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What I Learned About the College Application Process

Updated on June 2, 2017

I didn’t understand the amount of work I was about to get myself into when I began the college journey. The ACT was enough work, with countless hours of studying and preparing. For the record, don’t overdo it on amount of times you take the ACT/SAT. I took it three times. I was so satisfied and surprised with my first score, but I still thought that if I could do so well on the first try then I could surely do even better on the next one! Wrong. My score went down. And then the third time I took it, I went up from my previous test, but it was still lower than my first test. With that being said, I was still very pleased and impressed with my ACT score.

The college admissions process is rough. Now, I know people who applied to one school, got accepted, accepted the offer of admission, and bam. Easy. Now for other people, like me, it wasn’t so easy. I applied to nine schools. That is a lot. Now, I’m sure some of you are like “I’m still applying to 13 because why not?” Let me put this into perspective: I wrote between 30 and 40 essays for my colleges. That’s insane. Top colleges these days have long and numerous college essay requirements. On top of that, if you are planning on applying to a specialized program like I did, for example film school, the arts, business school, etc. that’s even more essays or other special requirements!

Also, most schools charge a high cost to apply to their school. I spent over $1,500 just on application fees. Save some money and only apply to the schools you really want to attend.

I wish I applied to five schools: two safety schools, a fit school, a fit/reach school, and a reach school. That would have been plenty. Instead, I applied to four safety schools, two fit schools, and three reach schools. I was accepted to many of them, but I already knew that two of my four safety schools and one of my reach schools I would not attend despite being offered admission with a generous merit scholarship package to all my safety schools.

That is a waste of my time, the school’s time, and my money.

If you have schools on your list that you know you will refuse to attend even if accepted, please don’t apply to them in the first place.

If you know the website “College Confidential,” forget it. It is addicting and it is false sometimes and it will drive you crazy.

Also, time manage. Essays take a lot of time to brainstorm, write, and edit. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Don’t take too many extracurricular activities until all your essays are done. Get them out of the way as soon as possible while being able to submit an impressive application.

Good luck, all you seniors. You will end up where you are meant to be. I didn’t get in to my original dream school, but I am going to attend my new dream school and it is perfect for me. Don’t close your mind off to other options, and keep your head up and move on if a decision doesn’t go your way. You will be happy no matter what happens.

How many schools did you apply to?

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