I am absolutely, unequivocally and categorically scared to enter the college admissions process. And chances are that if you are a rising high school senior, you are too.
In the increasingly competitive milieu that is college admissions, no college is a "safe school." Acceptance letters from dream schools couldn't be more hard found, nor rejection letters more prevalent.
There must be a degree of sanity within the chaos of the college admissions process that can serve as a solace from my plight of terror! Right?
Well, in an effort to placate my own apprehension, I put together some thoughts to prepare us all for the inevitable amount of stress that will surround us as college admission season begins (some of which might be cliché, but pertinent nonetheless):
1) Do not depend on statistics -- you have enough common sense to know whether or not your are in the pool for potential accepted students. Students that allow for websites to "rate" their chances of admission into their dream schools are deprecating the holistic approach that defines the admission processes at most institutions. When a college says that its process is holistic, they are not lying to you.
2) It might sound delirious, but have some fun with it. Schools such as University of Chicago and Brown are known for their eccentric and thought-provoking essay questions. Enjoy answering them! If you are bored with your narrative, chances are that the person who will be reading it will as well.
3) Understand that no applicant is perfect. Don't let the wonder student of your school intimidate you. Everyone has their faults, and it is not your job, nor the job of admissions officers, to identify them. Simply focus on yourself.
4) Be yourself. The reason for which college essays and interviews exist (far different, thankfully, than that for which they were started) is to allow for admission officers to understand your personality. College admission officers understand their respective schools best, and want to find the student that might best fit.
5) Lastly, leave some time for thought. College applications are not something with which you should procrastinate. If you start in August (when most become available), then not only will you have less to stress over, but you will also allow for some time to draft, edit and think about how you are conveying yourself to the colleges to which you are applying.
So stress not, fellow rising high school seniors! As Jay Livingston and Ray Evans wrote, "que sera, sera." Whatever will be, will be.