The Student Prints

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The Student Prints

The Student Prints

I column as I see ’em by Rachel Bules

Early decision. Scholars and Honors programs. FAFSA. Matriculation. Preferred admission. Demonstrated need. Merit-based grant. These might words might be just a few of the confusing vocabulary thrown at you during your college application process. As the oldest child in my family, my parents and I have no prior experience applying for college. It seemed to me that everyone else knew how to apply to college and I didn’t, even though I know this was not the case.

For me, filling out the Common App was daunting. It was page after page asking questions about myself that I didn’t always even know the answers to. The websites of the colleges I am applying to were helpful, but even they failed to shed light on some of the more specific queries I had. Going on official visits to my prospective colleges was very helpful, but the information they relayed was all very general and sometimes I left with more confusion than I started with. Another source of extreme confusion for me was all of the types of admission each different school offered. Between the five schools I am applying, not one of them has the same type of admission process.

I guess where I’m going with this is that I just wish that each school had a standardized application. The Common App is a good idea in theory, but it’s difficult that I have to answer four million obscure questions about myself. Also, not every school uses the Common App so I have to fill out multiple applications that pretty much ask the same things. Another headache that applicants are dealing with this year is various failures and errors while filling out the Common App. A stress I certainly do not need in my life is worrying if my application actually submitted after I hit “Submit” (which happened to me… twice.)

I was entirely under the impression that senior year would be fun and busy, but in a pleasantly manageable way. Boy, was I wrong. Stressing about which colleges to apply to is only the first hurdle to overcome. Then, you have to decipher the language that tends to resemble hieroglyphs within each application itself. Finally, you have to pay an obscene amount of money to submit the application, and then you have to keep checking up to make sure the application was actually submitted. Some people were wise and made sure to complete this process in August or September, but in my case, factors including not being sure where I wanted to apply, not knowing what I wanted to do with my life post-high school, homework, soccer, employment, a miniscule social life, and a crippling pre-disposition to procrastinate to the point of self-destruction have left me scrambling to finalize my applications a few days before they are due.

This is especially a problem for me because I am still not sure what I want to do with my life after high school. I’m not one of those people who were born a die-hard fan of a particular college and I really didn’t even consider which schools I might be interested in until a few months ago. After visiting them all, I know I will have a hard time choosing.

The silver lining to this whole process is that once it’s over, it’s over. The only thing I will have to worry about for the next few months is working on some scholarship opportunities. However, something tells me all of this stress will return once it’s time to actually select where I’m going to go.

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