So you’re finally a senior and you don’t know where to start. You’ve probably started by watching YouTube videos on how to apply to college or researching where to start your application journey. This entire process can be overwhelming, so the first step is to take a deep breath and relax. Then whenever you’re ready, take the first step. Some things to remember: don’t let college emails trick you into applying (unless you like the school); apply to a school for yourself, not for someone else; don’t base your progression on others, go at your own pace. Take everything I say with a grain of salt. I’m as new to this as you, and everything that worked for me might not work for you.
1. Make a College List
Making a college list sets everything else into place. This part takes the most time because it involves you looking deeply into the school and the major(s) you’re interested in. It helps you figure out how many essays you need to write and the money you need for the applications. I made a list on Google sheets and color-coordinated it into: I really want, I want, I kind of want, and state schools. Find out what schools are your match/target, safety, and reach. I also put the deadlines for the schools and whether or not I’m applying on the common app. Make sure the list is separated into these categories so that your application process is smoother.
2. Create a schedule
I used Google calendar to set aside certain days for different college application tasks. Set your tasks for the times during the day you’re more productive, so either work in the morning or at night. Section days off for certain parts of the application like essay questions, supplementals, or basic questions. Or you can create days to just focus on a certain college’s application. You can create time slots for researching/applying to scholarships. Make sure the schedule fits your needs so you don’t stress yourself out.
3. Work on your personal statements
Writing the personal statement is by far the hardest part of your application. You have to show who you are on paper in 650 words or less. I had to listen to other students' example essays and strategies to understand how to write my essay. Watching students' YouTube videos on their essays helped me understand that a simple story or everyday occurrence that meant something to you can show a college who you are. Go on YouTube and search “reading the essays that got me into….” You’ll find that the essays that show who you are in a simple and not over-the-top way… work. This process is mostly about getting to know yourself and figuring out what makes you who you are.
The process for applying to college is already proving to be a hard task, but I know we can get through it. Make sure to research schools that have the major(s) you’re interested in and are located in a place where you can see yourself for the next four years. The decisions you make in the next few months will be very important, but don’t let them affect your whole life. Make the choice that’s best for you, and go through this process at your own pace.
Good luck class of 2022!
Good luck class of 2022!