College applications.

Yes, yes, yes. College applications. High school seniors across the United States are rushing to finish essays, gather recommendations, and piece together impressionable applications representative of their capabilities as students.

I’ve finally joined this crowd, and honestly, it’s nothing like I expected. I’m a strong student, I’m passionate about learning, and I’m a diligent worker. When it came time to fill out applications, though, I found myself feeling like I’d spent these past seventeen years doing absolutely nothing.

Do you know how terrifying it is to fill out an application that is “supposed” to encompass your entire existence and aspirations and find it can be surmised in 9 pages? It’s horrifying.

I have respectable scores, grades, and extracurriculars. I haven’t been given many opportunities or guidance since I’m from a very rural town. I’ve spent most of my years shooting in the dark, so to speak. It’s quite intimidating to find out the school you dream of attending sees over 30,000 applications each year, and of those, only accepts seven percent. The scariest part? Just about every single one of those applicants has an outstanding academic history or extremely endowed.

My advice to applying for students from low income, rural parts of the US? Don’t be so self-conscious. Looking back at the applications I’ve already submitted and to the applications I’ll be submitting within the upcoming months, I can’t help but wonder if I’m taking this all too seriously.

This is meant to be a fun process. You’re deciding where you want to spend the first four years of your life as a legal adult. It’s a big deal, but you’re supposed to have fun with it. I’ve worried so much about whether or not I’d get in to the schools I’m applying to that I sometimes wonder if my own anxiety will stop admissions directors from seeing the person applying.

Summary? I’ve only watched videos and read articles, so I’m not an expert in the application process, but I’d say not to worry so much. These admissions directors know what they’re doing. They’re job is to select students that would work well at their respective institutions. If you get accepted, great. If you don’t, it is no reflection on who you are as a person or what you can achieve. (Or at least this is what I’m telling myself.)

I can testify to the fact that if you truly want to succeed and make a difference in this world you can, regardless of your background or what university you attend. I’m from a very small high school with limited course options and teachers with practically no resources, yet I’ve still managed to get what I feel is a solid education and good test scores.

Lastly, don’t focus so much on the college, but rather, your field of study. What are you passionate about? Why do you want to go to a particular college? College is about finding out who you want to become and hopefully getting an education to help you achieve your dreams. Success finds the passionate naturally.

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