As an incoming senior, I’m sure you have many fears and trepidations about this so called “college process.” Let me start out by telling you that this process is extremely random and seemingly unfair. It’s important to not take any decision personally, and to not try to make sense of any particular decision. Sometimes there’s no clear or rational answer.
Here are some tips to help put you in the best possible position to get through the college admissions process:
1) Start the common app in August.
Early Action deadlines are November 1st or November 15th. While they may seem far away, it’s good to get a jump-start on them, especially because you want your essays and supplements to be of high quality. It is especially important to spend time on them, especially if you plan to apply to a lot of schools.
2) Apply early to schools with rolling admission.
Rolling admission means that once you send in your application, the school will read it and send you a decision within a few weeks. Some schools with rolling admission include University of Pittsburgh, Indiana University, Michigan State, Quinnipiac, Rutgers, University of Minnesota and Penn State. If you are going to do this, make sure your transcript and recommendation letters are ready to be sent as well so your application can be complete.
3) Take advantage of Early Decision.
Many people say “don’t apply ED to a school unless you’re 100% sure about it.” While that has some merit, I don’t necessarily agree with that. If you like a school a lot and believe you would enjoy being a student there, you might want to submit an Early Decision application; if you’re admitted, you have to go there. Regular decision applications are higher in quantity, making it more difficult to gain acceptance at many schools. If you are 85 to 90% sure about a school, apply ED there because your chances of getting in will skyrocket.
4) Play it safe.
As much as you may dread it, if you want to go to college directly after you graduate, you need to apply to a couple of so-called “safety schools”—schools that you know you can get into and that if worse came to worse, you’d be happy to go to.
5) Know that whatever happens is not permanent.
With the college application and admissions process comes a lot of excitement, uncertainty and disappointment. Just remember that whatever school you commit to is not necessarily your destination. If you are waitlisted, you could potentially get off the waitlist. Maybe you’ll love the school you end up going to even though it wasn’t your first (or even fifth) choice. And if you don’t love the school you commit to, you can always transfer. Just try to have an open mind about it.
About Me: I’m Spencer Alexander Zied, a freshman at the University of Miami and am from New York, New York. I love to play basketball and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants and the Yankees. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with me on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).