Are you trying to figure out what it takes to get into your dream school? Are you worried about getting in, but not sure why? Don’t worry! Many students go through this exact same process. Rarely do people outside of admissions offices understand how the entire system works, so we’re here to give you a quick crash course on some things everyone should know before applying.
1. The Season Changes Depending On Where You Live
From January to April, everyone is trying to figure out applications and essays, retake tests, visit schools, schedule interviews, etc. In the same way that seasons change as you move across the country or world, so does the admissions season! If you’re applying from New Jersey in the wintertime – good luck getting all your materials turned in on time because it’s just too cold to leave your house! However, if you live in Arizona or Florida during this time of year – there are a lot more opportunities for campus visits and a lot fewer snow days due to extreme weather. This happens everywhere around America. Always keep an eye on school websites and guidance counsellors for exact dates for open houses, deadlines, etc.
2. Not All Colleges Are Created Equal (even though they might all be pretty expensive)
No matter where in the country you live or visit for college tours, you’re bound to run into some schools that are just way more prestigious than others. If you’re applying to schools in Massachusetts or California, universities in these states have a much higher reputation among employers and even other colleges. The same goes for schools in big cities like New York City. Getting yourself known at NYU is going to help you so much more when it comes time for your job interviews! Just remember that the better known your school is – especially when it comes to its area of expertise – the easier it will be for you when it’s time to step out into the “real world” and get a job.
3. It’s All About Money
Let’s be real – no one is in this for the free ride. Yes, that scholarship might look extremely attractive to you when it crosses your desk in order to lure you into applying for admission, but just because they’re offering it doesn’t mean that they have an abundance of money to give away. Think about what schools are MOST likely going to award you with more money. If it’s a religious-affiliated school or liberal arts college, there’s a good chance they’ll offer more scholarships than Ivy League universities right next door! Usually, these types of places are trying to compete with larger research institutions by offering smaller class sizes and specialized student experience. You have to have a lot of money to even be in the running for a private institution, so they’re going to try and lure you with a lot of freebies.
4. Your Essay Is The Biggest Deal Of Them All!
Don’t think that just because you’ve been accepted into all these schools that have called your name that it’s over – there’s still one major hurdle left: the essay! If you thought writing 5 different essays for 5 different schools was tough, just wait until you get an email about “the essay” looming somewhere on the horizon. This is usually worth at least 50 points (out of 8000) on any type of academic application. Just like college applications are becoming more tailored to fit an individual’s personality, so are the essays! No two essays will be written the same way, so don’t think that the “write an essay about your biggest struggle” trick is going to work on everyone. Get creative with this one – it could very well be the difference between you and another candidate who prepared just as much as you did.
5. It’s Not Over Until You Say It Is
If you’re still in disbelief about all of the college acceptance letters piling up, don’t worry. There are always students who get rejected from even their safety school for whatever reason it may be. Remember that just because there’s a group of people somewhere making decisions about your life, they do not know who you are as an individual. If it comes down to the “hometown” kid or you – remember that this is absolutely okay! Someone has to lose, and someone has to win. You might think it’s the end of the world now since you didn’t make Valedictorian at your high school, but once you get into college and meet new people – there are lots more opportunities on the horizon. It’s all about taking one step at a time, and eventually, you’ll get where you need to be.