By Anna Ryan
Not that long ago I began the lengthy and tedious process of applying to many different colleges in hopes I would be accepted into my number one choice. While the process of applying and waiting for a response may be daunting, it's really not that bad. As I discuss what I went through and what you can expect, I'll give you tips to help you through your process.
When you're deciding where you want to go to college, keep your options open and always have a backup plan. It may be tough to handle, but you may have to face the reality of not being accepted into your first pick. I found it helpful to speak with my high school guidance counselor to discuss the different options that would be available to me.
Distance can also be a factor in determining where you go to college. I knew I didn't want to stay in my hometown or surrounding area, but I also knew I didn't want to be so far away that I wouldn't be able to visit my family during the holidays. Who knows, maybe you want to go to school across the country to fulfill opportunities you may not be able experience here. If you're stuck on deciding how far away you actually want to go, make a list of pros and cons to help you decide.
Once you know what colleges you want to apply to, get ready to set aside a couple of hours for the admissions process. You will have to fill out countless forms of personal information and be prepared to write an admissions essay. Most of these essays want you to discuss your accomplishments, highlight your goals and explain why you should be accepted. However, the essays are not always the same. Make sure you read the prompt very carefully and do not simply copy and paste from a previous admissions essay. You may also need to send a transcript and a letter of recommendation. Sometimes you may need to send two letters of recommendation. Make sure you ask your teachers or mentors early on for a letter of recommendation so they have an ample amount of time to get back to you.
And now you wait. It may take weeks to hear back and the waiting period can make you anxious, but once you get that acceptance letter you feel relieved. If you get a rejection letter, don't be discouraged. You just have to wait for the other colleges to get back to you. Once you finally have the college you want to go to, respond in a timely manner so you can sort out housing, dining and orientation details. You may also have to take a writing and math test which will determine the proper level of general education classes you have to take, or to simply omit you from them.
Get involved in as many clubs and activities as possible. It will make for a more enjoyable experience and you will make tons of friends. College is a place to start a new and exciting chapter in your life; so make sure to enjoy it. •