This is the third in a six-part series of advice for high-school-aged students about the college search process (and the only one to rhyme–Advice/Bryce). Enjoy!
By Bryce Kelly ’23
For students just beginning to think about the college process, I have some tips to share.
As long as you are doing something, you aren’t doing anything wrong. It could be joining a club, playing a sport, taking a new class, or talking with alumni. Building a sense of what you are excited to do in college is more helpful than memorizing something like a school’s acceptance rate. The more you understand what subject or extracurricular gets you going, the more confidence you can have going into your selection process.
Am I passionate about STEM?
Do I want to be in a competitive environment?
Is being close to nature important to me?
Even if you don’t have any answers to those questions after spending a lot of time thinking on them, you have at least learned that you want to be at a place that will maximize your opportunities to go in many different directions, rather than to a more specialized institution.
There is no such thing as starting your college applications too early. Getting ahead of the game on your essays gives you time to make more difficult decisions later and allows you to focus on the quality of your response, rather than rushing to crank one out before the deadline. Colleges release their application essay prompts early (during the summer) for this very reason.
At the end of the day, remember this: admissions officers are rooting for you. They don’t like rejecting students. They want you to be amazing. Every time they open up a new application for review, they are hoping that you are going to be the one to knock their socks off. You are about to head into a very stressful time. At moments, it might seem that everything is stacked against you. But they’re rooting for you. Your future friends and teachers, the admissions ambassadors, everyone who is helping you in this process—we’re all rooting for you. We’re all hoping that you are that special person we won’t be able to find anywhere else. Show that you are that person. We know you’re out there, and we’re waiting for you.