Advice to Juniors From Seniors

Courtesy of Grace Rector '17

Courtesy of Grace Rector '17

Grace Rector ‘17, Staff Writer

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What advice do the seniors have for you?

    1. Start early! Take advantage of your free time in the summer to extensively research colleges and majors in which you are interested. Apply early to any school that offers early action so you can get a head start on making a decision. Compile a list of  a wide variety of schools early,  but make sure you only apply to schools you would really consider attending. Get ahead by meeting with your college counselor frequently, so that you both are on the same page. Make sure to read ALL of the requirements for your applications, and don’t start them late. Finish each college app at least two days before the actual deadline.
    2. Be mindful of others. This process sucks. A lot. But you’ll get through it. Everyone around you is in the same boat. They probably will hate it as much as you will. Talk to them, but be careful about hurting someone’s feelings. Remember to respect those around you when you are going through the application process. It’s a stressful time for many people, and it is best to try to maintain positivity around yourself and your friends. Everything happens for a reason.
    3. College Visits. Ask lots of questions on college tours, and afterward, write all your notes down and your feelings towards that college. Did you feel like you fit in? Did you like the campus? All the colleges will blend in together, so it is really helpful to go back and remember how you felt when you visited.
    4. Making the list. Only apply to the schools that you really love. Don’t put extensive work into schools you don’t picture yourself attending. If you have a personal relationship and passion for the select schools to which your are applying, you have a better chance of being recognized by the school. Reach out to their regional representatives, and ask insightful questions.
    5. Essays. Write about something that you could rant about to your friend. If you are passionate about what you are writing, it will be easier to write than something you find boring. Finish your essay drafts during the summer before Set Sail because they have college admissions officers there to read your essays. Don’t limit yourself to one idea when writing your common app essay. You may think of a better idea later on in the process. If you have the option to pick supplemental questions, try to pick general ones (such as those about your extracurriculars) across your schools so you can reuse or slightly modify the same ones, and therefore, have less work. Have a résumé ready to attach to applications and bring to interviews– it really helps guide the discussion.
    6. Technology. Save everything on google docs. You don’t want to lose your application essays!
    7. Don’t worry, be happy! You will be fine and go to a great school. Even if you don’t, you are fine. Know that you will truly end up at the right school for you. Maybe you won’t get into your “dream school,” but the school you end up going to will be even better than your dreams. While the application process is stressful, don’t forget to hang out with friends and stay social.
    8. SAT & ACT. Take the SAT/ACT as many times as you can in a way that doesn’t burn you out. I was so stressed about my test scores. I only took the SAT one time because I was so tired from preparing for the ACT when it when it wasn’t the right test for me.

 

  • Reality. Don’t be too ambitious. Prepare yourself to be in a state of purgatory for basically the entire year, you will probably be deferred and/or waitlisted at places and won’t find out until April or May. Don’t let other people’s opinions influence you.

 

What do the seniors wish they did differently?

    1. Difficult Schools. I wish I applied to more difficult schools. I did not think I would get into as many places as I did. I also would have chosen more safety schools that I would have actually considered attending, as opposed to believing that they could never be an option for college.
    2. Housing. I wish I paid more attention to student housing (dorms) on my tours. Choosing dorms becomes very important as housing applications are due in May, so I wish I took more pictures/notes about my favorite ones.

 

  • Don’t procrastinate. I wish I procrastinated less. I would have started the process earlier, especially my common app essay because you have to go through SO MANY drafts.
  • Financial Aid. I wish I did more research on financial aid. Write down all scholarship due dates because they can be earlier than the application due date!
  • Accuracy. I wish I asked more questions throughout the process. Looking back on it, I would have made sure to check everything 3+ times.
  • Tour. I wish I spent more of my summer researching and touring schools so that by the time senior year starts, I would have a better idea of where I was applying.

 

    1. Essays. I wish I added more personality and humor into my essays.

 

  • Less stress. I wish I didn’t study so hard for the ACT, and I would have tried to stress a lot less because it all worked out in the end. However, I would have worked just as hard because it paid off in the end. That sounds like a contradiction, but I think there are ways to help reduce the panic feeling, such as leaning on and being supportive to your classmates. DON’T COMPETE WITH EACH OTHER. It’s a waste of time! Try to do little things that make you happy every day, and laugh as much as you can.

 

The List.  I would have edited my list more. If you are not passionate about a school, it will show in your application, and the school won’t be passionate about you. Apply to schools where you can really see yourself for the next 4 years. I would have spent more time looking at schools in California. Even though I knew that I wanted to go out of state, it would have been really nice to have visited different types of colleges and universities, so I knew what I was looking for early on in the process.

How many schools did the seniors apply to?

Courtesy of Grace Rector ’17

When did the seniors start their apps?

Courtesy of Grace Rector ’17

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Advice to Juniors From Seniors