My 3 pieces of advice for Juniors applying to college

The end of the 2016-2017 school year is rapidly approaching. Juniors are probably relieved that what most people regard as the hardest year of high school is finally over. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the hard work is far from over because the college search process is just beginning. Applying to colleges can be both exciting and stressful, but if you follow my advice, your stress will be substantially lower.

One of the biggest things my mom, who reads applications for Lafayette College, told me to do when applying to colleges was to start applying as early as possible. One of my biggest regrets was definitely not starting my essays earlier as I had multiple stressful nights submitting applications as late as 11:58 pm. So if you are a junior, thinking about applying to college and reading this article, one thing you should definitely do is start drafting your essays as soon as the applications come out. If you are like me you probably are applying to more than one college, which means multiple applications and essays. Starting your essays when the applications come out allows ample time to craft a perfect essay that will hopefully get you into the college of your dreams.

My second piece of advice is to be yourself in your applications. Don’t try to be what you think the people reading your applications want you to be. The people reading the applications are probably reading hundreds, if not thousands of applications. If you try and sound like everyone else then you won’t stick out. So, it is imperative to find your voice that unique to you and stick to it. If you’re not funny, don’t try to be funny in your essays. Be yourself!

My final piece of advice is to visit some colleges. The best way to know if a college is right for you is by physically being on campus. For me, I never considered applying to Lehigh University because it was only 10 minutes from my house. However, the summer of my junior year I went on a tour and absolutely loved it. Being on the campus and taking a tour completely changed my view on it as Lehigh quickly rose to the top of my list. Also, another college I was thinking about applying to was Hamilton College, but when I was on campus and took a tour, I didn’t like it. The moral of the story here is that actually being on campus can tell you a lot more about a college than a website can tell you. Make an effort to visit some schools in the fall and over the summer!

All in all, if I were you I would definitely take my advice. I’m not saying that just to say it. I really mean it from the bottom of my heart -- I don’t want you stressing at 11:00 at night wondering if you’ll be able to submit you application. Aside from the applications, don’t forget to have a fun senior year. You’ve worked very hard your previous 3 years, try not to stress that much about being accept/denied to your colleges. In the end it will all work out!

* Header photo is the University of California, Berkeley which I visited in April and will be attending in the fall. Source: Chuck Tichy

I am currently a senior at Freedom High School. I am involved in a lot of activities at Freedom including, Student Council, BASD Mini-THON, the FHS Forum, and the soccer team. 

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