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.
August has begun, summer is over, and it is time to switch back into gear and get down to business. For seniors this year, it means getting to work on summer homework (if you haven’t done it yet, and let’s be honest, how many of us actually did summer homework until the week before school started) and on those college applications.
The morning of August first, I woke up much earlier than my usual summer rising time, out of stress or excitement, I don’t know. I was out of bed an opening my laptop before I’d even opened my eyes. Still in my pajamas, I immediately created a Common App account. The next two or three hours was dedicated to exploring the different tabs, and filling out most of the required information. Even though it was very serious business, I actually had a little bit of fun filling out the information. For some reason, I’ve always enjoyed filling out forms (unless it’s signing up for AP exams – I hate those bubbles). I feel calmer because I’m sticking to what I know about myself – my address, my school name, my birth date. I don’t have to venture into the unknown just yet, and deal with questions like “Who am I?” and “What have I done with my life that is really significant?” Starting that Common App marked the dawn of a new era; everything got real, and college application season had officially begun.
Filling out most of the easy no-brainer information before school starts might be a smart move, too. That way, you won’t have to waste hours on that, and can concentrate on writing the essays instead. Also, those of you who are with your parents, and not away on camp or vacation, I advise that you sit down with them and not only get the information needed in the parental background tab, but also use this opportunity to update them on your progress with apps. I cannot stress this enough – keep your parents in the loop during this time! Although there are always warnings about parents overwhelming students and having too much of an influence on deciding on where to apply, parents are still a valuable resource when you’re looking for advice! For me, personally, when I presented my college list, there were a couple that my Dad was able to warn me against, since I had absolutely no family or friends in the immediate area that would be able to help me if I ever needed help in college. I am still strongly considering applying to those schools, but knowing which ones I would be really alone at, without anybody at all, was extremely useful information. It gave a few schools a considerable boost, and made me reconsider applying to a few schools that are further away.
Also, sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in peer pressure, and feel like if all of your classmates are applying to certain schools, that you should, too. Maybe it’s a state school, or an Ivy associated with your prep school. In my case, many of my friends are applying to the UC schools, since they’re from California and have relatives in the area. I never considered applying to them, because they didn’t fulfill many of my criteria, but because everyone was applying, I started thinking, “should I apply, too?” When I ran it by my parents, however, they were able to make me snap out of it and realize that just because my friends were applying there, that didn’t mean that I should. Having someone outside of school and your circle of similarly aged friends give advice can be really helpful.
As for my actual application, I’ve been avoiding my responsibilities a little bit as I try to get settled into school again. My Lit teacher is assigning the Common App essay as homework, so I have to do it to maintain my grades in school, but as for the supplements and everything, I still have a big ways to go. I’m having more difficulty than I’d originally imagined getting settled back into the routine of school this year, probably because my motivation levels are at an all time low right now. Hopefully, that’s about to take a drastic change.
Now, for an update on what’s going on with me! I started school early, just about a week ago, and I’m already starting to feel the immense pressure of senior year – I had to give a presentation first block on my first day! Not only that, but having to say “I’m a senior this year” to others and having them look at me with a mixture of admiration, fear, and sympathy was definitely not a plus. I’ve already had my last first day of school, and during opening assemblies, we got the infamous Senioritis talk from the principal. I don’t know how much more real it gets than that. Although my classes this year are actually pretty interesting, and the teachers I have seem good, the workload with this combination of classes is definitely not great. The stress of trying to balance the full workload of Senior year with college applications lurks in my immediate future, completely inescapable. I’ll have more on how I’m trying to do that in my next post! So until then, readers.
Want to get in touch with Katherine? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, and she’ll write you back ASAP!