I've made the decision to apply SCEA, and there's really no other way to put it... I'm freaking out. I wake up in the middle of the night every night with anxiety about Yale. I write my essays and supplements and they don't ever seem to be witty enough, eloquent enough, ME enough. I read other "chance me's" and other stats with kids with higher SAT scores than me, more impressive credentials, and I want to cry. Yet I'm completely dedicated to applying to Yale, and there's no stopping now.
DO I HAVE ANY SYMPATHIZERS!??!
/tips to make this stop
Four years ago, my daughter was applying SCEA to Yale. After working on her essays for 5 months, she woke up mid-October and decided they were not good enough; she hated them all. We told her that her essays were wonderful and that she should just go ahead and press the submit button. She couldn't do it. She starting re-writing frantically on any topic that came to her mind. The last week of October, we ended up having to hire an essay consultant, who read her original essays and said that she should stop freaking out, and just submit them -- that even though she had doubts about them, that they were absolutely fine. She pressed the submit button 2 days before the Yale SCEA deadline, and then sent the same essays to every college on her list.
You may not like the rest of the story, but it bears telling. That December, my daughter was deferred from Yale. She cried for days. In April, she found out that Yale had rejected her, but she was accepted to Harvard. And to complete the story: my son, who wanted to attend Harvard with his sister, also freaked out about his essays at the last minute. He was ultimately rejected from the big H, but is currently a sophomore at Yale -- and couldn't be happier.
Why am I'm telling you this? Because the admissions process is unpredictable. None of it makes sense and it's not worth freaking out over. You would think that whatever Yale was interested in, Harvard would want that as well. Ditto about Yale wanting what Harvard wanted. Unfortunately, admissions does work that way. You need to just send your applications out into the universe and hope for the best. So long as you have applied to a broad range of schools, which include a number of target and safety schools, you will end up someplace great.
Try this out for fun: Think of the five people who most inspire and impress you. Dead or living. Scientists, painters, authors, athletes, whatever. Write down their names. Now look where they went to college. I will bet a million dollars that at least one of them did not attend an ivy league school. Hell, I'll bet that at least one probably didn't even complete college...Conclusion: getting into Yale or any other school really doesn't matter as much as we like to think. I mean, it would be nice, but you can still live a happy, productive life without it. Odds are your biggest heroes did
One mom at my son's school said, "no one from this school has gotten into Yale in recent history. Your son won't get in.". To which I responded, you can't get in if you don't apply. Just do your best. Don't compare, you will drive yourself crazy.
@speckle8: Last Christmas, my nephew started writing his college essay, and asked me to review it. It was weak, obviously written at the last minute, and also demonstrated nothing about his personality. I suggested that he write one about something he was keenly interested in, and he said that he already had. In October, he had written an essay about something he had been doing since age three, but he didn't like the essay and had discarded it. I read that essay, and thought it was great. I suggested that he buff that one up and use it. He wasn’t Ivy material, but got into a reach school, half a tier down from the Ivies, which he is now attending.
I used to write magazine articles for major magazines for a living, and was never satisfied with any article I wrote when I sent it to the editor. The editors usually printed my work with only minor changes, and I would still be dissatisfied with what I read when the article appeared three or six months later. Reading the work 30 years later, I see that my work was very good. I’m sure you are getting too close to your own work.
Freaking out about Yale SCEA is a fool’s errand. Your essays could be publication quality and you still might not get in for countless other reasons.
People do get turned down by Yale and live fulfilled lives (I was turned down and went to a place that Yale and the rest of the world call PU). Today, I get paid by people who make far more money than I do and went to schools that are “far inferior” to Princeton and Yale.
Treat your Yale SCEA application as a job application, among many others you are about to make, not as a brief intended to get yourself a stay of execution from the Supreme Court.
You have programmed yourself to the point where you have failed utterly and completely if you don’t get into Yale.
You know that sensibly, that is not the case. Most kids wind up liking the college they do choose, and excellent performers can succeed at any college. I saw your numbers on another thread, and you are going to have some excellent choices, as long as don’t apply only to the schools that accept 15% or less of their applicants.
You appear to be the type of person who sets impossibly high standards, comes extremely close to hitting them, and still finds imperfections with yourself – you reported feeling dissatisfied with your 2280 SAT’s, which is an indication of this mindset. Your scores are in the upper, upper echelons.
Coming here for help probably isn’t the best place. Start by telling how you’re feeling to your guidance counselor, who has dealt with this before.
I feel exactly the same way you are feeling! In fact, I feel as if gibby, in describing her daughter, exactly hit the mark on the way I feel about my Yale application essays. I started working on my essays in June and finally finished the common application and Yale supplement essay, but for some reason I am just not satisfied with my short takes, why Yale essay, and extra-curricular essay. I feel as if they are not engaging or unique enough for them to stand out to an admissions officer. I have grown frustrated and felt hopeless from time to time because every time I try to change my essays, I can't seem to figure out any other way to write them. I have spent weekends and weekends devoted to essay writing. However, in reading about it online and rethinking the whole process, I think that both you and I have gotten too close and absorbed into our essays that we can't really assess whether they are good or not. I will admit that I often find myself reciting my essays exactly word for word in my head. Although I probably won't have the feeling of satisfaction I was hoping for in turning in my application, I am going to turn my essays in the way they are anyways. After reading gibby's story about her daughter and after realizing that I have spent too much time trying to change my essays, I know I did all I was capable of. If Yale doesn't like it, I might cry at first, but I will realize that maybe it wasn't the right school for me anyway. Plus, the essays are important, but I was surprised to find out that teacher recommendations often take precedence. I hope that makes you feel better, because it made me feel a tiny bit better. Good luck to you, I know exactly how you feel!
DD just hit submit a few hours ago. Do I think she will get in? No clue. This process is so random that you never know if the application will appeal to the admissions director reading it on that particular day.
I am sure that the majority of the students that applied last year in the SCEA round were qualified to attend. How they whittle it down to taking only 15% is strange.
Good luck on your application. If you don't apply, you will never know.
Oh, gosh. I spent less than 6 hours studying for standardized tests. The night before each, I put in a few hours or did a practice test and made sure to go to bed early, have a good breakfast in the morning, etc.
I've spent more time on essays, but I didn't start until late August since I studied abroad over the summer. Maybe I'll regret it come April, but I think 4 months of essay writing would drive me nuts.
Last edited by chaquefois; 10-21-2012 at 06:17 PM.