Relax, reflect on college apps

Lucy Cao, Online & Opinions Editor

Throughout the college admission process, I was always told how stressful it’d be. How terribly tedious. How strenuous. “Just get it done” they would say.

At the same time, the pressure to get into an increasingly prestigious college has been increasing, and with that the competition to get into that top school has become more and more intense.
Throughout my high school and even middle school years, I have heard countless stories of applicants using less than ethical means to “increase” their chances to get into that top school – ranging from hiring others to write college essays to changing the family name to appear a different race.

All this craziness and dishonesty stems from the gross overestimation of the advantages of ivy-league and top colleges. Sure, the top colleges are great, but they are not suited for everyone. While some students may find that the crazily competitive environment found in mainly top colleges inspiring, other students may be hindered and stunted (and perhaps depressed) by the same environment. A lower tier school might provide the student with more opportunities or less competition for current opportunities.

Rather than focusing on the prestige or ranking of the colleges, applicants should focus on the values – charity, innovation, individualism – of the colleges and the environment the colleges can offer. College admissions officers also want to make sure that their environment is one that will suit their students.

And now that I’ve been viewing the admissions process not as a competition for the highest ranking college, but as a way to figure out where I’ll be for the next chapter – the next four years – of my life, suddenly the admissions process seems much less daunting, more positive, and much more manageable.

Ultimately, the college admissions process is about searching for a college that fits you. It’s about looking into yourself, looking into your future. It’s about wondering what you want to do with your life, how you want to achieve your goals, and then it’s about finding which college will best support you and your ambitions.

So, seniors and future seniors, whether you go to college or decide to pursue another dream, good luck!