Applying to college is a process that weighs heavy on the shoulders of high school students everywhere in the United States. It seems agonizing, tedious, boring, and at times, quite honestly, unfair
Why should young adults that are 17 or 18 be forced to make such a major life decision at a time in their life that so many other things are going on? Although I do not have the answer to this and many other questions surrounding college, I can provide insight to students and parents who are going through the college application process. Choosing the right college is a decision that should be thought about carefully and thoroughly.
I am currently going through the application process and know exactly how difficult it is to stay ahead of the game. There are college tours, applications, and essays to worry about on top of high school, athletics, work, and maintaining a personal life. It’s a lot to handle, but the best way to get started is to just dive in somewhere. Whether it be scheduling a tour, scanning college websites, or writing a college essay, just getting started is vital.
Personally, I began searching the web for colleges of interest and then toured a few different kinds (city & country schools) the spring/summer before my senior year. I chose the few that I liked the most, and then starting plugging away at the Common App. Choosing the college that is right for you is the hardest part of the process. It is important that it is clear to the student and parent what the applicant wants, i, e. location (city, country), what they are interested in studying (majors), how big they want a school, and what they want their social life to be like (party scene). With all these things considered, it is not hard to find a college that suits you. Just put plenty of personal, meaningful thought into it.
Although college websites and other student service websites are great, the best resource for high school college applicants is other students who have gone through it. Here are some college students’ advise on their experiences applying to college.
Dori: Dori is a sophomore at the University of New Hampshire and is an Admissions Representative:
“The most helpful thing that I did when applying to college was probably visiting the college itself. It helped me see the campus and the the people; and it gave me the opportunity to see myself there. I could look at the students and see if they were anything like me or not. When visiting the colleges I could also think about my level of security that I felt on the campus as well as the livelihood of the campus – two important things that I was looking for in a school.”
Davis: Davis is a freshman at Northeastern University and is studying political science:
“The most helpful thing I did when applying to college was getting it all done early. Essays, applications, recommendation requests; I made sure to finish them all well in advance of any deadlines I had. This not only ensured that I got everything done on time, it guaranteed me a time of no stress while many of my classmates were panicking about what schools required what for applications. It made me a much more pleasant person to be around than if I had been freaking out for a month straight before all of the deadlines. Getting everything done early was the most important aspect to me completing the college application process. It completely changed the game for me personally.”
Phoebe : Phoebe is a freshman studying Business Management at Emmanuel College:
“The most helpful thing I did while applying to college was starting early. I made lots of lists and kept myself as organized as possible to make sure I was on track for all of my deadlines. I communicated regularly with my guidance counselor and the teachers writing my recommendations to make sure everything was on track, also. I applied early to every school as well. This helped me form a back up plan. When I wasn’t accepted to my top school I had time to apply to more. Staying organized is absolutely the most important part when applying to schools.”
Although yes, applying to college is a stressful time in a teen’s life, getting through it can be easy if you are prepared. Just take a breath, identify what you want, and make it happen.