Feeling alone as you swim through the terrifying waters known as the college admission process? Have no fear! We have several seniors blogging about ups, downs, and random in-betweens of their college process for the next 12 months (from June 2015 to June 2016!). Sit back, relax, and get that “OMG I totally get you, bro” feeling. Information for how to contact a blogger will be at the bottom of his/her posts.
One thing I learned this month is that college essays become easier after you write them a lot. Who knew? I was applying to a couple of the UC schools on Monday, and I realized that although I was in much the same position as during the Early Action deadlines, leaving everything until the last minute, I didn’t have as much trouble writing about myself.
Of course another factor could be that I didn’t ask so many people to read my essays. This past month I’ve had the chance to reflect on my experiences applying to my first 3 colleges, and I’m confident that I asked for way too much input. My friends and family were pushing my writing in many different directions, and it’s very possible that I got lost in the process.
For that reason I’m not too nervous for the Princeton decisions that will come out in 11 days. I don’t expect to be accepted. If I get rejected, I’ve promised myself not to dwell in disappointment or self-doubt.
A better way to describe my mindset would be optimistic. That is, optimistic in the sense that getting rejected will confirm that my bad feeling about my Princeton essays. It’ll indicate that I can probably do better during Regular Decision. In other words, it’ll be valuable feedback.
If I get deferred, then I won’t know if the reason was because my essays were good but just not competitive enough compared to other Early Action applicants, or if they were plain bad. By “bad” I mean below the quality of the Regular Decision applicants who will apply this year. The thing is, neither I nor the admissions officers know what that quality level will be, which is why Princeton and many other competitive schools defer so many of their applicants, to see if they will compare positively or negative to future-applicants.
If I get accepted, that’ll be great, but it still won’t give me much feedback. During my reflection this month I’ve been thinking about which other schools would be a good fit for me. Even if I am accepted to Princeton, I still want to apply to other competitive schools so that I have the chance to have options when the time comes to choose which school I will attend next year. But if I get accepted to Princeton, I won’t know if I just got lucky (which is very possible), or if my essays were miraculously good and for once in my life procrastination paid off.
I’m not trying to undermine Princeton or its admissions process in any way. I’d love to be accepted, I just hope that my gut feeling is right so that I can figure out how to better improve my Regular Decision applications. Maybe this logic seems backwards to you; it seems backwards to me as well. Sometimes I say things publicly and then later reflect on what nonsense I contributed. Other times one of my friends does the same thing and it’s even more embarrassing because I wholeheartedly agreed with what they said. In this case, I think that since I am currently in the thick of my predicaments, it’s hard to clearly discern or express how I am feeling.
That’s what I’m realizing about writing college essays too. During the Early Action process, even though I rushed a lot, writing my essays forced me to constantly question whether I was expressing myself truthfully and accurately. It made me question my past decisions, and the motives behind them. Since I submitted, I’ve been turning over my words in the back of my mind and feel that I know myself a lot better. So even though I don’t feel confident in my EA essays, what I wrote made me think about who I am in the month since I submitted. Perhaps that’s why writing the UC essays wasn’t as hectic.
In other news, I found out a few weeks ago that I got rejected from Cambridge. I told my cousin over Thanksgiving and she said “You don’t want to go to England anyway.” I guess that’s the end of it.
Want to get in touch with Shivani? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, and she’ll write you back ASAP!