5 Things You Didn’t Know About College Applications


1. The Common App: Also known as the brain grinder. High school seniors can make a common app account to apply to the numerous colleges included on there. You can also find essay prompts from the colleges and options to include recommenders. What teachers usually won’t tell you is that filling out the common app is the most tedious, time-consuming process since standardized tests. You will have to fill in every single nitpicky detail including your mother’s education, secondary languages, zodiac sign, and favorite ancient civilization that performed human sacrifice. (Mine was Aztec)

2. The recommendations: Before a student reaches his or her junior or senior year of high school, teacher recommendations are just a vague idea floating in the future. However, once the time comes to ask for recommendations, every encounter you have ever had with a teacher races through your head. Fall asleep in class? Talk back that one time? Consistently come late to class? It’s like your life flashing before your eyes without the near-death experience. You start to wonder, can the recommendation actually keep me from going to college? (At this point you’re overthinking. If a teacher really suspects they can’t write anything good about you, they’ll just refrain from writing a recommendation.)

3. The essays: The essays actually aren’t all that big and scary… IF you don’t procrastinate. Procrastination will turn your college essays from harmless sheep into roaring monsters. Get them done ahead of time, and get them checked by an English teacher or any other teacher or a parent or an older sibling. Anyone will do as long as you get a second opinion on it, because sometimes we can be blind to our own glaring mistakes. (Morality lesson free of charge.)

4. Multiple deadlines?: Honestly I’m not sure myself how all of these work. But I do know that there’s an early decision deadline, where you turn in your application by a certain date and colleges will look at it earlier and you may have a slightly higher chance of getting accepted, before the mad rush of the usual deadline. Not sure how it goes in other areas, but where I’m from the early decision is over after October 31st, making Halloween doubly scary. There’s also an early admission thing which may or may not be binding.

5. But I still don’t know what I want to do?: Neither do I. And I think that’s okay. Because you know there’s something there waiting for you in the future and you’re just working towards it whether you go to college or not. Some people have a set career path from the time they are born and some people do a little of everything. Some people do nothing at all. Just “do” whatever’s best for you.

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