For the last 10 months of one’s high school career, there comes a point where the teenager has to make a huge decision of whether or not to go to college. If indeed the teenager ends up picking college, the decision doesn’t stop there. The teenager would most likely dedicate about 3-4 months of their time writing essays, getting recommendations and filling out applications and the next 6-7 months waiting for the results and their work to pay off. With all this work, the teenager also has to have time to study for school, prepare for tests and get a good night sleep. All of this seemed like a daunting task for me. However, I have acquired some reasonable knowledge as I went through the college-decision making process. Some things to keep in mind are:
If you start acquiring applications early or late summer, this will minimize the time you spend during regular school days. It will also make you stress free in the end as all you have to do is wait for the college to make the decision. This will also make the stress on your parents a lot less. It will help them focus on their own work and they can also be relieved that you are independent and can handle the stress. However, when in need, don’t forget to ask your parents. In my case, my dad was a huge help for me in that he helped me read, write and edit my essays.
When applying for college, have a good basis of how many schools you want to apply to
Too many school can be a daunting task. As you will find, by asking many of your peers that some may only apply to two or three, while others like I, apply to 10-15. Just remember not to succumb to the pressure and feel that you have to do this many. Know your limits and see how many you can handle. Go with a number that you feel comfortable with. Also remember, if you pick too many, you will end writing separate essays for each of them.
(Continuing on with the last point) Split your colleges into categories
What I mean is that, if you have a wide range of colleges that you will be applying to, it would be easier to know what colleges you have a chance and what colleges you will have to impress to get in. In my case, I divided my colleges into Target, Reach and Safety school.
In simple terms, these schools should be the schools one has to aim for. For most students it would be the Stanford’s or MIT’s or for some it could be local colleges as well. These are the type of schools that you want to show them that what you have is an unique talent that no one else possesses. When you are trying to apply to these types of schools, be at your very best. Remember that these colleges are looking for individuals who shine at what they do, so if you are good at something, then tell them that.
Simply put, schools in which you know that there is very good chance of you getting in, though, some impressing will be needed. Try to make these schools your target. These should be schools where you know that you will fit into great and also have a good academic standing. Know however, even though, these are schools you know u will get into, colleges might not think you are good enough.
The word speaks for itself. These schools should be easy for you to get into. These should be schools where your merits and the things you have done already can get you into the college. Some consider these the fall-back schools. These schools are the ones that you would be okay about going to if you got in.
o Having a good mixture of these three types of schools will ensure you and benefit you into finding the right college in which you want to attend.
No school is worth denying
Do not be discouraged that some schools do not accept you. This was a huge shock for me as I went through high school getting into honors programs and clubs without them denying me. However, when it came to applying to college, my first rejection was a hard one. Don’t be surprised. There are other schools waiting to have you. Also, any and every college will accept you if try hard enough to get yourself there.
Have a mindset that you will get into every college you apply to
That is the only way you will be able to do this task of filling out applications and such. It will be a great motivation. The only way of knowing that you have a chance is having confidence that you will get in. For me personally, there were some colleges I thought I would never get into for engineering, such as Purdue University or University of Minnesota. However, my biggest motivation was knowing that I would have a chance.
Be conscious of where you are applying
Don’t apply to schools you are popular or have a great degree program in field that you are not interested in. Focus on colleges that you feel comfortable with and you want to go to. In my case, there was a lot of pressure from outsiders to where I should apply. One thing to remember, the moment you have someone telling you where to go and what major you should, the college experience will be ruined. Be independent, because for the next 80 years, you will be making these kinds of decisions on your own.
Lastly, just enjoy yourself
Truly, for me, it was really fun. As most of my friends were going off to college next year, we all were confident in what we wanted to do and had fun doing it. Remember, just have some fun. You will only have this opportunity only once. Although, this is arduous process, when it is all over, you will be relieved that you spent the time to get it done.