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Say to yourself back in time?

alwayswonderinesalwayswonderines Registered User Posts: 196 Junior Member
For those of you in who are upperclassmen in high school, college bound, undergraduate, or who are already done with college, what would you say to yourself as a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior in high school?

I think this may be a very good topic that a lot of students can look back on and advise younger students (especially those who *aspire* to go to Ivy League schools or even a local school) who sometimes feel the anxiety of SATs/ACTs, college admittance, and if its even possible to get into dream schools.

What would you say to your younger self?
Post edited by alwayswonderines on

Replies to: Say to yourself back in time?

  • FawkesGoldmanFawkesGoldman Registered User Posts: 96 Junior Member
    Don't try to dispel other people's misconceptions about college admissions; if you try to explain to everybody that the ACT and SAT are accepted at every college in the country, your hair will go grey.
  • ZombieDanteZombieDante Registered User Posts: 3,895 Senior Member
    ^Agreed. I don't know how many times I heard "Why are you taking the SAT? You only take that if you are going to a college on the east coast"
  • tedders83tedders83 Registered User Posts: 265 Junior Member
    Don't try to dispel other people's misconceptions about college admissions; if you try to explain to everybody that the ACT and SAT are accepted at every college in the country, your hair will go grey.

    Actually, some very reputable colleges don't take SAT and ACT scores. Some examples would include the University of Phoenix, ITT Technical Institute, and Kaplan College.

    (On a serious note, CSUs only require the SAT/ACT if you have below a 3.0. Above a 3.0 they are only strongly recommended)

    Anyway, I would tell myself to not procrastinate asking for letters of rec, and to seriously consider who I was asking. I'll forever kick myself for getting one amazing rec and one awful one.

    I would also tell myself to buy one of the AP crash courses rather than trying to read the entire Princeton Review book in one night :/
  • iborpastaniborpastan Registered User Posts: 202 Junior Member
    I would tell myself several things to my freshman self. A lot of this is really general, but definitely applies to anyone who wants to get into an Ivy League:

    Don't sign up for ECs just because they "look good." That dominated my EC choices freshman and senior year. I went to a jock high school and I assumed no one gets into college without sports. The only problem? I'm un-athletic.

    GPA is significantly more important than ECs.

    I'm not saying you shouldn't do any ECs. Just stick to the ones you truly enjoy.

    Don't be afraid to invent your own EC.

    Laziness is contagious, and the high school environment breeds it.

    You are a big fish in a small pond even if you're in a huge high school where it doesn't appear that way.

    The opposite sex is pretty worthless while you're still in high school.

    AP classes aren't a big deal anymore. Everyone who's looking to go to an Ivy or an Ivy League-esque sort of school has taken a bunch of them and gotten 5s.

    Don't let yourself rot over the summer. Read, study, do math problems, and always remain active academically during vacations.

    High school education for the most part sucks and you'll hate it. However, you won't hate it because academics as a whole suck. See previous bit of advice in order to alleviate this.

    When a teacher gives an assignment, do it the night it is assigned even if it's due a week from then. Don't just avoid procrastination, take things a step further and always stay ahead of the game.

    Two words: black coffee. This is optional, but personally, it lets me go on overdrive.

    Bs, Cs, Ds, and Fs, are a part of life. Don't shrug off Bs and don't get discouraged by Cs, Ds, and Fs. Use them to your advantage. They teach you what not to do.

    Don't get intimidated by any subject. Intimidation leads to procrastination.

    Pay attention in every class. In order to do that take excessive notes. You likely won't look at them again, but the mechanics of taking them help you learn the first time a concept is presented, making studying for tests a lot easier if not unnecessary for most classes.

    Physics and math are awesome and don't let the perception that they are "too hard" trick you into actually thinking they are "too hard."

    The vast majority don't care about their education. So, it's your responsibility to stand out in that area. Making friends with the "smart" kids isn't always enough to keep you motivated.

    A 2000 on your SATs doesn't mean you're all set. Haha, hardly anyone in my high school gets over a 2000, so there's a false perception that a 2000 can get you in anywhere.

    There are other really excellent and competitive schools besides Harvard, the other Ivy Leagues, MIT, and Stanford. Ever heard of WUSTL, Amherst College, Williams College, Swathmore, Bowdoin, UChicago, Northwestern, or Harvey Mudd? No? You should check 'em out.

    The kids going to your local state school aren't all idiots. Many of them are hard working and intelligent. However, financial situations, bad luck, and personal preferences lead them to such "crappy" schools that are often not all that crappy.

    The phrase "A B in an AP class is like an A in a honors class" is only a half truth that only applies when you talk about weighted GPAs (more on that later). All it is is a B in an AP class. I can't tell you how many times I hear that quote by people taking AP classes for the first time and trying to justify a drop in their grades like that. If you're an A student in honors classes, stay an A student in AP classes. Forgive yourself if your grades really do drop because of AP classes. Just make sure to improve them as the year continues.

    You didn't get that 4.2 on your first quarter report card because you're so awesome and special that the 4.0 scale doesn't apply to you. It's a weighted GPA and it means nothing. Get it up to at least a 4.5 to have a reasonable chance at a top school.

