I have always liked the idea of do-overs. While extremely rare, they do occasionally occur. So when it happens, it is important to grab onto them for dear life because no one is ever lucky twice. While I have not had my do-over sort of moment yet, I think about situations in which I have majorly fucked up and play out different scenarios where I don't majorly fuck up my life. Kind of, useless, but it's always fun to wonder about "what could've been." This is typically the time of year when people either begin or are in the middle of their college application process. And let's just say, I went about applying to colleges is not the smartest way, to word things nicely.
Having been through the process once already, which is more than enough for a lifetime, here are several things I would do differently if the world was a twisted place and made me apply to college again.
1. Actually take time writing your essays, especially your Common App essay. After all, they're pretty important.
I write in a fairly unconventional way. Add that to my extreme procrastination tendencies which really took off during high school, and you get a girl who is writing her Common App essay the day before it is due. Now I am not completely crazy. I had all of my other mini-essays finished, but I could not commit to a theme or main idea for my Common App essay, which led me to frantically crying and typing basically all day. Not a pretty scene.
As per my particularly peculiar methods of writing, I usually do not plan anything. Usually, I can rely on my mind to just magically come up with something substantial. But apparently, the pressure of the Common App essay being the essay that can determine acceptance or rejection was a little too much for me to handle. Therefore, even though I am a big believer in not planning, I would definitely plan for this essay. Also, always lace a metaphor. Everyone likes a solid metaphor.
2. Apply to colleges of varying difficulty
By this, I mean apply to safe schools, target schools and reach schools. I am not sure why, especially since my dad tried to practice drill this into my brain, but I did not do this. I applied to schools that I knew I would get into and then just applied to reach schools, opting to completely ignore the target school category. I know, weird. But I think in order to give yourself the best option of possible schools to attend, applying to schools in all of these different zones is a really good idea.
3. Apply to all different types of schools
Even if you are someone who knows exactly what they want to do in the future, don't limit your college applications only to schools that have great programs for that particular major. Of course, apply to those, but also take a chance with other schools. For example, let's say you know you want to go into a STEM field, don't completely rule out schools that are known as liberal arts schools, or vice versa. You never know how the college of your dreams will actually end up being like in reality, so don't corner yourself. Given this, don't be the kind of person who applies to over 20 colleges. Because that is a real waste of money, and more importantly, no one wants to fill out that many applications.
4. Celebrate your acceptances and don't beat yourself over rejections
It is easy to feel bad about rejections. Putting it really bluntly, they suck. Just don't forget that there are a variety of reasons that could have resulted in a rejection. So don't take them too hard.
5. Choose the college you plan to attend based on how well that college fits you
I know people who chose to attend a college just because it is higher ranked or more well-known, not the college where they actually saw themselves. And as far as I am aware, they are not that happy with their choice. Do not judge a college simply based on superficial facts. Although those need to be taken into consideration, choose the college where you truly believe you will excel at, even if that may be a college that is lesser known or whatnot. Because it does not matter what others think about the college you attend. After all, you are the one who will have to spend your next four years there, not someone else.