Every college application is unique, which is why college admissions officers enjoy the work that they do. After four years of trying to fit in at high school, you now have the opportunity to express what makes you unique. What interests have you discovered over the past few years? What are you passionate about? What makes you tick? Regardless of the creatively worded questions on your application, this is what admissions officers want to know. You may not have had a choice of what high school to attend, or even which classes to take, but now you can examine — and show — what’s special about you and why a particular college is the right fit.
2. You get to put your best foot forward, in whatever way works for you.
Maybe you didn’t score a 2400 on the SATs, or get straight A’s, or make the cheerleading squad — and that’s okay. The college application is a package with many components, and it’s up to you to present yourself in the best light even if your record isn’t 100% perfect. You can emphasize your strengths and not worry about finding excuses for your weaknesses. Perhaps you didn’t do so well in chemistry, but you wrote some outstanding short stories and poetry for your English class that your teacher loved. The English teacher may be a good person to ask for a recommendation letter. Besides the one grade on your transcript, admissions officers never have to know what the chemistry teacher thought of your abilities.
3. You learn so much about yourself in the process.
Thinking about how to present yourself in the best light is a great way to start examining not only what you do well but what you love doing. Many students start to decide on careers around this time (no pressure!). As you think about how to convince admissions officers that you’re the right fit for their school, you’re forced to think about the settings in which you thrive and the type of people you enjoy being around. What motivates you, and what do you hope to accomplish in college and beyond?
4. People want to help you.
Getting into the college of your dreams in a big deal, and there are probably a lot of people in your life who want to play some role in making that happen. Admissions officers at the schools to which your applying, your guidance counselor, professional college counselors, friends, and family members are all great people to talk to as you start thinking about college applications. Seeking advice from those who have been through the process will help you to do your best.
5. There’s a bright light at the end of the tunnel.
Soon enough, you’ll be moving into your new dorm room, eating dinner in the dining hall, hanging out on the quad…and, yes, going to class and spending time in the library. College can be the best four years of your life. All of your hard work now will pay off.