Plan For College

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

5 Ways to Survive the College Admissions Process

While it’s theoretically impossible to chew fingernails all the way down to the elbows, the college admissions process is enough to make some applicants try. The college admissions essay, paperwork, FAFSA and the personal interview combine as an experience that you’re sure you might not survive. External pressures can overwhelm you if they become greater than your internal resources. Build and exercise those internal resources so that you have the strength to meet and withstand the process.




Know Who You Are

If you don’t know who you are inside, it's going to be difficult to communicate to others who decide if they want you at their school. A common question that admissions counselors or the college admissions essay asks is: “Tell me about you.” It’s open-ended for a reason – they want to see how well you’ve begun that journey of discovery that moves people from adolescence to mature adult. Anticipate the question, and give more than a superficial answer. Don’t be afraid to delve deep inside to find out just who you really are.

Know What You Want

The college admissions process is made worse if the school is a bad fit for what you really want, either academically or socially. For example, if you’re highly introverted, you may be more comfortable applying to a college with a sizable student body so that it’s easier to get lost in the crowd. Or, you may prefer to go to a smaller, cozier college to help you overcome your shyness. This is also true for colleges that cater to specialty programs like photography schools or graphic design programs. Certain universities that are known for a specific programs often embrace the culture that comes with it. Applying to a college that is wrong for what you want is guaranteed to ratchet up the tension and make the process difficult.

Go Into It Prepared

More information makes it easier to survive the college admissions process. Books from Amazon.com like Don't Stalk the Admissions Officer: How to Survive the College Admissions Process without Losing Your Mind by Risa Lewak and Admission Matters: What Students and Parents Need to Know About Getting into College by Sally P. Springer give solid, real world advice about what you need to do, when to do it, and how to do it. Discuss the admissions process at your desired school with older friends and family who are already there. Know the specifics, never assume that you have the process down pat, and never take shortcuts.

Be Ready For Speed Bumps

Survival is not the only goal in a college admissions process. Winning acceptance is the ultimate victory. Know that there probably will be detours, hiccups, changes and even U-turns. Lost papers, misunderstanding of directions or requests and dropped connections all hamper the smooth processing of your application. Stay flexible, change what is not working and don’t let the problems bog you down into despair or paralysis.

Have A Backup Plan

Life doesn’t always give us what we want – and it can be hurtful to know that you’ve failed to obtain acceptance to the college. A backup plan doesn’t ease the hurt, but it does allow you to move on with your life instead of feeling cast off into a ditch. With all the bets on “Plan A” and no “Plan B,” the process can become too nerve-wracking for survival. With a backup plan in place you can afford to look life in the eye, and even laugh in its face if necessary. Plan B may never give you all you want, but winning is sometimes measured by surviving the process with your honor and dignity intact.

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17 comments:

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