Tips help students navigate college application process

Jenna Osier

By May of my junior year I was ready to take on the college admissions process. I was done with standardized testing and was excited to start filling out applications and looking at schools. Let’s just say that seven months later when I submitted my last application, I never wanted to open the Common App again.

Although after those seven months the stress of the application process didn’t leave me like I had hoped. From the time I started studying for the ACT to when I clicked the accept button of my chosen college, the stress of my college decision hung on my shoulders like a heavy backpack.

There is no denying that the application process is hard, stressful and time consuming. For me the fall felt as if it would never end. I was playing a varsity sport, writing copy and editing the News section for The Jolly Roger, keeping up my grades, doing homework, refining my essays, and finishing my applications while trying to make time for sleep and hanging out with friends. 

Schools are such an entrenched system it’s so hard to change. If anyone would be able to it, we would be able to,” English teacher Mary Kitchens said.”

— Mary Kitchens

Although in the fall when I was drowning in the process I was thanking myself that I had started my essays and had done research during the summer. If someone were to come up to me now and ask what tips I have for them to help their application process, these are my tips:

The best thing that I did over the summer was narrow down my list of schools early and begin looking over the essay prompts and extra supplemental essays. This saved me time in the fall when I was too busy with school and sports to think about what I wanted to write.

Another thing that I found helpful during my application process was that I knew what I wanted my major to be. I realize that this is not realistic for everyone, and it doesn’t matter if you go in undecided or with a planned major. For me it helped narrow down my list when it came down on deciding where I wanted to go.

Something that I had a hard time wrapping my head around in the beginning of my process was that I kept hearing people say that “you have to find the college that is the right fit for you,” but in reality there is no one perfect college. I was looking for a school that had everything I wanted. I realized that my “perfect college” was the college that I felt the most comfortable at and the one that when I walked on campus it felt right to be there.

During the process you will find yourself surrounded by other people’s opinions and views on your college, GPA, what schools you did or didn’t get into, your test scores, and your final decision. You are the one making the decisions about your future. It doesn’t matter how people feel about the school you choose to attend.

Also if you really want to go to a certain school but you hear people around you trash talking it or saying that their school is better, screw them. Who cares what other people think. Deep down they are just jealous about how excited you are for your future and the school you chose to attend.
To be honest I did find myself wrapped up in every else’s opinions about the schools I was applying to but once I realized that it didn’t matter what they thought, I became even more excited for my future