College apps: start the grind early

Shelby Lex, Editor-In-Chief

Yes, we were advised countless times to get a head start on college applications. Yes, we were told numerous times how college applications would take a long time to fill out. And yes, we were warned how this would be a stressful time and organization would be critical. But regardless of the warnings, reminders and nudges, applying to colleges still came as a shock.

Making the college chart in our English classes junior year, expanding this chart over the summer, and signing up for the Common Application, the process seemed relatively simple. Quickly glancing at the six pages of what would be required to fill-out, I incorrectly assumed that the simplicity of the questions would equate to easiness.

Now, two months into school and still working on applying to colleges before the November Early-Action deadline, I’m suddenly realizing just how much effort college applications require. It’s not that the questions are difficult to answer; it’s the sheer number of questions that have to be answered and trying to express yourself in the most accurate, yet most descriptive way possible. It’s the painstakingly tedious questions, filling out your full legal name, birthdate, test scores, class rank, activities etc., etc., where you feel like you’ve just wasted valuable hours of your life.

Then, thinking you’ve made it through the worst part of it, you reach the dreaded essay portion. Thinking of how to answer the generic question about a time where you experienced failure for colleges to see you as a unique and desirable candidate is like trying to remember a motif in Act II of Macbeth and explaining the thematic significance of that motif in 650 words. While a lucky few may have the perfect anecdote to capture the development of their character in high school, most of us are not as fortunate.

All of this thinking and writing, just like everyone said it would, takes a lot of time. But with school and extra-curricular activities, you don’t have a lot of time to spare.

So for the juniors, and even the underclassmen who don’t think this applies to them yet, don’t make the same mistakes seniors each year make and ignore this warning: college applications creep up on you fast, so plan ahead. Don’t wait to the last minute, you will quickly regret it. Trust me.