    You don't have to do the same things others did to get into an Ivy League. A lot of what makes someone successful is finding his/her own way of doing things and standing out as a result.
  • FawkesGoldmanFawkesGoldman Registered User Posts: 96 Junior Member
    tedders83 wrote:
    (On a serious note, CSUs only require the SAT/ACT if you have below a 3.0. Above a 3.0 they are only strongly recommended)

    Oh, I was only referring to preferential requirement of one test over another. A good number of colleges require neither (Bowdoin comes to mind for me) test, but accept both. I swear, if I hear one of our guidance counselors (!!!) say "Oh, you should take the SAT, they like it better out there", I'm going to start a proprietary counseling booth outside their offices, a la Charlie Brown.

    Another fun story that's, yeah, a little off-topic: I was in Introductory Psychology, a catch-all class for people looking for easy Social Science credits and people who want to take AP Psych, at the beginning of first semester. I was late to class the first day, so I was fortunate enough to land at a table of social failure. There was one girl there named Megan (who, despite her being human-ish, bore a pretty strong resemblance to a pug) who said unequivocally that she wanted to "go to the University of Pennsylvania to be a pediatric oncologist", and was making sure to take the SAT because "more people get into that school with it, so they prefer it". I thought she was ****, until I realized she wasn't. This, kids, is what you don't want to be.
  • unctarheelsunctarheels Registered User Posts: 139 Junior Member
    Don't take as many AP classes as you can possibly cram into one schedule. Focus on doing well in a couple of AP classes rather than overloading and not getting good results. Quality, not quantity.

    Be more outgoing and get involved. Lack of ECs really hurt me, I feel.
  • iborpastaniborpastan Registered User Posts: 202 Junior Member
    I find it strange how I know so many people who want to go into medicine who not only seem sure they want to go into medicine but have a specific specialty in mind before they even enter int a pre-med program. Do they even realize how the whole process of becoming a doctor even works?

    The way you bring her up is a pretty rude. If she's serious about UPenn, she's probably going to visit College Confidential at some point so be careful...
  • FawkesGoldmanFawkesGoldman Registered User Posts: 96 Junior Member
    I know! Actually, my dad's a doctor, a surgeon. He went into his junior year of college not totally sure what he wanted to do, but now loves his 80-hour weeks to death. My point, of course, is that you're just as likely to find something that you love late as you are to guess early as a junior in high school what you could do happily for 40 years.

    Eh, I sat next to her for 45 days of school in that class. At 85 minutes per day, that's 3825 minutes, or more than 60 hours, of my life I'll never get back. I reserve the right to my rudeness.
  • tniemanntniemann Registered User Posts: 170 Junior Member
    Unfortunately I dont have the luxury of knowing, or even being able to think about, who I'm asking for my letter of recommendation in freshman year, because I moved... If I could tell my freshman year self one thing, it would be : Tell your dad you really really really don't want to move to Japan haha
    seriously though,
    ECs! True, they aren't as important as GPA, but my GPA is fine and I'm afraid I'll be rejected from my top school because I have hardly any ECs, because when we moved there was nothing I was interested in.
  • susurroussusurrous Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    to myself:

    smile a bit more in school will you?

    people aren't out to get you. saying hi to them in the hallways instead of avoiding their glances will go a long way.

    don't sleep in school. quit staying up so late.

    apply to more matches.

    actually research schools that you might like and that might fit your major, instead of being so set to going to an ivy league. it will honestly serve you better in the end, and you won't have any regrets.

    ask someone to read your essays. they'll be glad to help. why are you afraid of their opinions? your essays aren't silly! quit worrying about the quality and about whether you are being annoying. you're just a kid. they will not judge you.

    please stop avoiding things. it's only going to make it worse. you'll feel a lot better once you start working, i promise.


    i have a lot of regrets about my college application process. sigh.
  • LaggingLagging Registered User Posts: 1,162 Senior Member
    Biggest thing: stop doing too much! I rarely got home before 10:00 on weekdays because of all my ECs. Even weekends were spent doing ECs. I wish I'd had more time to relax and be a kid. I only had time for friends on weekends and even then it wasn't much time.

    Next biggest thing: ignoring college application process wont make it go away. Taking the SAT, ACT, and subject tests in September is no fun. Lesson learned.

    CALL ON SUPPLEMENTS! Nothing like finding out your deadline is 3 weeks earlier with an arts supplement than the listed EA deadline online 3 days before it's due. That was a panic attack.

    Also, apply early! Best Christmas present ever was knowing where you're going to school
  • flower161flower161 Registered User Posts: 532 Member
    To my junior self:

    DO NOT PROCRASTINATE!! That was the only thing standing in the your way from getting straight A's and doing research in the summer rather than stressing over the SAT/ACT and having mediocre grades.

    DO try to actually wake up for school regardless of how tired you are. Maybe then my teachers would have liked me more.

    Lastly, when you have your mind set on something, stick to it and go for it!!
  • emberjedemberjed Registered User Posts: 1,367 Senior Member
    To my freshman self:

    Just because honors classes are almost as hard as APs at your high school doesn't mean colleges will know that. Go the extra mile - er, couple of blocks - and take APs.

    Yes, it is possible to improve by 7 points from your predicted ACT score from a practice test. It won't happen, though, if you're not in the right mindset.

    Pick two or three clubs and stick with them. People are keeping track.

    You won't always just want to go to a nonselective state school, so work hard to give yourself some options.

    At the end of the day, no one cares how old you were when you had your first girlfriend. There are more important things to worry about.

    Class rank does matter.

    You never know when that B in history will cone back to bite you.
  • fralixjmfralixjm Registered User Posts: 41 New Member
    To my freshman self: take your head out of your ass. Do better in school! This matters!
This discussion has been closed.