The college application process can be daunting, but fortunately, there are many things you can do to help the process go a little bit more smoothly. Here are seven things I wish I knew about college applications before starting them. 

 

  1. Start your personal statement as soon as possible because each application will take a lot of time. I got my personal statement done as soon as I could, which really lifted weight off of my shoulders especially because it is involved in every single college application. 
  2. Do not stress about your college list and keeping it perfect. You will be changing it well into the first semester of your senior year. Just make sure to tell your counselors and teachers who are writing letters of recommendation by continuing to update your Naviance list! Also, make sure you have a list of colleges you love. Rejection is a part of the process and having a list of schools you love will make it less stressful.
  3. Try not to get attached to a college. Having a dream college is fine, but once you get attached, it could take over your life. I got attached to a college, and the only thing I ever think about now is what my decision is going to be. Make sure to have a strong list of schools you are excited about, so even if you do not get into your dream school, you will have a few other colleges that you would be happy attending. Also, do not be afraid to pick some good safety schools. Remind yourself that your safeties are cool so you do not keep obsessing over your reach. Having a good safety you like will provide reassurance that you will end up in a win-win situation. 
  4. Your teachers are there for you, so if you ever feel overwhelmed, you can always ask them for help, or even an extension on an assignment. They are more understanding than you think and want to make sure you are alright through the process. 
  5. You are going to have a couple of times when you are in panic mode and everything will be okay! I have had my share of panic modes, and every time I have talked it out with my parents or counselor, I realize that the panic is useless. As long as you are on track to finish your essays, there is never any reason for you to panic. That being said, make sure you have a good support system that is there for you when you need someone to calm your nerves. Remember that you will do your best work when you are calm and collected. 
  6. You may submit an application with a mistake, you might add the wrong standardized test, or even add a class wrong in the academic section. Just email the admissions officer for this area and let them know your mistake as soon as possible. They will like that you are proactive about it. If you find a typo, calling attention to the mistake is not the best idea. Email the school and your admissions decision usually will not be affected (they are understanding). Most of the time, it is a quick fix and everything will turn out fine. I made a pretty big mistake on my application, where I indicated that the courses I was taking online were college courses but they actually were not. Once I contacted the admissions officer for this area, it ended up being a simple fix. A few weeks later, I got into the same school I sent a mistake for. 
  7. Spend as much time as you can with your friends. They will help you get through the process. You will not give any of the schools that rejected you another thought, but you will remember the bonds you make with your friends for a long time. Spend as much time as you can with them before you all go off to different places.  

 

Triana Devaux

Triana Devaux is a junior and second-year journalist with the Chronicle.

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