To My Juniors Applying To College

To My Juniors Applying To College

A little help from others can be a great blessing.

It's that time of year again. In the past few weeks, I've started to receive an increasing number of questions about university applications. My precious about-to-be seniors have all grown up and are now asking me for essay edits, my college application experience and ways to organize their arrays of awards in the CommonApp. But there's only so much wishy-washy advice I can give before feeling pressured to come out with the unflattering truth: I honestly had no idea what I was doing.

(Actual picture of me trying to impress the admissions committee.)

I had a lot of my classmates applying to the same schools I was, each of them more qualified than the next to get in. This was a huge blow to my confidence. The result of this was a lot of worried staring at the CommonApp awards page where I had left most of the fields blank while my friends debated which 10 out of their 1 million awards to send in. I also didn't have any research experience, well-earned national titles or fantastic essay writing skills. Really, all I had was a mousy art portfolio and myself.

If you're in a similar boat, I'm here to help. Here is my attempt at advice on how to make college application season not so terrible a time.

1. Really look in a mirror

College applications were some nirvanic journey of self-discovery for me. Because I didn't have many awards and titles to back me up, I really had to spend a lot of time looking for the qualities within myself that I wanted to present in an application. After a few long weeks of brainstorming, I made sure to write as candidly as I could with an earnest emphasis on things I was working on accomplishing instead of what I had already done.

2. Don't just apply to Harvard

Don't get me wrong, you can just apply to Harvard–it's a great school. What I mean is don't just apply because it's a great school. What's more important than going to a good institution is going to an institution that suits you. Perhaps one school you're considering is ranked higher for the field you want to pursue, but it's focused heavily on sending students to graduate school. If you're looking for work opportunities, maybe a career-oriented program will suit you better. (I'm looking at all of you deciding between U of T and Waterloo.) The school's social scene, extracurricular life and surroundings should also factor in to your decision. Before you decide to apply to a school, you should have a good understanding of why you want to study there.

3. Exercise, eat and sleep

You'll have IA results coming your way, your last chances at any SAT tests you still want to write and a sudden increase in the English commentaries you have to fumble your way through. You'll also start to feel not too great about putting off that Extended Essay. When all seems lost, it's important to remember to exercise, eat and sleep regularly. Is an extra 2 percent on a assignment that's not weighted anything in the scope of IB exams really worth feeling like crap for the next few days? The answer should be no. Stay hydrated and well-rested, and the whole application process will go by a whole lot smoother.

And never forget that you have a network of friends to reach out to if you need any help. In the words of Uncle Iroh, "While it is always best to believe in oneself, a little help from others can be a great blessing."

Good luck, kiddos, and may the force be ever with you.

Cover Image Credit:

Popular Right Now

30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.

Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

To My Little Sister, Don't Wish For Time To Move Faster, Soak Up The Stage Of Life You're In

Live in the moment and you will come out having no regrets.


To my best friend,

Time goes by quickly, do not wish it away. Enjoy living in the moment you are in right now because you will never get it back. Stop wishing you were in college already because you have so much to live for right now.

I know all you want to do is get away from home and start over, which is normal because I wanted to do the same thing at your age. But as your older sister, and as someone who has gone through that stage already, I am here to tell you that it is not all rainbows and sunshine 24/7.

With the time you have left in high school, enjoy every second of it because eventually, you will come to miss it.

Graduation is just around the corner for you and it honestly freaks me out how fast time is going. And it only goes faster in college. As kids, all we wanted was to be in high school and be able to drive on our own and once we hit high school, all we want is to be in college. With almost being in college for two years, I can easily say that all I want is to be a kid again. We have been wishing our whole lives away since we can remember. Enjoy today.

I see so much potential in you and I am beyond excited for what the future has in store for you.

Many times, you have been the one to give me advice even though I'm the older sister and this shows how caring and loving you are. Life is going to treat you so well and it already has.

There is one piece of advice I must give to you though. Make sure to thank mom and dad and tell them you love them as often as possible. I know they can get on your nerves and may make you angry at times, but they have given us the best life. You will learn in college just how much they love us and how much they have given up just to make us happy.

You have a good head on your shoulders and I know life is going to turn out to be exactly what you wanted. Just don't wish it all away. Some of my favorite times were when I was a senior in high school.

I'm always looking out for you so don't ever think you are alone in this crazy world. Remember, I am just one phone call away.

I love you so much sis, you got this.

Related Content

Facebook Comments