For my young ones out there about to start your senior year of high school, I applaud you. Many didn’t make it that far. Next step? College, baby! And you will graduate!
If you’re anything like me, college was like an exciting new world, one that you couldn’t wait to step into and finally become an “adult.” Well, first things first—in order to get to into college, you have to fill out the applications, right? Right. Here are some things I did to help the stresses of filling out said applications:
- Finish all of your essays the summer before senior year. At first, I thought this notion was crazy, and I was annoyed because I wanted to enjoy my summer break. Essays? They could wait until the fall, right? If your parents are anything like mine—there is no such thing as summer break. My brothers and I were not allowed to sleep in that often, we had to complete math problems given to us by my mom, and write essays assigned by my dad. He also made us read books and give him a report. No jokes, it was too real. Looking back on it, I’m thankful that I was forced to finish my college essays before senior year started because I could spend more time on and perfect my essays. I could also ask more people to proofread my essays. The essay portion of the applications are the most important, IMO. Your essays give the admissions officers a chance to get to know you, and how wonderful you are. You don’t want to half-ass it because you’re rushing to complete the app at 11:59p on January 1st. That is not cute honey. Also, it relieves some pressure from your senior year. You’re not stressing like your classmates, and you get no worry/stress/frown lines. Again, not cute. Also, I applied to 22 schools; I needed any kind of headstart I could get.
- Start/complete your Common Application in the summer. You’re allowed to fill out the Common App as early as July. Do it, do it, DO IT. It’s long, it’s annoying, it’s “killing you softly,” blah blah blah….it’s a necessary evil. If the schools you are applying to require that you fill out the Common App, do it as soon as possible. You probably still have to fill out the individual school’s supplement, which is another application, so give yourself a head start.
- Send your standardized test scores. Do it. Now. If you still have one more SAT/SAT II/ACT test date, then send in those scores as soon as you receive them. You want all of your information in the application as soon as possible. All of it. Don’t let the delayed submission of a test score be the reason you don’t get into the college of your choice.
- Pick your recommendations wisely. Do not ask a teacher to write you a raving recommendation if you are mute in his/her class, fall asleep in his/her class, or sit in the back and talk to your friends for the duration of the class. They will set you up with a bad recommendation letter, or they will write a generic “good student, good heart” recommendation—and admissions officers see right through that hullabaloo. Seriously. Pick a teacher that you actually like (and likes you! lol) whose class you exceedingly well in, and knows you on a deeper level, to write your recommendation letter. No idea how to get to know your teacher better? Go to office hours! Office hours have saved a lot of grades/lives. Also, give your teachers ample time to write your recommendation letters. They do not like to be rushed; a rushed recommendation = a bad/lukewarm recommendation.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your advisor, counselor, teachers, pastors, parents, older siblings/cousins who have been to college or are in college, are all there to help you. All you have to do is ask.
- Don’t apply to 22 schools. Seriously. Don’t.
- Remember, you got this!