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Image from aphoticbeauty

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.

Summer is over for me in a week and I’m honestly… not really dreading it as much as I have the last few years. I mean don’t get me wrong, I don’t want school to start. But I think I’m ready for school to start. I’m ready for all the firsts and lasts that come along with senior year. Well, mostly the lasts, but I’m sure there will be some firsts.

Oh, like my first college applications.

As you probably already know, the Common App opened earlier this month and the college admissions process is finally beginning. And as I look back at my very first post for Admit/ Deny, which really wasn’t all that long ago, I keep asking myself “What the heck was I so scared of?” I was expecting this all to be completely different. Honestly, I don’t know what I was expecting. I sort of thought that it would all be one huge mess and I would barely get through to March alive. But I’m feeling surprisingly calm about this whole thing. It just seems like it should be a lot more nerve-wracking. Now, I’m certainly not just nonchalantly filling out applications with absolutely no passion whatsoever, but it’s not nearly as exciting as I was expecting.

I guess I was so excited for the Common App to open up that I sort of ruined a bit of the surprise for myself. You see, at the very beginning of this summer, I searched for a guide to the Common App. And I ended up finding what was essentially a list of everything the Common App would ask me—test scores, activities, address, family stuff—and so I compiled a word document of everything I would need to make it a bit easier on me when the Common App opened. It was probably the first time in my entire life that I didn’t procrastinate on something so big and important. So by the time August 1st rolled around, there were no surprises. It didn’t really seem like anything new. I was practically done with it even before day one. Except for one part, that might be considered the most important part of the entire Common App.

Okay, well it is undoubtedly the most important part of the entire Common App.

I’m talking about the personal statement. And even though the prompts aren’t a surprise seeing as I knew them way beforehand, I’m sort of struggling with them. I mean, some of them are pretty similar to the UC prompts, which I’ve already written (more on that in just a minute), but it just seems like recycling one of my UC essays just wouldn’t work.

While I might not have much to write for the Common App personal statement (or at least not yet!), I’m having the exact opposite problem with my UC personal statements. In case you haven’t noticed by now, I have a tendency to write extremely long-winded sentences that would probably sound better if they were shorter (kind of like the one I just wrote). As a result, both of my UC personal statements are as long as Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Okay, maybe not quite that long, but combined, they’re about 300 words over the 1000 word limit. And though I’d like to think they’re pretty interesting, I don’t think an admissions officer would appreciate having to read much more than they already have to (granted, I’m pretty sure the UC Application won’t let you send in any essays that exceed the limit so the hypothetical admissions officer doesn’t have to worry about this scenario. Lucky for them).

One upside to all this college applications business is that I’ve finally started to develop a definitive college list. Last month I wrote that I didn’t really know what schools I was applying to, and that I had a list of 20 schools that I was interested in, but I was still sort of unsure. Now the list has been cut down to 14 schools and I’m pretty sure that I’d love attending any of them. If only I could split my four years attending all of them (I’m kidding of course… well, for the most part!) So without any further ado, I present to you my (probably) final college list (in no particular order):

  • UC Los Angeles
  • New York University
  • Middlebury
  • Columbia University
  • UC San Diego
  • Emerson College
  • San Diego State University
  • Emory University
  • UC Berkeley
  • UC Santa Barbara
  • University of Southern California
  • UC Santa Cruz
  • CSU Long Beach
  • Occidental College

So maybe I didn’t quite cut my list down THAT much. But I did make it shorter than I had originally planned. And to be completely honest, I’m not sure that the list is totally finished. I know for sure that I’m applying to all of these schools (I’ve started the applications for all of them except the CSUs, and that’s only because the CSU application is either a.) really confusing or b.) hasn’t opened yet. I’m honestly not too sure, but I’m hoping it’s just option b). For all I know I could end up applying to six more (there are still a few that I’m interested in, but a bit unsure of).

Looking at my list, you’ve probably realized that I definitely don’t have the safest of safeties. And I’m honestly kind of nervous about that. I know this is something that every high school senior who’s applying to college worries about, but my list just feels a little bit daunting to me. I only have three schools that can really be considered “safeties”; and even those aren’t a 100% shot that I’ll get in. It kind of feels like a big gamble. And I’m not so sure how lucky I’m feeling.

If you find yourself feeling like me, or you’re looking at College Confidential’s endless Chance Me threads written by what seem to be the perfect college applicants, here’s a little bit of advice: The college application process is really all about putting your best self out there for college admissions officers to see. And that’s what all those Chance Me threads are—applicants that are showing off the best version of themselves possible. Do exactly that. Think about everything you’ve ever done. Then, out of those things, pick what impresses you the most. Don’t compare yourself to any other person, and when you look back on your applications this December, getting ready to submit them, you’ll be pretty impressed with yourself. You’ll find yourself thinking, “Wow, am I really this impressive?” And the answer is yes. Yes you are.

Around this time next month, I’ll be back in school, probably stressing out about some test, so who knows how I’ll be feeling about all of this college stuff? Maybe I’ll be so sleep deprived and stressed that I won’t want to apply to fourteen schools (Or fifteen. Or sixteen.) Or maybe I’ll be feeling the same as I do now—slightly calm yet slightly wary.

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