Advice To Juniors, Getting Ready For College Applications


Applying to college can be extremely stressful. You may find yourself in a state of stress and confusion as you begin searching for colleges that fit you and begin the application process. As someone who just finished the college application process, I would like to share with you some advice and tips for making one of the biggest and most consequential decision of your life.

  1. Do your research!
    1. Make sure that you apply to schools that fit your major well, that have the right environment for you. If you do not like huge colleges, look for smaller ones and vice versa. Also, for those who have an undecided or undeclared major, apply to schools that you know will have a lot of options. Look at the major and minor listings, and pay attention to the quality of education.
  2. Apply to safety schools
    1. I am not saying you cannot apply to schools that you have a low chance of getting into. If your dream school is a “reach school” you should definitely apply. Just make sure that you are applying to some backup schools just in case your dream school does not accept you.
  3. Be careful if you are writing about a life challenge for your college essay
    1. One of the most important factors to college admissions representatives is your essay. Make it unique and an accurate representation of yourself. If you are writing about a struggle or obstacle in your life, do not just make the admissions office feel bad for you! Make sure you include how that obstacle helped develop your character or how you overcame it.
  4. Apply to schools that make sense (financially)
    1. If you are not someone who has a ton of money to throw around for college, do not apply to super expensive schools! College is a huge investment, so it is important to be smart and look for best value schools.
  5. Do research and figure out what colleges will most likely give you scholarships and the best financial aid package possible
    1. Private schools are more likely to give you scholarships than SUNY’s and are generally more generous with financial aid.
  6. Apply to SUNY’s!
    1. Make sure you apply to in state schools so that you have less expensive options.
  7. The waiting period sucks; just pull through it!
    1. Some colleges will not notify you with a decision until as late as April. It can be very stressful, but just remember that stressing out during the waiting period will only make time go slower!
  8. A deferral or a waitlist decision is NOT a “no”
    1. If you find yourself being deferred or waitlisted at a college, it is not the end of the world. Plenty of people get in after being deferred, especially if your senior year grades are just as high (or higher) than your previous grades.
  9. Keep in touch with your admissions representatives
    1. College admissions representatives LOVE hearing from potential students. All of them will be more than happy to answer any of your questions; just make sure that your question cannot be answered by a simple search online. This will also help familiarize yourself with the admissions representative, which can actually help you when the college makes a decision on whether or not to accept you.
  10. Have teachers who teach subjects similar to your interests/major write your recommendation letters
    1. I am not saying that if you are a mathematics major that you shouldn’t have a recommendation from your Spanish teacher, but at least one of your recommendations should come from a teacher who teaches a subject that you are interested in. Also, you should make sure that you have teachers who know you best write your letters.
  1. Just chill out!
    1. College admissions can be a scary and stressful time for students. It is most likely the biggest decision you have ever had to make. But it is important to remember that it doesn’t mean everything! Do not let it stress you out more than it needs to, and remember it always works out in the end.