As a high school senior, my goal is to press that “submit” tab on all my college applications. While I technically started applying to college in September I’ve really been working on it since ninth grade. It was a strenuous process and, in the end, it was something I did on my own.
In a way, the long hours I spent on my college application was my first step out of Edward R. Murrow High School and into the real world. I have to say that the whole college application process helped me become more college ready.
Still, it definitely would have helped to have a college counselor who had more time for me. My school does have a college counselor — Lauren Monaco — and, believe me, she works very hard but there is only so much that she can do in a school with about 755 graduating seniors. According to an October, 2012, report from the office of New York City Comptroller John Liu, guidance counselors provide a student an average of 38 minutes of college guidance per year.
Therefore many graduating students need help from others to complete the application process. I had many questions about the common application, used by hundreds of universities, and I worried that one mistake, as tiny as it may be, would mean rejection by the college of my choice. Luckily, there is the internet which helped me find the answers I needed.
The toughest part of the application process for me was the college essay and supplements. It was difficult to find an appropriate topic to write about. I spent my spare time constantly writing and editing my essay. For this I was able to find guidance from my teachers, who helped me develop an effective topic.
However, no college help website or teacher could help me with the biggest challenge I faced: balancing my schedule. I had difficulty juggling my application work, academic work and my extra-curricular activities. I knew that I was going to have a busy Fall semester but I underestimated the time that I needed to spend on applications. It was hard but I finally found a happy medium and was able to juggle all of my activities.
In one way, I’ve been preparing for college since ninth grade but it took actually tackling the applications to make me feel ready for the kind of independent work I expect to face when I finally make it there.