I have finally finished the college process. I wish I knew a lot of things. Couldn’t afford a college counselor. I think it’s messed up seeing the disparity in college decisions between those could vs couldn’t afford college counselors. So here is my advice.
- If you know/think you are going to be on a pre-professional track (pre-vet, pre-med, pre-law) you can pretty much be ANY major in undergrad as long as you fill out the requirements. Therefore, do NOT limit yourself to schools that only have an Animal Science or Pre-Vet major, for instance, because your list will be VERY limited to pretty much only huge state schools. Don’t be afraid to apply to a school that doesn’t have that exact major. Though majoring in a pre prof major does have its perks, do not under any circumstances overlook all the other aspects of a college (LOCATION, vibe, etc) simply because it doesn’t have a pre-prof major.
- LOCATION is more important than you think. Or maybe I’m the only one who underestimated this. Because seriously, you are going to be LIVING at this place for some time and you wanna make sure that there is stuff to do there that is of interest to you. I can’t emphasize this enough. Please consider location!!!
- Try and get your common app essay done over the summer, and try to write it like any other English essay (at least for me, I psyched myself out and I think if I had just treated it like a normal English assignment I would’ve been better off)
- Acceptance rates are PLUMMETING. Really visualize your rejections because it will save you some hurt. Apply to top schools that you like but ALSO apply to SAFETIES THAT YOU LIKE (!!!) and make sure that everywhere you apply is somewhere you would be excited to go to. I recommend applying to around 12 schools. ONLY APPLY TO SCHOOLS THAT YOU LIKE. please.
- No one tells you this… CHOOSING WHICH COLLEGE YOU COMMIT TO CAN BE THE MOST STRESSFUL PART (especially if you are unable to visit campuses cuz of covid). Literally I had like so many panic attacks during the last weeks of April because of the decision. You will get your decisions back by late March-ish (this year the last of them were in early April) and then in one month’s time, you will need to commit to one of them. As soon as you get your decisions, start making pro and con lists and eliminating options so that, by your last decision, you are working within a smaller pool of choices. On a realistic note, this is probably one of the biggest decisions that you have ever made (and one that I personally think is too big of a decision for 17 y/os or 18 y/os) so you don’t want it to be rushed.
- In April, once you have all your decisions and maybe even have chosen the school, there is a very real possibility that you will feel scared and overwhelmed and disappointed and regretful and not very excited to go to college. Meanwhile, virtually everyone else will seem VERY excited to leave for college. You might feel lonely because of this fact or misunderstood. LISTEN TO YOUR FEELINGS and no one else’s. Maybe you aren’t ready to leave the nest quite yet, and that is really truly okay. You are still VERY YOUNG!!! Again, you never want to rush a decision that is so impactful. A gap year is a great thing and almost no one who takes one regrets it. ---- at the same time, though, remember that everyone may seem very happy with the college they’re going to and seem excited but they are all at least a LITTLE scared ---- I’m actually taking a gap year myself and then going to Amherst as class of 2026 so perhaps I’ll see some of you there. At the end of my gap year, I will be sure to post my advice relating to that because as you can see I love giving advice.
- Once you get accepted to places, I recommend reaching out to people on Facebook and Instagram (I personally really don’t like Snapchat but I know a lot of people talk on there too). For a while I had this idea in my head that I didn’t want to talk to people or post in the groups but it’s actually really fun and entertaining and who cares if it’s scary!!
- International schools (at least in Canada) are much cheaper and in hindsight, it would’ve been cool to apply to one of those.