August: College Visits
The latest blog series from The Bull's Eye, where one writer on the paper tracks his or her experience through the world of college applications every month.
August 26, 2015
I’ve been hearing horrible stories about the senior college application process since I was a fetus in my mom’s womb, and it really is a shock that the period is finally upon me. Honestly though, I have to admit that it isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Or maybe it will be and currently I’m just at the easy part. Who knows?
My senior year summer has been like the typical senior year summer. After failing to secure an internship at a top-notch company like Google or Apple, I decided to use the college application excuse to get my family to plan vacations, because you know how important it is to visit the colleges of your dream. So many former seniors have told me how location is really everything in a college, and how if you don’t like a campus or it just doesn’t fit you, there really isn’t any point in applying. I started thinking of things I like: cold cloudy days on a prestigious campus, warm sunny days on a prestigious campus, freezing snowy days on a prestigious campus.
My summer journey took me to the typical reach-for-the-stars schools of Stanford in NorCal, and Princeton on the East Coast. My parents being the typical “I believe my son is destined for greatness” type have also taken me to UCLA and UC Berkeley, which they hope would both be my backup schools, as well as UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine, which they hope I magically get full scholarships to. Quite frankly, every campus I set foot on put me in awe and it was hard to distinguish what type of environment I want to invest in for the next four years of my life. However, the experiences I gained allowed me to truly relax my mind and create my own list of private and public universities I plan on applying to.
And then starts the argument phase of the process. Every student, in my opinion, needs to go through this phase, and staying true to my belief I spent a good two to three weeks arguing with my parents over many individual things. Should I apply to three Ivy League schools when my chances are so low? Should I risk going for an Early Decision Application? Should I get a college counselor? Can we afford these schools? Mom, don’t you think I need a real safety school because Berkeley isn’t a safety!
For those seniors currently going through this portion of the application process, listen to your hearts. We are all one-step closer to being adults and our own opinions truly matter. Be realistic: you know how smart you are and what you should be aiming for. I have taken off over half the schools my parents thought I should apply for and filled them with what they call “borderline nothings” because I believe they are great colleges where I would fit in. Invest time in researching what you want to do and which schools specialize in your major. And just know that, we are just at the beginning of this wonderful college application process. The real fun has yet to begin.