Things I Wish People Told Me About Applying to College (Q&A + Video)

Things I Wish People Told Me About Applying to College (Q&A + Video)

This time shouldn't be as emotionally and mentally draining as it is for most people.

I believe that the college application process is a time period that should not be as emotionally and mentally draining as it is for many people. In all honesty, when I wasn’t worrying about the smallest detail on every part of my applications, I had a genuinely fun time with the application process and I loved being able to write about things that mattered to me.

I reached out on social media for people to send me all the questions they had about the college process and was overwhelmed with how many questions people had and how stressed they were going into the application process. I’ve picked four of the ~80 questions I received to answer in this article, and I narrowed down the rest to answer in a more lengthy video, which I’ve linked at the end of this article.

These questions are also ones that have definitely crossed my mind at one point during my senior year, and I hope that the things I learned through my experience can help others as well. So let’s get started!

How much time should I spend on each application? How did you allocate your time?

Honestly, it’s all about priorities. I applied to 15 schools so I had to dedicate a large chunk of time to my applications, which was doable, but the difficult part was deciding how much time I wanted to dedicate to each application.

Every other weekday, I would allocate 30-60 minutes to just sit down and write some essays, and then I would work for at least an hour on Sunday. I would never force myself to write anything; I only wrote when I was feeling inspired.

I tried to start every application at least a month and a half in advance and finished a working draft of the application by a month before the deadline. I strongly recommend leaving a few weeks for revisions because sometimes, you need to just let things sit before you start working on them again. I tried to play it as safe as possible, and I don’t regret it one bit; I never had to go through the frantic last-minute submitting situation and I prevented a lot of stress.

What topics are good to write about in my personal statement and will help me stand out?

I feel like there’s always a debate about what topics are “good” topics for the personal statement, and I will always tell people the same thing: write about what you think is important to you and what you think will show colleges what kind of person you are.

The main purpose of a personal statement is to show your growth and development and show how you’ll continue to grow. Your personal statement is supposed to highlight your strengths and development through personal experiences, so I believe it’s more important to be genuine than to spend time worrying about whether or not your topic is “cliche” or “generic.”

I feel like there’s a common misconception about the personal statement and that it’s always about overcoming adversity. There are multiple prompts and you’re free to write about whatever topic you want, as long as it shows some sort of growth and highlights a part of your life. Although I chose to write about overcoming adversity, a lot of my friends wrote about an intellectual discovery that they made that helped change their outlook on life or helped spark a growth in thought.

Going back to talking about only writing when I felt inspired, I strived to put only genuine content with genuine emotion and passion into all my essays. Especially for my personal statement, I wanted to write about something that I held really close to my heart and I wanted it to be 100% me. So, I didn’t try to force anything and only wrote when I felt inspired, which resulted in many nights typing away at 3 am.

Does being below average for some stats/scores for a school put me at a big disadvantage?

The numbers are only one part of the application. Yes, it is a disadvantage, but there is so many more opportunities to make up for that one part of your application.

Instead of stressing out about your scores, put your all into your personal statement and your supplements and try to get the best recommendation letters you can. There is plenty of room to show college admissions that they should take you, so be confident! Make them want to take you, and let them know that you want to go there too.

I feel like the “ideal candidate” for a school is changing recently. It used to be the student with a 4.0 GPA, leadership, sports, extracurriculars, etc. but colleges aren’t looking for that perfect well-rounded student anymore. Colleges want to admit people who are going to be successful one day, and success is now defined by passion, motivation, and drive instead of raw intelligence like before.

How do I deal with college rejection?

In all honesty, there’s not much you can do besides facing it and moving on.

Yes, rejection hurts. But everyone experiences it. It’s important to be supportive of others around you and be sensitive during the time where people are getting decisions back because everyone is going to feel let down at least once.

What’s more important than where you go is what you make of the experience. You are lucky to have had the opportunity to apply to college, and you are even luckier if you have the opportunity to attend one. I know it sucks to not be able to go somewhere you really wanted to go, but there are so many opportunities ahead of you. Don’t let this one roadblock determine your future and the way you approach the next four years of your life.

However, if you really feel like you deserved an acceptance, you can appeal your decision. Make sure to check the school’s website on how to take the appropriate steps to appeal, but don’t get your hopes up too much.

In conclusion, don’t let this time be more stressful than it should be. Have fun with it! You don’t get the opportunity to show yourself off like this often, so work your hardest and things will work out in the end.

Here’s the video below!

Cover Image Credit: Christy Oh

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Five Main Reasons I Chose Communications

Because I know people will forever hound me about "fake news".

I did an article a few weeks ago about “questions my family would ask” and my answers to them. One of the questions was as follows:

What’s your major?

  • Communications. Yes, I know to not get involved with fake news. To be honest I will do my best not to write about politics at all in my field because I want to get involved with entertainment journalism and meet new people and write about stuff I actually enjoy hearing about twenty-four seven.

This answer got me to thinking more about the fact that people may have a stigma against those going into the communications field. I know I for one have seen many articles doing “majors as _______” and the communication ones are humorous and true, saying that the communications slogan would be “trying to convince people your degree is worth something.” Honestly, it’s the truth. I feel as though many may have a negative impression when I say I want to go into the communications field. I can not count how many times someone has said “fake news” to me in some way shape or form, and it may make people hesitant to admit this is their passion. So this articles for you, if you wonder why in the world someone would donate so much time into something like this.

