5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Applying To College

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Applying To College

The curses of the process that lead to unimaginable outcomes

At this time last year, I was in the midst of creating a list of colleges to apply to. I had schools from all over New England. I did not really know what I wanted; therefore, my list included city schools, small private schools, large state universities, schools an hour away, and even a school in Spain. It felt awesome to finally be done with applications and know where I will be come August. The other day, one of my friends who is a year younger than me asked for some advice about senior year and the application process. This lead me to develop a list of facts I wish someone told me about the process of applying before I began.

1. It costs money.

Going into the application process in September, I did not realize that there would be application fees. Depending on how many schools you apply to, it can get costly. Many state schools charge more on application fees than private colleges because more people apply to them. I believe the most I paid for an application fee was $75 and that was for my University of Massachusetts Amherst application. You will get some application fee waivers from campus visits and emails, but the majority of your applications will have a hefty fee that goes along with it. On top of that, it costs money to send your SAT scores to all your colleges. To send your SAT scores it costs approximately $11.25 per score report. I ended up applying to nine colleges, seven private colleges and two state universities. Between the application fees and the cost to send two sets of scores to each college, I was shocked at how expensive it was.

2. You will write more than one college essay.

I wrote a partial first draft of my college essay during the summer prior to my senior year of high school because I wanted to get it over with. I started it then and probably did not look at it until late September. When I finally got back to it, I hated it and restarted with a new prompt. I must have read and edited that essay a million times and I had some of my friends edit it for me, as well. My Common Application essay took me two attempts and two different prompts to generate a paper that I was proud of. It did not stop there.

Two of my schools were not on the Common App and one of them was abroad, meaning there was an entirely different process. This meant one thing: more essays. Also, if you decide to apply for honors programs, you will be shocked to find out that it requires two to three more essays per school. I wrote in total 11 essays and six of them were for schools I did not end up attending.

3. Your first choice school during the application process may not be the one you attend.

In October of my senior year, I went to every possible open house I could. I toured schools in the center of the city, schools on the coast, and even schools up in the mountains of Vermont. I got a feel for every option and had my heart set on two possible schools. One was in Vermont, and it was the typical, small, New England campus. It had been my number one choice since my junior year. I ended up eliminating it because I realized when I was driving up there that it was a little too far away for me. My overall number one was perfect. It had a similar campus feel and it was only an hour away from home. I loved every aspect of it, except for the price. Even though I loved the school, it was not a viable option unless I wanted to be paying off loans until I was elderly.

I ended up choosing a school that was not originally on my list. I applied last minute in the parking lot of my brother’s high school and toured it in January. I fell in love with it. At the time, I had problems eliminating my number one choice, but I am so excited to be going to the school I chose next year. It is not too far, it is affordable, and it has the small, close-knit community that I was looking for. Your list will change as you look at more schools, but you also need be flexible when it comes to big aspects like price and location.

4. The applications themselves aren’t stressful; the waiting is.

It was not just the waiting for acceptance letters that stressed me out, but also waiting for my teachers to submit my letters of recommendation. Once you finish your application, the rest of the process is out of your hands. It is up to your guidance office to mail out transcripts, it is up to your teachers to send out letters of recommendation, and it is up to the College Board to mail test scores. That part is beyond stressful because you have zero control. You can harass your teachers to turn those letters in, but I would not because they are taking their time to write it for you. I took the October SAT and was applying all early action. The scores would be out in time, but the actual sending was delayed. Luckily, all my admissions counselors were lenient on that because everyone was in the same boat. Once every document is submitted, there is a sense of relief. Then you check the mailbox everyday until your letter comes. It does not matter what the letter says, you just need to know.

5. No feeling compares to when you finally choose your school!

It may not have been your first choice when you began the college process back in junior year, but it is now. You have made it. This will be your new home for the next four years. As soon as you make that decision, your first instinct is to post it on Facebook and then you will most certainly be wearing your school’s apparel to school the following day. Then comes the early dorm shopping. The excitement reaches its boiling point when you finally graduate from high school. You are leaving a school that has been your home for the past four years, and now you are heading off to a brand new one. You are confident that you made the right choice, and college orientation confirms it. Every time you visit campus for an accepted students day or orientation, you fall in love with your new school all over again.

