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!