Applying for college has the potential to be one of the most stressful times in your young adult life. For many students, college is such an unknown, causing a lot of emotional turmoils when thinking about it. Applying to school doesn't have to be the end of the world, though. Here's what 32 Fresh U writers (who have been through the application process before!) have to say to high school seniors about applying to college.
1. Ava Frazier | Belmont University | Contributing Writer
"Don't stress about your essay topic!! It will come to you, I promise."
2. Brittany McGowan | Hofstra University | Editor-in-Chief, Fresh U Hofstra & Contributing Writer
"Just pace yourself. Don't stress out. Try and create a timeline of things you want to get done. Try and get everything done at the same time so you can apply to your schools all at once. That way you won't have to worry about any other applications."
3. Ashley Mays | Roanoke College | Contributing Writer
"Go on as many tours as you can, even if you think you won't like the school. One little thing may change your mind."
4. Rafael Franco | University of California Los Angeles | Contributing Writer
"Don't be afraid to ask your teachers to look over your applications. They know this process — they've been through it — so odds are that they know what colleges expect."
5. Destiny Abercrumbie | Bradley University | Contributing Writer
"Make the most of your senior year because college is a whole new ball game."
6. Parul Jain | University of California Davis | Contributing Writer
"Delaying college applications even by a day is [a bad idea] and don't feel ashamed to call the university multiple times just to clarify any confusions that you may have."
7. Lauren Reamy | Old Dominion University | Staff Writer
"Keep an open mind and remember that you will end up where you're meant to be."
8. Kat Korolishin | Pennsylvania State University | Social Media Manager
"Be unapologetically passionate about the things you love. Embrace the things you love."
9. Aishwarya Sukesh | Syracuse University | Co-Editor-in-Chief, Fresh U Syracuse
"My advice to high school seniors would be to really research the programs that will fit you the best. Don't just apply to a university because it seems cool; apply because it has a program that fits you. (Added bonus: you save a lot of money on wasted applications.)"
10. Jared Fembleaux | Loyola Marymount University | Staff Writer
"Go tour the school you're considering. It can make an extremely big difference. For myself, when I stepped foot onto the campus of my school, I knew that's exactly where I was going. If you can't take a tour of the school for some reason, that school may have a virtual tour online; these are helpful too because you get to see what the campus looks like without having to leave your bed."
11. Caroline Bucca | Georgetown University | Co-Editor-in-Chief, Fresh U Georgetown
"Really try to authenticate yourself in your applications. Flesh yourself out in your essays and SPEND TIME ON THEM. Don't wait until the 11th hour to finish that last essay, you'll regret it in the end.
Don't worry about any deferrals or rejections in the early round. They will only make you realize where you're truly meant to be."
12. Rhian Parker | The Evergreen State College | Contributing Writer & Tumblr Editor
"If you can't write the, 'Why X College,' essay, don't go to that school. If you can't find enough words to figure out why you want to attend a college, you may not be that driven to go. Find a college that matches your desired social scene, location and curriculum. If parents are a problem, sit them down and tell them how passionate you are about the school."
13. Jenna McIntire | Ramapo College | Contributing Writer
"Start looking at colleges early. You don't have to apply right away, but having an idea will save a ton of stress later on!
Also, decide if you want a big university or a smaller college. You don't want to lose yourself on the campus before you can find where you fit!"
14. Kelsey Lentz | Pennsylvania State University | Staff Writer & Instagram Editor
"I would advise seniors to get their essays done early and to not get their hearts set on one college; keep all options and give every school an equal amount of consideration."
15. Kendall Meenan | Northeastern University | Contributing Writer
"Make sure to explore all of your options and don't focus too much on your 'dream' school, because sometimes you end up discovering a school that is an even better fit — I know I did!"
16. Maya Ungar | University of Arkansas | Political Correspondent
"Do not apply to your dream school if you cannot afford to go there. It will be a waste of time and a huge disappointment when you have to turn them down."
17. Kamari Stewart | Pace University | Contributing Writer
"Make a chart of due dates, scores that need to be sent and essays that need to be written! I applied to 15 different schools so I understand that it can get pretty overwhelming. One of the ways I kept my sanity was by keeping track of what I did and what was left to get before the deadlines."
18. Addie Schneider | Miami University | Contributing Writer
"Know that wherever you will end up, you will be happy. You'll find where you're meant to be on campus and realize that there are good people at every school. Case and point: I didn't get enough scholarship money to attend what I thought was my 'dream' school. I ended up at a school notorious for its preps and parties — and I love it here. As long as you keep an open mind, any campus can feel like home."
19. Madalyn Gustafson | Grove City College | Contributing Writer
"First semester senior year is such a fun time to explore all the possible opportunities for the next four years of your life. Some schools will surprise you, so don't be afraid to look into schools of every size and location. Go on lots of college visits (they can be super fun) and ask lots of questions to get to know the campus you'll potentially be living in a little better before you officially commit. Take advantage of this exploration process and don't stress too much."
20. Karen-Lucrece Agbodjogbe | Morgan State University | Contributing Writer
"Try to pace yourself; it might get stressful, but meet all deadlines at least two weeks before the deadline."
21. Marie Fayssoux | University of North Carolina Chapel Hill | Junior Editor-in-Chief, Fresh U UNC & Contributing Writer
"Don't apply to a lot of schools just because you want a lot of acceptances. Apply to the schools you can potentially see yourself going to. There is no such thing as a 'safety net' school. If you feel you must play the application process a little safe, still pick a school that interests you."
