The “where do you want to go for college?” question had started as early as sophomore year for me, from family, friends, and faculty at school. Since I didn’t have anywhere near a clear idea of what I wanted to do in university, I knew I wanted to find a place that allowed me to explore before having to decide. Knowing I wanted a liberal arts-style education, most of my research surrounded US colleges and universities. I researched online, compiled spreadsheets with the most important/relevant information, reached out to current students and alumni, had a ton of conversations with counselors at school, and tried to attend all the college fairs/admissions officer visits I could. I was fortunate enough to spend two consecutive summers in the US, visiting about 15 colleges and interviewing where I could. College visits were easily the most influencing factor of my decisions (of where to apply, where not to apply, and eventually deciding where to attend), and even if you aren’t able to do physical visits; I highly recommend doing virtual tours and online interviews where possible! I started brainstorming for my CommonApp essay right before the summer before senior year, and tried ideate most of my supplemental essays* during the summer (if you are visiting colleges, take tons of notes and voice memos–they are so helpful when it comes to writing!) As I wasn’t accepted Early Decision, my college app writing process continued (in a rather disorganized manner, I’ll admit) through to January 15th 2018 when I hit that “Review and Submit” button for the very last time. I applied to Claremont McKenna College on a scholarship deadline in December, though it was a regular decision application, after receiving an acceptance from an early-action university (which was a nice confidence booster). I accepted my offer in mid-April, and just one semester in, am thoroughly convinced I made the right choice coming here!
*Most of my supplements ranged between 200-500 words and I had to write a total of 24 mini essays across my 10 college applications.
If you’re sitting at your laptop thinking that the college application process is one of the hardest and most stressful things ever, don’t worry: everyone else is thinking something similar too. In reading our blog posts, or hearing from alumni in general, I’m sure it sounds like everything just fell into place so seamlessly for us. Trust me when I say it was far from seamless, but having gone through the process, I can confidently say that things really do work out for everyone. You will be able to find your niche and make a home for yourself wherever you end up, and the kinds of experiences and opportunities you have had available to you so far make that a whole lot easier to do. As much as I tried to convince myself of this while I wrote my RD applications in a moving van over Christmas break in Jordan, it was always drowned out by the worry of “never getting into a good university” that I’m sure plays on your mind from time to time as well. Just remember, your university experience is what you make of it; take pride in the fact that you’re putting the most effort you can into demonstrating your interest and into your application to each college. There’s no point stressing about how to be the perfect candidate, because the simple answer is: there isn’t one. Everyone has a story to tell so tell yours as best as you can, and we are all here to support you as you do that. You’ve got this, good luck! 🙂