The ugly truth about the college admission process, whether you’re the parent of someone applying to colleges, or a student, you know that many emotions come with doing so. First, comes excitement! You eagerly look at all the different colleges that you think may be a good fit for you and decide where you want to invest your time, effort and money. While keeping in mind your scores from SAT’s and ACT’s, as well as your financial abilities, you find a few colleges you believe would be a perfect fit for you. Now comes the stress. The application process can sometimes be a bit lengthy and can vary from school to school. Some applications will be the standard college application, while others will be more complicated. Many colleges require a well-written essay with a follow-up interview and sometimes even an evaluation process from potential students. These steps can sometimes be overwhelming to hopeful students and can also discourage them from applying. Colleges are aware of this but typically do not try to standardize the process to make it more accessible or straightforward for students. So, what can we do to make this process simpler for ourselves, our students, or our children?
Most teenagers already have enough insecurities with the pressures of society and their peers, that the college admissions process should not be something that negatively affects their self-esteem. I remember when I was applying for colleges, I always compared myself to my peers and evaluated my worth to theirs and would continuously beat up on myself. Getting into a good college is a feeling of validation and shows that you have the ability and potential to enter the next chapter in your life. One important thing to remember is that not everyone gets into their first choice college, so comparing yourself to others is not the way to go through the process. Compare yourself only to yourself and always be aware of your worth so that you avoid the sense of feeling unworthy.
One important thing to remember even before beginning the admissions process is to always keep in mind how important the student record is. It demonstrates to admissions officers the kind of person they are evaluating. They typically look for candidates who perform well and show improvements in areas they may not function well, are involved in extracurricular activities, choose challenging course work, have good grades and show genuine interest in their school, this indicates the student would likely have the same work ethics at their college and could increase the chance of approval and acceptance.
Another crucial step in this tedious process is to pay very close attention to details in the applications you submit to the colleges where you are applying. The admissions officers are trained to determine within a short amount of time if an application is worth reading word for word or if it is only worthy of the discard pile. The admissions officers job is to ensure that every direction given to complete the application was followed. They don’t want to waste their time reviewing applications that have careless mistakes such as exceeding or not meeting word counts, disregarding required questions or even small grammatical errors. The point being is to pay attention to. Pay close attention to every direction that is given on the application, because also missing one small step could cause an excellent students application to be overlooked and denied.
The most important thing to remember is that every single human being is different. We all have different wants, needs, goals, and dreams but nothing is out of reach if you don’t want it to be. Try never to get discouraged, because sometimes one door closing means another one is opening and we have to be willing and able to walk into that door with as much passion as we did before if we want the real feeling of accomplishment.