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 coming down to the time that I’ve been dreaming about for five years: I’m going to turn in my first college applications. By the time you’re reading this, I’ll be fretting about the final few detail of my applications before submitting them. I’ll be asking myself questions like: “Did I spell my name right?” “Are those my parents?” “Is this actually my school?” “Did I even participate in that extracurricular activity?” On a more serious note, I know that I’ll be triple-checking everything I put on the application because I’ve revered going to college since I was in elementary school doodling the words ‘Harvard Law School’ on my agenda. In preparation for clicking my first ‘submit’ buttons here are a few things that I’ve done (and still need to do) as part of my college application process. If you haven’t noticed already, lists are the only thing that keep me sane.
Essays: I have to admit I haven’t finished writing all of my essays yet. There are ideas and sentences out on the pages, but they haven’t all been formulated into coherent paragraphs that I’d be willing to send to colleges. What I’ve been doing so far is just talking about the essay topic like I would talk to a friend about it. So scattered throughout the drafts that I use to formulate a good essay are phrases like “so yeah” and “it’s really cool”. Those are going to be edited out, I promise. The one essay that’s in its final stage is the Common App essay because I’ve spent so much time on it. I’m very proud of the way it turned out because when I began writing it, I thought it was a complete disaster. But it not a disaster (woohoo!) and I now have a personal statement to call my own. Now to get working on those supplements.
Personal Information and Activities: I’m proud to say that the personal information and activities sections of all my applications are completely done! I know they’ve been done for a while now, but in the midst of all the stress I have been going through, it’s good to know that there are two whole sections I don’t have to worry about. I’m so paranoid about making a silly mistake on the personal information and activities section of my applications that I’ll probably look over them again to make sure. I’ve already taken a cursory look and I’ve discovered a few mistakes like listing my guidance counselor’s job as “11th grade guidance counselor”. I guess that reinforces how much I don’t believe that I’m actually a senior now.
Transcripts and Scores: I knew how overloaded guidance at my school would be this past week dealing with all the requests for official transcripts, so I ordered them weeks ago. The only thing that I have to do now is submit my application and check that the schools have received them. It’s one of the largest parts of the college admissions process at many of my schools, so to have it completed makes me feel very good. Sending official scores on the other hand, I have yet to do. I’ve utilized all my free score reports, but I don’t remember if I just sporadically sent them to schools, or if I sent them to all my early action schools. Don’t worry though, I’ve only taken the SAT and SAT Subject Tests so I’ll just be throwing a lot of money to College Board this weekend.
External reports: I’ve been slacking in the extra reports department. I haven’t sent in the CSS Profile or the SSAR (Self-Reported Student Academic Record) to any of my schools. The CSS Profile is the College Board’s private financial aid application that many of my schools require along with the FAFSA (more money to College Board!). The FAFSA doesn’t open until January, but the CSS Profile opened in October, so I’m trying to fill it out as soon as possible to get financial aid. The SSAR is a report that as far as I know only some Florida public schools use. Since I’m applying to UF, I have to fill it out. Basically, I have to list out all the high school classes I’ve taken for each subject and the grade I’ve gotten in them. It also has a place for middle school classes that count for the high school level and dual enrollment classes. It’s an easy form to fill out, but it’s tedious to input…so I’ll get to that later.
Letters of Recommendation: Even though I know the teachers I asked to write letters of recommendation from (I’ve known one for five years now), and I knew that they would write letters for me, I was still really terrified of asking. I read a whole bunch of articles online about how to ask for letters politely but I was still unsure about whether or not I would be a burden to them or they just didn’t feel like they could write a strong letter for me. Luckily, they both agreed to write letters for me, and asking them in person to write the letters wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be! I really just created unnecessary situations in my mind to freak myself out instead of just thinking about the most plausible situation. But though I know I’ve been irrational, I still freak out when I check in on them to see how they are in writing the rec…whoops.
I threw Harvard out of my list of colleges years ago, but going to college is definitely still a dream of mine. I’m more realistic about how life will be when I actually move into a dorm but I that won’t stop me from dreaming. Turning in the first half of my applications by November 1st is just the first big step I’ll take to get into my dream schools. Then comes the part that I find a lot worse: waiting.