Sunderlik ‘21: As the school year comes to an end, seniors look back at the most memorable and defining moments of their last year of high school. In the mix of fun memories and adventures, there lies the inevitable and slightly stressful college application process for college-bound students. From the summer of junior year to the middle of senior year, these students pushed through this tolling task. Along the way, seniors picked up countless tips to help them live a better college application experience. Since they only apply to college once, these lessons remain unused for seniors; however, juniors about to begin this journey may find use of the tips.

The most important suggestion any senior offers remains to start early. On those amazing July days, people tend to avoid thinking about college applications or anything school-related. While understandable, seniors encourage juniors to at least make a little headway. Simply beginning the Common Application, researching some schools, or brainstorming those daunting essays puts you in a better position to reach your goals.

“I would say starting early makes the biggest difference when getting those applications in and helps you avoid getting stressed or overwhelmed,”  Ava Fawcett ‘21 said.

Students like Fawcett feel most regretful about starting their applications too late. As soon as September hits, time begins to fly, filling up with school work, jobs, extracurriculars, and senior activities. Beginning early provides students with the most basic opportunity for success.

Additionally, several essential tips arise from the essay-writing component of this process. When applying to colleges, always make sure to research. Research ways to hook the readers in, ideas on how to create a complex or interesting theme, or simply how to approach a college essay. 

With this said, always research, but make sure to remain genuine and true. Get ideas from other people if needed, but write your essay in your own words. Become vulnerable and truly express what you want through your writing. Oftentimes, many people try to become who they think the college wants. Unfortunately, most college admission officers see through this mask, resulting in rejections. When writing those daunting essays, choose a topic that allows you to convey an interesting, appealing, or unguarded aspect of your life.

“A lot of essays ask about extracurricular or volunteer activities, so try and create a list now of all this information to help save time later,” Allison Hummel ‘21 said.

When choosing which colleges to apply to, make certain that each college on your list remains a possibility. Try not to apply to colleges just because of the name, the prestige, or other, frankly meaningless, factors. Check that each school fits your wants and abilities. This prevents overloading yourself with applications, and potentially wasting hundreds of dollars. 

With this, always choose a variety of schools. Since freshman year, students hear the importance of choosing safety, target, and reach schools. From a senior, the importance of this variety remains tremendously important.

As juniors begin this process, remember to always think about these tips. This subject offers a myriad of other advice, so when questions arise, ask for advice from someone who endured the process. Parents, friends, family, or more seniors hold countless tips. From a current senior to our upcoming seniors, good luck with this difficult yet amazingly rewarding process.

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