Most people are completely done with their college admissions and are anxiously awaiting their results. They deserve tons of appreciation and cookies. I would look to the seniors in my school this year and I think, "Man, I wish they would calm down, they're freaking me out when I have two years left; I don't even get time to miss them!" College applications can be stressful, but they are extremely important, as a college degree is necessary for a decent paying job. Let's take some time to reflect and vent on the worst parts I've seen and you've experienced, I'll join the party soon enough.
1. Searching For Colleges
Small, medium and big class sizes, city, suburban and rural settings, so many choices, so little time. Sometimes you'll find tons of schools that seem like good choices and you'll have a hard time narrowing down your list. Sometimes that list doesn't stay consistent. Others will have an extremely strict list, and others will have absolutely no idea which school to pick. Choices are difficult, and choosing your colleges is just as important, if not more important than the choice the admission officer makes.
2. Learning The Terms
When first learning about the college admissions process, it all seems like a new language. Early, restrictive and regular action or decision — the several application platforms and their format and the paperwork. It all seems like a huge headache to get it all together, but luckily, there are guides and dictionaries for all of the terminology. Still, it takes a lot of time to even wrap your head around some of the concepts, but in due time, they will make sense.
3. Money, Money, Money
Seriously. Unless you have fee waivers for everything, which even then still takes up a lot of time. You have to pay for your applications, your SAT's, ACT's, SAT Subject Tests, portfolio submissions, AP exams and CSS profiles. Oh, and the tests also need extra fees for each school you need to send scores to. This means that for those without waivers, the college application process, when applying to about seven to 10 schools, can cost you up to a thousand dollars. Ouch.
We love you, most of the time, but they can be very restrictive when it comes to the college admissions process. Some parents want their children to stay close or to reach for the dream schools, but this can put on extra pressure that the child does not need. Other times, they'll disagree with your major of choice, which is not a fun time for anyone. It's definitely fine to consider your parent's wallet, but don't throw out what you want for your future for what they want.
5. Time No One Has
If the college or university I'm applying to wants a good application, I'm going to need some time to work out some good essays. Problem is, I've got things to do after school, and then, I have homework. Oh, and then there are the other scholarships I have to fill out to pay for the college I'm applying to. I've had some of my friends actually give up submitting scholarships because their applications needed more attention.
6. School Selectivity's Effects
There is never something scarier to seniors than a college with an acceptance rate lower than 25 percent. Never can anything kill self-confidence in your application quite like that. The top schools with acceptance rates lower than ten percent will straight up cause high blood pressure, I'm sure. It hurts to see the people you admire the most in school just freak out and doubt their abilities. After all, if they don't get accepted why would you, which in turn just causes even more stress on their poor unfortunate souls.
7. Meeting High Scores
Scores aren't everything, admissions officers will say not to worry too much about your scores in comparison to the rest of your application. This is true, but it doesn't stop applicants from worrying and going to check application data on the average or highest SAT or ACT scores for a college. GPA is also in the same category, but if you take hard enough classes, it can more than compensate for what you believe is a lackluster GPA.
8. Paying For College
Most of us are trying not to get into debt, OK? Financial aid is extremely important, and applying to scholarships, grants and services like FAFSA is stressful. Other people have issues finding scholarships. As previously mentioned, some scholarships take up time that you may need for your college application. Thinking about money means thinking about responsibility, and no one's really ready for the heat yet, unless you pay all of your bills.
9. Fear Of Rejection
This is completely normal and it occurs often, but please don't ever let this deter you from applying to the school you really want to go to. I hate that mindset a lot, it makes sense to fear rejection, but what have you got to lose? If you need a good reason to not to apply to a school, let it be because you don't like the school. That seven percent acceptance rate does not stand a chance against you, you shall not fear it!
10. Feeling Inadequate
Much like the fear of rejection, this happens often, and as I've mentioned earlier, too often. It's one of the worst things I've seen come out of the college admissions process, and I can't say I won't fall into that trap either. It's a really comfortable trap. Websites about college admissions can be really helpful or provide points of comparison between the students posting and the students reading which can be toxic. The term "chancing" literally made some of my friends cringe; I couldn't tell whether it was out of fear or anger. No one should feel inadequate when they've poured hundreds of hours into their schools and education.
11. Being Yourself
Those essays take such a long time because most of us have trouble describing ourselves. How can I describe myself with the word limit? A human is very complex, and showing all those sides of yourself takes self-reflection to do it effectively. Self-reflection takes time and effort, and some students don't have the time to sit and think about why they really participate in those extra curricular activities or spend that much time doing homework. Your motivation is one of the most important parts of yourself to demonstrate on your application, and with good reason, how else will you motivate yourself to stay awake during lectures or all-nighters in college?
Let's all take some deep breaths and try not to rush the wait for college decisions. They don't need to come right now; they will come eventually. And when they do, remember that it does not define who you are or the worth of what you have done. Whether you get into that really selective school or not, it's still up to you to make the most of your college experience. If you didn't apply to a selective school, still feel proud of yourself, because you are furthering your education and no one can take that away from you. Get yourself a treat, you guys deserve it.