Disclaimer: what you are about to read is a little harsh and perhaps too blunt, but it was something I truly wanted to say. With the Common App rolled out on August 1, the college hype returns and having just gone through the process, I just needed to get a few things off my chest…
I had an outline of a post on my tips all about the college process – everything from applying to accepted student days to orientation. It was going to be a comprehensive guide to how to go about being a successful applicant, then an attentive prospective student, and finally, an excited and prepared almost-freshman.
But every time I clicked on the draft to get into the nitty-gritty, I just couldn’t write anything. The topic is definitely not my favorite thing (reminiscing on all the essays I had to write, thinking of the harshness of waiting to hear back… not necessarily the best things in the world, you know?), but something about this writer’s block was beyond that.
I wanted to share advice, but I realized that everyone is going to have a completely different process. Trust me. I’m thinking right now about my peers, and each one of us went through a totally varied process to end up choosing the actual college we are attending. It’s kind of funny to think about, because we all utilized the Common App – but the tools and connections we had beyond that are what determined where we would end up.
It’s a hard thing to wrap your brain around, because the process is supposed to be fair and even but instead it’s all about what you know, who you know, and how you can position yourself to be a competitive applicant that will persevere over your competiton.
The process is a whirlwind, and I don’t think there’s a single thing I could say right now to change that for you. Although that’s a tough thing to cope with, I think this harshness is what I would’ve needed in order to fully understand what was coming. My application process wasn’t hard, but hearing back from all my schools probably could’ve gone over smoother.
If there is any piece of advice I could offer (despite saying there was absolutely nothing I could do) is try to stay confident in yourself and your own choices. Everyone you talk to will want to put their two cents into your process – honestly, I’ve already pushed my opinion onto others who are starting the journey this year. People always have something to say, but the only voice you should ever listen to is your own. Remember: the only person you have to please and make happy is yourself – if anyone tries to persuade you to do otherwise, they aren’t looking out for your best interests.
To all high school students applying to school this year: good luck! Any specific questions – feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to chat!