Learning on the Job.

I for one always had a passion for learning. School? Not until recently, but learning was always something I enjoyed. With communications, there are endless opportunities to learn about places, events, and people. You learn so much about history and settings which you may not otherwise think you would find interesting. Yes, you can learn on your own time, but being paid to learn about things that you may not otherwise open your mind up to- and things you do find fascinating, as well- is, to me, the perfect environment because there is always something new to introduce.

Meeting People.

I can’t think of a more interactive job than one which involves heavy communications skills. Journalism or public relations are so heavily involved in other people’s lives that it makes my life seem less boring. I believe the perfect example of this would be the 1998 film by Todd Haynes, Velvet Goldmine, starring Christian Bale. It follows a journalist who gets to travel all over New York and meet people in attempt to piece together a piece of mysterious history. Ironically enough, that wa the film that really made me want to go into journalism. The interviewing process is more often than not, highly intimate. You learn details about people you may otherwise never have met before, or crossed the street and not thought twice. Heck, you might have even let a door shut on them, but in that moment you’re sitting across from them hearing their entire life story.


Probably the most glamorous part of the communications field is being able to travel and meet the people I mentioned above. It is no secret that some of the most well known publications are nowhere near my home state of Virginia, but that’s okay! I look forward to taking that risk and living in New York. In my eyes, and probably a few other students’ as well, moving is part of the job, and all too worth it when you could get the chance to meet someone truly extraordinary. Personally, if I were to carry on in communications, my section would focus on the entertainment industry (films and the like) and so conventions are a big part of publicity and press. Being able to go there under the title “press” interview some of the biggest stars in horror or other films, interviewing Oscar nominees? There’s no opportunity if you stay grounded in your roots. You have to move to find the story.


And communications isn’t just for talking! You get to get involved with campaigns and marketing as well. It opens doors to getting work scene, making posters and merchandise for artists, commercial advertising, films, and so forth. There’s a truly creative aspect that comes with communications whether it be posters, presentations, or merchandising. It’s a real art form you don’t appreciate until you sit through a lecture on fonts.

Having a Voice

Okay, this ones a little cliche, but one of my personal favorite aspects of communications- mass communications- is being able to have a voice, be it in front of a small group or a big audience. It allows you to test yourself, and see where you really stand on certain aspects (yes, we are taking the political bullet here). It also allows you to spread your message and persuade others to think critically about what they believe. I believe that communications gives a very heavy sense of empathy which some (most) may lack, the understanding of other people and their sides to some issues, big or small. Once the message is out, it’s the ultimate gateway to compromise.

I use to be incredibly introverted, and going into the communications field has helped me to create another version of myself entirely. It opens doors to figuring out what your morals and ethics are, a road of self discovery, if you will. Communications isn’t just “fake news” and politics, it’s an entire world of never ending education and facts and learning, and while it may not be as glamorous as a lawyer or doctor, it is just a fascinating to the right people.

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Let's Arm the Teachers

.....with what they really need

The news is swirling and people seem to be losing their minds over school shootings (as they should be). From conversations on mental health to intense arguments on gun control, the national dialogue on school shootings has once again reached a peak. Survivors are seeking action by politicians now more than ever - although many have been fighting for change for decades.

The newest, most creative, "ah-ha" idea in many localities around the country is to arm teachers and administrators with guns to protect students. Whether this idea seems genius or like the stupidest thing you've ever heard, I am not concerned. Put it in a Facebook post.

I want to talk about a different kind of armament for teachers and school district employees. What if the government armed schools with the supplies, salary, and training to protect their students in a way in which they were capable of the positive mental, physical, and emotional development to protect them from a plethora of disasters including suicide, bullying, poverty, and, yes, school shootings? What if all teachers, not just private school teachers, were given the resources to properly support their students? This could lead to a compounding of armament meaning that students would be provided with the 'arms' (support and skills) they need to protect themselves from poverty, mental and physical illness, violence, etc.

Picture this, a student is struggling in school academically and socially. A teacher being paid sufficiently, with enough free time due to small class sizes, with the motivation and drive through proper training by their administrators, and with the extra supplies to help his or her students practice and understand class material is equipped to support the student emotionally and academically. This student, with this careful attention from the teacher improves in school socially and academically to become a productive member of society with some self esteem as icing on the cake.

The student without these resources falls through the cracks. He or she remains behind in school, emotionally damaged, and vulnerable to failure. Failure comes in many forms whether it be not graduating, not getting a job, falling into poverty, getting into trouble with drugs and alcohol, not having friends, deteriorating mental health, etc. These things are as much of a threat to one's life as gun violence. Furthermore, these things can lead to gun violence.

I do not agree with those who want to arm teachers with guns in order to protect students, but I do believe, although to a different degree, that education and strong teachers have great amounts of power in protecting the world. I believe it is possible, through funding and stronger infrastructure, for education, specifically public education, to protect students from violence inside and outside of school buildings themselves.

Overall, the politics of gun violence in America is complicated and wrought with many strong and conflicting opinions. I believe the most recent solution, to arm teachers, is complicated and dangerous, but my point has nothing to due with this discussion. I believe, though, that teachers should be armed with resources much more effective in the long run than guns. I believe in the power of teachers to keep students safe.

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