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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.

It’s finally starting—”it” being application submission time of course.

Well, in all honesty, it began for me a while ago. A couple of days before my last post was published, I submitted the application to CSU Northridge, CSU Long Beach, and San Diego State University. All three of them are in the California State University system, and the application was actually a lot more straightforward than I had expected—I was done in about half an hour.

If you’re a California resident, my best advice that I can give you is to apply to at least one CSU. Find one you like (there are over twenty of them, so there’s got to be at least one) and apply, because despite the fact that they have less prestige than UCs and other California schools, there are some amazing ones out there and they’re really good safeties both academically and financially. It’s a quick and cheap application—don’t pass up a good opportunity because it’s not prestigious enough for you!

I also submitted my UC Application like three hours after the application period began. I had originally told myself I would wait until around a week in, but I figured since my application was already done, there wasn’t much point in waiting around. Like my fellow Admit/ Deny blogger, Shivani Shukla, I immediately felt regret after clicking the “submit” button on November 1st. I didn’t have to, but anxiety got the best of me, and I decided to hit submit, even though I had until November 3oth to do it.

I still feel like I should have waited, like I should have spent more time crafting my essays and activity descriptions. But what’s done is done.

So by now you might be wondering this: How does he manage to stay sane with all of this college applications madness? And I’m sure my answer won’t shock you much at all: I started studying a new language last month. Yiddish!

My Yiddish handwriting is better than my English handwriting! Image from Andrew Warner.

My Yiddish handwriting is better than my English handwriting… Image from Andrew Warner.

It’s not really ‘new’ to me, as I’d studied it a little bit earlier this year, but never really got around to doing much with it. I’ve studied Hebrew before, and the alphabet is much easier (it’s pretty much the same, but Yiddish indicates vowels, whereas Hebrew does not), and since Yiddish is a Germanic language, its grammar and vocabulary share a few similarities with English. If you’re looking for a fun stress-reliever this college application season, maybe you should try your hand at learning a new language. It’s been working for me, as whenever I get frustrated with a supplement or feel bad about my chances of getting accepted, I turn to my handy-dandy Yiddish notebook and write out a few Yiddish phrases.

I’m not very good at speaking or writing it yet, but hopefully by the time decisions come around I’ll be able to do something with it.

So I’ve got 9 apps done and sent in, 8 to go. I’ve finished the application and supplement for 3.5 of them (I say 3.5 because I’m also applying to the Honors program at Emerson, and let me tell you, the prompt for that one is a doozy, but I’ve finished the general supplement.), so I’ve actually finished 12.5/17.

That said, I’m really happy with my applications. Some of my supplements could be better, sure, but I’m happy with both my Common App essay and my UC essays. I’ve only showed them to my mother and my English teacher, but they both loved them. After reading my first UC essay, my English teacher (who is a published author, mind you) told me that I was a better writer than her, which was one of the most surprising compliments I’d ever gotten.

My goal in writing my personal statements was to be funny and uplifting—I’m sure the admissions officers are going to be reading lots of sob stories, and I think my essays could very well be the ones that cheer them up enough to stand out. They’re light and genuine which I think is important—my advice for anyone struggling to find stuff to write about is to make your topic lighthearted.

Unless you have a sad story that stands out, your sad story is just going to blend in with all of the other sad stories, but cheerful essays are going to stand out regardless (sad essays tend to focus on a small group of subjects, whereas happy essays can focus on pretty much anything). Capitalize on whatever happiness you have in your life, because no admissions officer wants their incoming freshmen class to be filled with a bunch of gloomy people.

In addition to doing the required written supplements, I decided the other day that I should submit the optional artistic supplements to the schools that accept them (for me that’s only three schools). I’m not applying as a visual or performing arts major to any schools, but the arts are such a big part of my application that I feel like the supplements will add some depth to the things I write about in my written supplements. So I’m trying to put together a portfolio of my art and I’m also trying to find some good monologues that I can recite. I want to stick to the lighthearted theme of my essays, so I’m trying to find art that really brings out my positive side.

As much as I love theatre, I’m relatively new to it, and I’m pretty inexperienced. That’s making the search for good monologues a little bit difficult. On the other hand, I’ve been taking drawing and painting lessons since third grade so it’s going to be hard to narrow my artwork down to 1-5 works that exhibit my skill as an artist.

So my Common App is all filled out. But I just can’t bring myself to click on that submit button. For the CSU’s it was easy because the application was so straightforward, that it was almost impossible to make a mistake. Even with the UC App, which is much more in-depth, it’s still pretty simple. But with the Common App there are so many opportunities to make a foolish typo—no one is immune to the typo, not even me (which I’m sure you noticed if you read my October Admit/ Deny post). Which is partly why I’m not applying anywhere early. A lot of my friends are (and a bunch of Admit/ Deny bloggers, it seems), and that’s great, but I need my time. I have to make sure my essays and supplements are squeaky clean before I submit them.

I actually got super close to applying early action to one school. I got an email from them at around 5:00 on November 1st to let me know that I had until midnight to apply early action, and that I didn’t have to send in transcripts or letters of recommendation until after the deadline. It was tempting, as seeing all my friends apply to Yale and UChicago and Princeton early action or early decision was making me a bit envious.

But then I realized that I don’t need to apply early. 3 of my 5 top schools don’t offer early applications. Of the 2 that do, they both offer early decision, not early action. I don’t want to get stuck with a school and always feel regretful (okay, maybe not always, but I’m pretty sure I’d feel that way for a pretty long time) that I won’t ever get a chance to see if I’d have gotten accepted anywhere else.

So unfortunately I can’t really give much advice to those of you who are applying early (though I suppose most deadlines are up anyway!), so I’ll just say this: Good luck!

The other day I started to think about how I’ll have to leave my cats and dog at home when I go off to college—and I have to admit, it made me pretty emotional. I’m finally at the point where I’m realizing that college is a reality—it’s not so distant anymore. Heck, I’m even halfway done writing these Admit/ Deny posts. It’s weird to think about how everything is going to be changing in less than a year—my relationships with my family, my friends, my hometown, even my pets, are all going to be flipped upside down.

The continuous passage of time is frightening.

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