. Recalling every detail of the past four high school years and sorting these activities by priority from one, being the most important, to 10, being the least important, while concurrently attempting to describe these details in a mere 100 characters or less definitely put my critical thinking skills to the test.

While applying to college is no simple task, the results can be very rewarding. Completing an application to your utmost ability is all you can do. Put forth your best effort and know that the decisions made–whether good or bad–do not define you. There is no need to dread the Nov. 1 deadline; instead, look forward to it and the future it ignites.