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i need help on my college essays plsss

ineedhelpinsineedhelpins 1 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
I'm currently a rising sophomore but I've already started to really stress about getting into college. I want to apply to ivy league as I have pretty respectable extracurriculars and a 3.9 gpa. I'm just very unsure of what to write in my college application letters. I've had a pretty dysfunctional family and a pretty rough childhood which I'm not sure I should write about. I also have a condition called aphantasia which isn't anything impairing but it is significant to me and makes me very unique as less than 2% of the population has it so it sets me apart. It is the inability to imagine. I would talk about how it has shaped me and my thinking differently than most people. Do you think that this is a good idea? If not do you have any other ideas for application idea topics?
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Replies to: i need help on my college essays plsss

  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Do not worry about this during sophomore year. An essay topic chosen sophomore year tends to be less mature and interesting. Don’t worry about college except for getting good grades and ECs you like for now. Once you have junior year test scores and a solid list of safety, match, and reach schools that you’d be happy to attend, then focus on on your essays. You are stressing for no benefit right now.
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  • aquaptaquapt 1972 replies37 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I would suggest starting a notebook where you can record your ideas and capture inspirations that you have over the next couple of years. Don't stress at this stage about hammering those ideas into a finished product - just brainstorm, collect recollections and anecdotes and quotations and references that might be useful, jot down possible themes and topics, and use this as a receptacle and an incubator for what you'll want to write later. This will help things to come together later on, as you look back on the trajectory of your thinking. Hopefully putting these thoughts down on paper will help you to feel more in control and less stressed, as you see that you have plenty of good ideas to work with.

    I think your aphantasia could make a really interesting lens for discussing your life experiences. It would take a certain finesse to explain in clearly in a way that captures the reader's interest and brings *you* into focus as a person (not the condition itself as a focal point or a badge of uniqueness in itself), but it *could* work. Then again, you might decide that something else would make a stronger Personal Statement topic, while you might still use your aphantasia for other prompts - for example, some schools ask for a short essay on how you'll contribute to their school's diversity. Stick with divergent thinking for now - the time for your thinking to converge will come later.

    I would encourage you not to be too "Ivy" focused, though. Those are just 8 colleges, united by an athletic league and a self-perpetuating level of exclusivity. They're great schools, but there are many others that could be as great or better for you. Since you're starting early, the best thing you can do to make this process healthy is to start building a college list "from the bottom up" by finding potential match and safety schools that you can genuinely love, so that you don't go into the process feeling like your life will be ruined if you don't get into a college with a 6% admit rate.

    Also have a talk with your parents about your financial situation and figure out what kind of schools will work best for you money-wise - will you qualify for need-based aid? Will you need merit scholarships to make more expensive schools affordable? Will your in-state public options be the best deal for you? Only your particular financial info will answer this question. Run the Net Price Calculators for schools in different categories and see what your out-of-pocket will look like at each, and how that compares to your actual resources. There's no sense "falling in love" with schools that are totally not going to work financially, so start getting a sense of how that's going to look, earlier rather than later, so that you invest your emotional energy wisely.

    Also think about what you're most interested in studying, and what kind of physical and social environment you'd like to live in. You're starting a little early, thinking about all this, but that's okay if you make good use of the time by really reflecting on who you are and what you want, and familiarizing yourself with a wide range of options. And also remember to live in the present and enjoy *being* yourself, where you are right now. :)
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9239 replies496 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    This is too early. You have a lot of living to experience and trying to think about a topic now if pointless. If you want to continue to pursue this idea, I suggest a notebook that you can jot down a thought or two in, when you feel like it. Make it small, put it in your backpack or wallet.

    You and everyone else wants to apply to Ivy League. The best thing to do between now and senior year is get a good college guidebook and start looking at the other wonderful colleges out there. You are setting yourself up for stress and disappointment. I suggest Fisk’s, Princeton Review, or the USNWR guide to colleges.

    If you aren’t already aware, let me be the first the explain something. You need great grades and test scores to even get to the gate of an Ivy League school, and you’ll be at that gate with thousands of others. They don’t care about “good ECs.” They care about genuine interest in the things you do, they care bout what makes you a better candidate than the next kid with good grades and good ECs, they care about the whole picture you present. All that nonsense about spikes versus well-roundedness is, in fact, just one small part of the “magic formula” that none but the admissions committee will ever know. They look at everything in your app. There is no one thing that will get you into HYPSM, barring being Malala, a gifted recruited athlete, or erecting a library on campus.

    Your plan going forward should be to find colleges you would be happy to attend that you can actually get into. All other colleges are icing on the cake.
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  • ineedhelpinsineedhelpins 1 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    i meant to say junior y'all oops. But thank you your advice was still very good and I'll keep it in mind this year! Thank you!
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  • aquaptaquapt 1972 replies37 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Rising junior still means you're a sophomore now, right?

    It's not crazy-early to be thinking about this stuff, so long as you can keep the cart before the horse and make sure that you are "doing you" and looking for "fit" in the college search process, not losing yourself in the quest to become what you think some "dream school" wants. That's the biggest danger in becoming too college-application-focused too early, IMHO.

    Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I was in an unhappy home situation and became focused on college as my source of hope for the future. I think I memorized the entire Insiders' Guide in 8th grade. So I really know how looking ahead can become the thing that gets you through high school, and that's okay as far as it goes. But I also focused way too much on prestige, and ended up at a "trophy school" (it was far easier in those days) whose extreme academic demands actually worked in opposition to the whole "finally having my own life and becoming my own person" dream that I had lived for. If I had it to do over again, I would still go to a *good* school, but to one with better work-life balance than the one I chose. Not to equate your situation to mine, because it could be very very different - just a data point. There is so much more to the college experience than bragging rights.
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  • scandalpkscandalpk 8 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Do not worry about this during sophomore year.
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  • bjkmombjkmom 7941 replies158 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The essay you would write as a sophomore most probably won't reflect the "you" who is applying to schools in 18 months.

    So file the idea away and revisit it the summer after your junior year.
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  • damon30damon30 1147 replies5 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @ineedhelpins How did you get a diagnosis of aphantasia? According to the wikipedia page, it's not a recognized condition and there's been next to no research on it. I would avoid it as a college essay topic, unless you want the adcoms scratching their heads wondering what you are talking about. You only have 650 words for the common app essay, so use them well.
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