Here’s What They Don’t Tell You About the College Process


As a freshman, sophomore, and even a junior I had no idea what the college process was actually like. I heard the words like  “common app” and “Naviance” tossed around frequently but still had absolutely no idea what it all meant. Until your senior year, you don’t realize the immense pressure and competition the college process places on every student. There is a lot that goes on in the senior class that no one on the outside really knows about, so let me try to prepare you for what’s in store for your senior year.


While the college process may seem like a way to bring your class together (since everyone is going through the same thing), the competition that comes with it actually has the capability to tear friends apart. Even though it seems like there are millions of colleges out there, there will definitely be a few people who want to go to the same school as you. When this happens, you immediately start to compare yourself to everyone around you. You begin to wonder what their ACT score is, what they intend to major in, what their GPA is, etc. This is a natural and human thing to do, but don’t let it go far enough to impact your own self-worth. The college process is largely unfair which makes it difficult for the schools to see you as your true self rather than a few numbers, but it is really important that you know that you are more than just an ACT score, and you shouldn’t be trying to compare your worth to others.


Unfortunately, everyone begins to get particularly nosy about who applied to what school and whether they got in or not, even though it is private information. In my personal experience, I applied Early Decision, meaning if you get in you have to go, to my top school, which I absolutely loved. I got really excited about it and started to tell all of my friends even though I knew getting in would be a reach for me. Also, numerous people straight up asked me where I applied simply to make conversation (please don’t do this), and I had no problem telling them. Basically, most of the senior class knew where I applied Early Decision. Then I found out I got rejected. I went through all the stages of grief: depression, anger, acceptance, and then anger again, of course. I was terrified to go to school the next day. I had to see all of the happy people who got into their schools and watch people whispering while looking at me, wondering whether I got in. It was a really difficult day for me. Some people came up and hugged me, many people told me they were sorry, and others just tried not mentioning college to me at all. This experience at school made me realize that I had made a crucial mistake. In my opinion, you should only tell people you really trust where you are applying. Of course, this is totally up to you, but from my experience being open about where you’re applying can have negative impacts.


In general, people need to realize that it is not their place to theorize about who got accepted and who got rejected. The college process is extremely personal and only concerns you. It is also important to know that getting rejected from a school is not the worst thing in the world. It is just the universe telling you that you were meant to go to a different school.


The college process is extremely stressful. You’re taking the most AP classes you’ve ever taken while trying to edit your supplements for the third time, making what seems like the most important decision in your life thus far, trying to figure out what you want to do with your life, and more. It definitely won’t be easy, but I know I have learned a lot of important life lessons through the college process, which is still not over for me. I learned who I can trust, I learned to value privacy, I learned that you should not be offended if you don’t get into a school (colleges just want to improve their statistics), I learned not to compare myself to other people and I learned that I am more than just a number and an essay.


My one major piece of advice to the underclassmen is to trust the process. Even though it may be difficult, you have to trust that it will all work out and you will most likely be happy no matter what college you go to.