A Reflection on College Applications



‘You should get your affairs in order’–A piece of advice for people nearing the end of their lives, also provides decent advice for those who are going to begin the long process of applying to college. The largest lesson I learned through this experience is that organization is key, and that means beginning to prepare sooner rather than later. Compared to my classmates whose instagram captions jokingly recommend never filling out applications, my experience was fairly simple.

I personally never had 12 schools on my list, a large part of this was knowing what I wanted in a school. In the beginning, five art schools comprised my hopes for a future education in illustration and graphic design. My personal case was very specific, but for any college search I found that there were many moving parts regardless of the number of schools on my list. Filling out the physical application with your information is the easiest part, the essays are the most laborious task, and as colleges require more supplemental writing samples for scholarships and/or different majors, the more time that is spent writing and editing these. On top of essay writing, many teachers require questionnaires if they are writing your letter of recommendation, this also includes a lengthy packet of questions from the guidance counsellors so they are able to a letter as well. Filling these out either on time or as early as possible facilitated my application process considerably as once they are filled out, you are able to cross it off your list and leave it in their hands.

It was after the submission of my first two applications where extra complications appeared. My test scores were not being received even though they were sent about six weeks before. In this fresh bout of nervousness, I learned that pieces of applications are lost very easily as colleges receive so many components and they don’t have the time to sort them. As I was the lucky winner of this situation, I had to find a solution. That is when I discovered one of the most helpful resources, the Basking Ridge Moms Facebook page. With the advice from the greatest minds in motherhood, I was sent to retrieve the batch numbers of the test scores by calling college board itself. Even with this minor set back, it did not make my experience extremely difficult. As I already had all of the other pieces in order, this was just one I had to adjust a bit. To view this process as a puzzle made the experience much more pleasant especially when the final picture would be a note reading “submission successful” and hopefully later an acceptance letter.

And so, my largest piece of advice regarding the college application process would to begin piecing it together in junior year with standardized tests and college visits. Fill out any papers that guidance needs from you and start thinking about who you want to write your letters of recommendation. It is after that in the summer and beginning of senior year when the applications should begin being filled out. Use your resources when you get to that point, they are all around you and they all want you to succeed. It may be a lot to do, but it’s worth it when you receive an acceptance letter.