Good luck to the class of 2017 and try to enjoy the process!

Cover Image Credit: Maplewood Library

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.


To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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5 Tips For Incoming College Freshman

Remember when everyone told you that high school was going to be the best four years of your life.. and then it wasn't? Well now for some of you, comes the BEST and WORST four years of your life. Here's a little bit you need to know in order to be prepared for the eventful year to come.


Yes, believe it or not your parents, friends, and teachers were right. College is SO much different than high school in so many different ways. Luckily, I just survived my freshman year so I was in your place literally a year ago today. Everyone tells you how different college is from high school but they don't tell you how and that's what I'm here for! Lets just start with the 1st difference....

1. A whole new world

You will feel like your in a new world because in a way you are. You will suddenly be surrounded by so many groups of people, new cultures, different lifestyles, different languages, everything is so NEW. Not only are you not going to class with the same people everyday that you have seen in the hall for years but you are going to classes with complete strangers from all over the states and sometimes even the world. You are suddenly going to have to share a room with a stranger or even a best friend which can also lead to some issues. But what is most important to know is that even though you feel alone the first few weeks or even months... trust me so does everyone else, its okay to feel overwhelmed its normal. We all have absolutely no idea what we are doing we are all just pretending like we have somewhat of a plan. I met most of my friends my freshman year through being completely LOST on campus.

2. Making new friends

One thing that you aren't taught how to do in high school or honestly by anyone is how to make friends. I knew most people in my classes throughout high school so when I started college I hardly knew anyone besides my roommate. It definitely took me a while to branch out and start making friends but I had to remind myself to put myself out there and eventually I met some wonderful humans. Remember to always be yourself and you will attract people that WANT to be your friend. It takes time but once again, you are not alone. It will look like people already have their group and stuff but everyone is struggling just as much as you most likely.

3. Responsibilities 

The new responsibilities you will have... get prepared, they will hit you like a truck or at least they did me. You will suddenly be responsible for cleaning your room, doing your laundry, feeding yourself, doing your homework, remembering specific dates, paying bills, honestly the list becomes never ending because you are slowly becoming an adult :(((( I remember a time when I wanted to be an adult, now all i want to do is be in kindergarten taking a nap LOL, Luckily I already was familiar with most of these things as were others im sure but there are also people that haven't had to do some of the things by them selves before which can be overwhelming at times. You will eventually fall into your own personal routine and get your own system going and things will become second nature. Don't be afraid of this, just be prepared in order to have the most stress free incoming year.

4. Academics...

The real reason we are in college in the first place. Yeah, here is where your parents and teachers were right... high school courses and college courses can be either very similar or very different. It honestly depends on what the course is and who your professor is but, for the most part, college courses and professors are much different. Professors do not like to repeat themselves and expect you to remember any important dates they mention. They expect you to write it down, no excuses. In high school you teachers would give you a break but that's not really how college works. Some professors may cut you some slack but most wont. Do NOT waste a professors time and remember that even though you are paying to go to school there, you can get kicked out in a heart beat so don't risk it. Refrain from talking in class, and show up!!! you can miss one thing and the next thing you know you have a 5 page paper due in a few days. Save yourself the stress and just pay attention for the whole 50 minute or hour and a half class you have.

5. Packing 

PACK LIGHTLY!!! I packed so much unnecessary clothes, decorations, etc, that I ended up not needing or never even using. Safe as much space as you can because your dorm room will definitely get cluttered fast and you will accumulate more things throughout the year. So, pack the clothes and decor you NEED. Try your best to not over pack (as hard as it is (; )

6. Homesickness

No one:

Every college student ever: "Ugh I can't wait to go to college I hate living here!"

You know we've all said it but you will most likely get homesick at some point. My house is not far from the College at all and even I still was homesick sometimes. Its one of those things that everyone goes through so remember you are not alone. Luckily, we live in the 21st century too so you can always video chat your fam and send them some love. Its okay to be homesick just try to get more involved and do things you would do if you were at your own house. I always try to bring a few things from home too just to look at and remind myself that I will see my family soon.

Freshman year was difficult for me to adjust to as im sure it was to others, so hopefully you keep these tips in mind this summer as you prepare for your first year of college! I am excited for you all to start this next chapter, welcome to the beginning of adulthood class of 2023!


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