What Wilde Lake Seniors Learned From the College Application Process
January 30, 2017
Filed under Features
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As college applications for the Class of 2017 are coming to a close and acceptances are rolling in, it’s time for the Class of 2018 to start thinking about applying to college. Even if you don’t know what you want to major in now or what you want to do after college, it’s important to find a college that is a good fit for you.
Where do you see yourself in a few years? Your answer says a lot about the type of college you need to look into. As you start looking into colleges, think about whether or not you can picture yourself on the campus. Whether you see yourself walking to class, heading to the dining hall for dinner, lunch, or breakfast, studying in the library, or playing a sport for the school, it is important to be able to visualize yourself being successful at whatever schools you choose to apply to.
The college application process, although stressful, is rewarding when you find a school that is a good match for your goals and talents. The following seniors all went through the process and had advice to share with underclassmen based on their experiences.
According to some seniors, including Cameryn Battle, a common issue with college applications was timing. When meeting deadlines, it’s critical to “practice good time management,” said Battle. Deadlines come up quickly and if you don’t get everything in on time, the school will not consider your application.
Others like Kendall Geter found that the essay portions of applications are very time consuming and it’s easy to put them off until the last minute. “Do not wait to write your college essays,” advised Geter. “You should start your essays the summer after your junior year.”
In addition to the essay portion of college applications, test scores play a major role in the application process, as senior Camille Johnson found. “I’ve taken the SAT three times so plan to have time to take the test multiple times that way if you’re not happy with your score, you have time to take it again,” said Johnson.
With application deadlines piling up on top of your regular school work and extracurricular activities, it’s natural to want to finish your applications as quickly as possible so that you have time for other activities. However, as senior Ryan Drazkowski advises, hastily filling out applications is not the best approach. “Take your time doing it and don’t rush through the applications,” said Drazkowski.
In addition to the applications themselves, a major concern for many seniors is paying for college tuition. Fortunately, as senior Hasan Linonge found, there are many ways in which students and their families can qualify and apply for financial aid. “Fill out the FAFSA on time,” said Linonge. The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, helps colleges determine how much need-based aid to provide potential students.
The college application process can be both exciting and intimidating, which is why it is important to be prepared so that you have the best possible chance of success. Even if you’re still a freshman or sophomore, it is never too early to start thinking about college.
Johnson explained that if she were to go through the process again, she would have “started looking at colleges sooner.” It’s important to have an idea of where you want to go prior to starting the application process so that you can create a manageable list of schools to apply to.
Finally, your grades from all four years of high school play a large role in the application process, as senior Hamad Wasti explained. “Freshman year counts [towards college applications],” said Wasti.
Whether you are a freshman, sophomore, or junior, it is important to make sure that you try your hardest in school so that you are prepared to make a great impression on your college applications come senior year. Although the process can be stressful and overwhelming at times, it is important to persevere through the applications because the sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing all of your applications and receiving acceptance letters in the mail is worth all of the effort.