Applying for college is very time-consuming, but it is very rewarding. For some seniors, it seems like it came out of nowhere, while others have been preparing for it since they started high school. Whether you are one or the other, it is important for you to learn some ways to go about this process so it doesn’t become stressful for you.
The first step is choosing a college to apply to. Students must keep in mind the path they want to take in life while also staying realistic. It is always best to stay connected with your guidance counselor during this process, that way you can receive hands-on, personalized help. Victoria Gentile, sophomore at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and EHHS alumni, says, “Apply to a few schools that you’re passionate about and one or two fallback schools. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself about getting into a certain school, because whatever is meant to will happen!”.
The process of applications are quite lengthy because there is a lot of necessary information colleges require. However, they aren’t as difficult for students as they make it out to be because you can fill out different sections at different times. This is good because they can do one section everyday to avoid stressing over it. Putting yourself on a schedule like this is the most ideal option other than doing it all at once. Jeremy Demetrio, an EHHS senior says, “Apply to many colleges, and even if you do it on the deadline it still could be late. Make sure you do everything way before the deadline.” He knows how important deadlines are since in his experience he had to scramble last minute, but he pulled through, and he made it. He will be going to the University of New Haven in the upcoming fall.
When you begin to think about teachers to write a recommendation letter for you, you need to pick a teacher who knows you well. Christine Bauer, an EHHS English teacher says, “Choose a teacher who knows you well. Not a teacher that you did the best in, more of a teacher who knows you as a human being.” It is also important for students to ask as early as they possibly can. Within the first few weeks of senior year, most teachers already have ten or more students to write for, so you have to be considerate of them and work with them. Give them your brag sheets and transcripts as soon as possible and don’t forget to write thank-you notes afterwards. Ms. Bauer says, “Have all your materials ready to go by November. And get into a pattern of sending thank you notes when they do that for you. Be ready with a brag sheet, a transcript and more so they can write a letter that speaks about who you are.”
When writing a personal essay, one must remember that it isn’t like any other essay for your English class. It is a personal story that one must tell to show the colleges you apply to who you are as a person. Ms. Bauer says, “Be yourself when writing essays and give insight into who you are as a human being. It is a depiction of who you are, like a handshake. Whatever it is that you hold in your head and your heart is what you need to write about.” It is important to know that all English teachers are willing to help you with your essays, and they have materials and other papers to help you with it if you need any help.
Some colleges don’t require your SAT scores, but most do. This is why it is important to retake the SATs as many times as you can in order to get your best score. You can read more in-depth about the importance of the SATs in my article here.
Overall, I would say it is important to be patient with yourself during applications. It is always better to take some well spent time thinking carefully and critically of your options. Nobody wants to be stressed out filling out forms during the last week of acceptance, so be sure to start early and to be honest with yourself. Good luck!