9 December 2020
PLTW Capstone #4: College Applications ._.
My (disorganized) college application process, and practical advice for rising seniors.
This post was written for the Project Lead the Way Capstone program.
I am *almost* done applying to colleges. So far, I have applied to state universities. And as a QuestBridge finalist, I am finishing up applying to some private universities using my QuestBridge application.
I am exhausted. But I am fine. I realize that even stressing over applying to college is a privilege itself. These past few years have been a great opportunity for me to grow and explore where I want to go next. But I feel like I'm nearing a crossroads, where I need to decide where I will spend the next four years of my life, I might move out in less than six months and I have no clue how to cook, and--
I wish I made more free time for myself and for the people that I care about. Instead, I packed all of my time with... stuff I thought was impressive. While I always committed to activities that genuinely interested me, I almost always took on too much because I felt inadequate about my chances of getting into a name college.
My advice to future seniors: if you find yourself overwhelmed by this pressure, create an account for any college application you may complete. This could include:
- Common App or Coalition App
- School specific college applications (the UCs, MIT, etc.)
- QuestBridge App (if you are a low-income student, please consider applying!)
See what information you will actually be able to put in the application. For instance, in Common App, you only have room for six activities AND honors. That might sound like a lot at first, but my guess is that many people can easily fill up all of those spaces and then some. Even so, even the most prestigious schools don't necessarily expect you to fill up all of those spaces. Depth matters more than breadth. If you pursue activities that you genuinely find fulfilling or important, regardless of how 'impressive' they may seem, you will naturally make more meaningful contributions which you can write about authentically in your college essays.
Speaking of college essays, I highly recommend purchasing Write Your Way In by Rachel Toor. This book will help anyone craft authentic and unique essays. If you think that you're too 'boring' to write anything unique (not true), this book is for you.
I am excited to go to college and explore all of my passions to their fullest extent. As a high school student, my resources and knowledge are limited. Wherever I end up, I know I will have an excellent education to take advantage of and that I can broaden my horizons through the people I meet and the opportunities that I will have.