At last, the time has come upon us. The last time you can wear all those Ivy League sweatshirts. The last time you can have hopes and dreams. It’s a strange human phenomenon where 2.2 million high school students simultaneously experience a heart-racing, mind-destroying, confidence-busting academic Hunger Games — a.k.a the college application process.
Admissions officers get to play God, the College Board rakes in millions of dollars and your 17 years of life accomplishments are seen for a grand total of 45 seconds. Sorry folks, looks like you can’t pay $50,000 to be on the USC rowing team anymore —but don’t fret, because if you’re looking for the recipe for success, here is your College Admissions Cookbook.
The “Unique” Essay
Arguably the most important aspect of your applications are your essays. Unique! Unique! Unique! If you don’t learn anything else from your $15,000 private college counselor who writes your essays for you, you must remember this. Those college admissions officers will rave about your essay detailing how you’re 1/254 Moroccan or that your hamster suffered from meningitis. Everyone should try to be unique. But if everyone is unique, are you really…unique?
For those of us who can’t rely on our grades to push us through, the activities section is our place to shine. You will sit down, open your computer, see those glaringly empty 10 open slots and realize that you were too cool for club day and literally haven’t done 10 notable things in your life. But don’t worry! This is the time to pull out that two-day required volunteer work you did in Living Skills and your position as social media manager of the Scooby Doo Club in freshman year. PSA: If you desperately need an automatic leadership position to fill your 10th extracurricular, start a club that will never meet.
This is where you spend $5,000 worth of plane tickets, hotel rooms and Ubers to visit a college you will never get into. Make sure to attend the information sessions and campus tours because if you didn’t know, the admissions officers are watching your every move from above. Even something like tripping on the sidewalk can break your application, so think twice before you sneeze. You will find yourself waltzing down the university plazas and falling in love with the campus food court, and at this point, that impossibly low acceptance rate has left your brain.
The college application process may have side effects that include unhealthy stress, a quarter-life crisis and temporary depression. This is the time when you will feel like running away anytime there is senior advisory or crying when the school counselors tell you all your schools are reaches. But don’t worry, imagine yourself just seven months from now — everything will be over. But until then, good luck 2020.