22. Daphine Henderson | University of Maryland College Park | News Writer
"Remember to be honest with your application, especially when it comes to essays, and especially when it comes to talking about something you're passionate about! Putting on a mask during the application process is never the best idea; you don't want to go into a college being someone you're not, and then realize the college isn't for you. Always be yourself!"
23. Jessica Vuong | University of California Davis | Contributing Writer
"Never feel pressure to apply or not apply to any college, because it's your choice and it's the place that you will be living in for the next four years. Also, college may seem daunting (especially if you're moving into a dorm), but trust me when I say that it get easier and you will soon learn to enjoy and embrace your independence. Good luck on your college apps!"
24. Re’Nyqua Farrington | Nova Southeastern University | Co-Editor-in-Chief, Fresh U Nova & Contributing Writer
"Don't let financial aid discourage you from applying to your dream school. Start looking for scholarships early, fill out FAFSA in October and take advantage of work study programs."
25. Sophia Blake | University of Maryland | Contributing Writer
"Get everything done as early as possible. The earlier you start, the less stress you will feel and the easier the entire process will be.
Don't be too anxious for you decisions to come out. The dates the school provides are usually accurate, so be patient, your decision will be out eventually."
26. Jane Iwanowski | University of Southern California | Contributing Writer
"Try to avoid applying to schools you know you will not be excited to go to! Many schools have various supplemental questions that take time and research to complete, and they are a lot easier to write if you have a genuine interest in that college. It is important to be proud and optimistic once you submit your application, and usually, the enthusiasm you feel towards the school will be apparent if you put your best effort in the writing."
27. Liliana Piña | Northeastern University | Contributing Writer
"Don't believe the hype. Everyone always talks about how stressful applications are and how they're spending hours answering a 100-word prompt, but I promise you, they're exaggerating. Don't overthink it. The process is what you make it, and if you decide it's going to be an unpleasant one, it will be. If you just take it one day at a time and don't leave everything for last minute, you'll be fine, I promise you."
28. Tyler Bingham | Niagara University | Sports Writer
"Make yourself known to the admissions counselor who will be handling your application. They can be a great resource for finding out how you can develop an application the university will love."
29. Ciara Freeman | Loyola Marymount University | Contributing Writer
"If you feel mentally and physically ready for a major relocation and change of pace, definitely look into attending college out of state. Load up on scholarships and funds and never look back! There are always holidays and visits you can take to see family from your hometown. Just remember that this is your one life; make your own college decision apart from what others are expecting of you. I chose a school across the country and have already met more phenomenal people in one week than in my entire lifetime back home. I feel prepared for the 'real' world. Things will always find a way of working out. The time is now."
30. Anna DiGiacomo | University of North Carolina Chapel Hill | Politics Writer
"Application essays — they are the absolute worst. I mean, how are you supposed to know what inspires you at the age of seventeen or how you plan on solving all the problems in the world? It's purely ridiculous and one of the worst parts of the pre-college experience. My advice? Give the readers something to remember you by and don't be afraid to think outside the box. At the end of the day, these people will read thousands of essays and you better hope you caught someone's eye. This may sound like broad advice, but just hear me out. It's story time:
We all hit that one essay prompt when filling out applications that just completely stumps us and believe me, I was no different. There was one particular essay prompt that stopped me dead in my tracks: 'Pick a real world problem and explain how you would solve it.' Excuse me? I'm seventeen years old, do you expect me to solve the unrest in the Middle East or stop world hunger? How about ending poverty? Clearly I can't solve that in 500 words or less!
In the end, I stared at the computer screen for literal hours. This app was due at midnight and I was just watching the clock tick away. Eventually it dawned on me that no matter what 'real life' solution I devised, it wouldn't be any more unique or ground-breaking than the other thousands of essays these people were going to read. So after consulting with my family, I decided to do something completely different. Instead of a formal essay, I wrote a long piece of satire dedicated to what I considered to be a national crisis — hashtags. I even ended it with #acceptanceplzzz. Bear in mind, this was the main essay being sent to UNC Chapel Hill and I was terrified I was throwing my application away with this essay.
All in all, I don't know if this one particular essay is what set me apart from my peers. For all I know, they might not have even read the dumb thing. However, I like to think they read it, chuckled and congratulated me for my audacity. Because, in the end, that's all you can do. How confident are you that your answer to, 'What inspires you?' is truly going to set you apart from the crowd? From someone who has gone through the exact same thing (perhaps you're reading this right now instead of doing your essay, I've done that too), don't be afraid. Be funny. Be silly. Be yourself. Just be sure to watch your punctuation.
You can do this."
31. Sophie Bodo | Bowling Green State University | Contributing Writer
"Complete all your applications as early and as thoroughly as possible, it makes it easier to enjoy senior year. And don't spend senior year wishing you were in college already! This year is the best and you'll miss it by the end of your first week at college."
32. Kellie Veltri | The University of Tennessee Knoxville | Editor-in-Chief, Fresh U UTK & Contributing Writer
"Stay true to yourself in your essays. Don't try to sound impressive, because the reviewers read thousands of applications and can immediately sniff out in-authenticity. Just talk about what makes you unique, and they'll see why you're a valuable asset for their university."
To the class of 2021: Don't stress. Be yourself. Have fun and work hard. Fresh U wishes you the best of luck in your college application process!
Lead Image Credit: PactoVisual via Pixabay