It feels like just yesterday that I was about to start my senior year of high school and was getting ready to start my college applications. Now, as I am about to enter my freshman year at Rutgers, I want to share any information and tips I can to help you with this crucial part of your college experience.
First of all, the biggest piece of advice I can give you is to start as early as possible. Trust me, I really didn’t like it when my mom bugged me to work on my applications while still on summer vacation. But a few months later, when my friends were all panicking about essays and deadlines, I was so grateful that I had sent my applications in months earlier. While you can’t start applying quite yet (applications don’t open until August), it’s good to keep this in mind because application season will be here before you know it!
In the meantime, while you’re waiting for applications to open, start thinking about what you want to write your essay about. You can write your essay about literally anything; the one I sent to Rutgers was about a teen tour I went on last summer, but a second essay that I had to send to another school that I applied to was about how much I love going to concerts. I’m not even kidding. I ended up getting in, so hey, now I can legitimately tell my mom that concerts have helped my education! But in all seriousness, make a list of potential essay topics. They can be anything from talking about something that is unique about you, to something difficult that you went through in your life, to something meaningful that you experienced. The more creative your essay is, the better; the goal is to make your essay stand out to the admissions department, and they read thousands of applicationsn every year. If you can, take a college essay class or work with an English teacher at your school. My high school offered a college essay workshop in August, and after the four day class, I had two essays written, edited, and ready to go way in advance. College essays seem overwhelming, but really, they’re just 650 words, which is a lot shorter than you think it is.
Third, when you are preparing to apply, make sure you keep track of all of your deadlines and what you need to complete for each application. Most schools use the Common Application these days, although Rutgers doesn’t, but many schools also may require supplements, depending on major or just the school in general. Also, every school has different deadlines, and different types of deadlines, so it’s crucial to write them down and be aware of them because they will be here before you know it! Time flies when you’re busy, and you certainly will be in senior year of high school.
I hope these tips and advice helped you! I know the college application process seems scary, but if you start early, keep track of everything, and prepare as much as you can in advance, you will be just fine, and no matter what, you will make it through, I promise. Best of luck to everyone : )