The college process can be a daunting experience. As soon as junior year begins, it starts to feel like you need to have your whole life figured out– where you want to go to college, what you want to study, and even your future career. As I begin submitting my applications, I reflect on my journey and have summed up the three things I wish I knew before I started the college process.
1. You don’t need to have your life planned out at 17.
The college talks start as soon as junior year starts. Not only do people ask you where you want to go, but also what your intended major is. There’s a stigma surrounding applying to college undecided that needs to be put to rest. There is nothing wrong with not knowing what you want to dedicate the rest of your life to while you’re still in high school. College will give you the opportunity to explore possible interests. According to a study by author Virginia Gordon, between 20 and 50 percent of students enter college undecided about their major. Where you want to go and what you want to do are questions you should not feel pressured to answer just yet.
2. Don’t focus on what your peers are doing.
I often hear others or even myself wondering how many schools everyone’s applying to, which ones, what their ACT/SAT scores are, etc. I got stressed out hearing that people were applying to more schools than me and felt like I needed to add more. People tend to focus on what everyone else is doing, letting them feel like they need to change what they’re doing. “It’s important to make sure you make the process about you and not about everyone around you. Apply where you want to apply no matter how many or few schools it is. Don’t think about anyone else, “ senior Leah Bloshteyn said.
3. It isn’t as bad as everyone makes it out to be.
“As long as you manage your time and make sure you’re being efficient, the process will be totally manageable,” senior Max Greenfeld said. The school offers myriad ways to get help with your applications. There are workshops to work on and receive feedback on essays. Making a schedule and keeping yourself organized will make it much easier and less overwhelming. It’s good to get an early jump on the applications so that you don’t have to rush to get them in by the Nov. 1 deadline. “I wish I would’ve started my applications earlier because my senior year schedule is more work than I expected. The process isn’t necessarily hard, but it is time consuming,” senior Arian Nyandjo said.