I recently got a letter in the mail from a school I’m thinking about applying to. It went through the usual routine of trying to seem like it was a personal letter to me, making tiny jokes so they can be seen as fun without losing credibility as a serious academic, establishing that they have an incredible student to faculty ratio and then including how many acres the campus is (as though I even know how to measure things in acres…), and then, right towards the end it told me about where to go to apply for the fall 2013 semester. I thought to myself, Ha! The fools don’t even know I won’t be applying then…
I think it was a full ten minutes later that I realized I would be going to college (hopefully) in fall of 2013. Another couple minutes after that and I realized that the time for thinking about college applications and where I want to go is running out fast.
Little did I know that while I was out partying (reading) all spring break, my friends (friend) were going to visit the colleges they had already been considering. Too bad I was so busy (again, reading) the whole time to even think about going anywhere.
I know how much I say college is going to be great and high school is kind of a drag, but honestly, college is scary. Not just being away from home-which has its own bittersweet taste- but actually putting yourself out there to places you dream of going is terrifying. I’m applying to NYU, the big step on my way to becoming a journalist in New York, and I know that wherever I go I’ll have fun, and learn great things and all that- but I still can’t see any other colleges behind the great looming epitome of everything I want that is New York University. Ignore the forty grand a year tuition and it matches everything I want in a school.
Unfortunately, it’s NYU, which means there are a good other hundred thousand kids who also want to go there.
So now suddenly there is this scramble for bumping up my GPA, and finding out which scholarships I can apply for and what my SAT score needs to be- and it’s, well, rough. Now with the grade inflation, economic deflation, and increased college population, every B grade is like a sock to the stomach, each less than perfect score practically spitting on me. So maybe it’s not that bad but before I didn’t mind getting an eight out of ten on a homework assignment and now I actually stress over getting anything less than an A.
It’s really very extremely not fun.
Then we come to the most intimidating factor- what chance do I have to stand out from everyone else who has better grades, does more extracurricular activities, has a killer SAT score? The only answer: The terrible college essay. This is all I can hope to do, to sell myself to this college. From what I can gather the trick is to describe some life altering mind blowing moment that shaped who you are today. Or some other stereotypical prompt. This is really our only shot, us of the decent grades and slightly above average SAT scores, this is our way to swim to the top of the ocean of applicants, to make us recognizable.
But do me a favor any other applicants out there, could you dumb yours down just a little bit? For me?