December 28, 2016

My College Application Experince

2016 has been quite the whirlwind thanks to this little thing called the college application process. Since freshman year I have been hearing about the dreaded college process from kids older than me or from my parents friends with kids that have been through it. As the oldest child in my family, I was essentially the guinea pig and I thought I would share a little bit about my experience for those of you who will be in the same shoes in the future. Everyones college search and application process is extremely different, so this is just my story. I'm just going to start out and say that I was a little bit crazy when it came to finding the right college for me. Everything worked out exactly how I hoped, however I would recommend being a little more open minded than yours truly.

Unlike most people, I had my colleges extremely narrowed down before I even began to go on tours, let alone apply. Since the beginning of high school,  I have known that I wanted to go to college in the South. I liked the idea of having nicer weather, different culture, and doing something different for four years as I will likely come back to the North after college. This geographical restriction narrowed down the schools I would look at fairly quickly. During February of my junior year, my mom and I flew into Charlotte, NC to officially start my college touring process. We went to five schools, Clemson University, Furman University, the University of Georgia, Wake Forest University, and Elon University. After a crazy weekend of touring, I realized that UGA was way too big for me, Furman was way too small, and for some reason I could not explain Wake Forest just was not the right fit. I know what you're thinking...Catherine you are actually insane you just eliminated 3/5 schools you looked! Yes I did. Did everyone tell me I was crazy? Yes. Was I? Yes. Would I recommend this for anyone starting the college process? No. Did everything workout for me in the end? Yes.

After that trip I pretty much knew that I wanted to go to Elon University (though I could see myself being happy at Clemson as well) and from there on out I did everything possible to get myself accepted. Elon was between a safety and a target for me, however the college process is honestly a total crapshoot and I have seen people get rejected and deferred from their safeties... you never know how it is going to play out. This past summer I spent a ton of time working on my Elon application so that by the time I went back to school it would be ready to be submitted. In September, my dad and I flew down to visit the campus for a second time and in addition to the tour and info session, I attended a business communications class. If you are applying to a school that offers this, I would highly recommend doing it. By sitting in on a class, you are able to meet a professor, see how a typical class at the school is taught (small, lecture, etc.), and see if you are interested in the material covered in courses related to your intended major. Although it was mildly intimidating, the girls in the class were extremely nice and welcoming and a few of them were also from Massachusetts which was nice! After my second visit to campus I officially decided to apply Early Decision to Elon.

After I applied to Elon, the regional representative came to my high school. Every day there are representatives from different colleges in our guidance department that hold hour long info sessions and provide you with a change to ask questions and talk one on one with someone from the admissions department. If your school does this I highly recommend attending the sessions for any schools you want to apply to as it demonstrates interest and allows to meet with one of the people who will be reading your application.

I applied to Elon at the end of September and got my acceptance on November 30th. The months in between my submission and hearing back were extremely stressful, however if you really know where you want to go to college I could not recommend early decision enough. I applied to four colleges (Elon, Clemson, Tulane, and Furman), however I got into a Elon before hearing back from my other schools. Because ED is binding, I was required to withdraw my applications, and thus I will never know if I was accepted to the other schools I applied to. Having everything figured out in December is the biggest weight lifted off your shoulders and allows the rest of your senior year to be pretty stress free.

Overall, I had a fairly easy college application process. My approach was mildly concerning, especially when all of my friends were applying to 10+ schools, however it all worked out. For all of you that will being going though the process next year or sometime in the near future I can't stress enough the importance of actually touring schools if you can, and establishing a relationship with the representative from your area. Colleges are becoming so competitive and if you do everything in your power to let them know you are interested, then at least you will have that to fall back on if something does not go as planned. Good luck to everyone in the class of 2017 who hears back in April and to those of you just starting the process, it's an exciting time!


Preppy by the Sea 

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