A student’s guide to preparing for college


Samantha Petersen, Editor-in-Chief

As you have likely heard, several juniors and a handful of overachieving sophomores received their ACT scores this week. Naturally, discussion of the ACT is accompanied by discussion of something even more exhilarating: college. Though the admissions process has been referred to by some college students as, “super ******* stressful,” I can assure you that it is probably much worse than they say. Luckily, as a student approaching college myself, I have plenty of unsolicited advice and unsubstantiated information to offer you.

Step One: Research

Research is no doubt the most important part of the “college process,” considering that there are thousands upon thousands of colleges and universities in the United States alone. I recommend investing all of your free time into looking at each and every one. I spend approximately three hours a day browsing websites and forums, continuously reminding myself of how inadequate my GPA and ACT score render me in comparison to other students. I find it to be a very humbling and enjoyable process, honestly. The daily hit to my self-esteem keeps me in line.

Step Two: Mind Over Matter

I won’t deny that the search for the perfect college can be grueling and overwhelming at times, which is exactly why I recommend scheduling designated periods in which you allow yourself the luxury of a good old-fashioned breakdown. I find two, ten-minute time slots per week to be sufficient, but feel free to adjust based on your emotional needs. If it’s motivation you’re lacking, remember this: if you don’t get into college, you’re not going anywhere in life! That one always does the trick for me.

Step Three: Applications/Letters of Recommendation

Applications are typically said to be the most dreadful part of the process, but I personally disagree. You finally(!!!) get something out of all of the miserable extra-curricular activities you’ve done throughout the past three years. There is nothing more rewarding than writing down the various clubs, teams, and rigorous academic programs you’re a part of on a sheet of paper for a college admissions office to glance at and be unimpressed by. Since your application and college entrance essays definitely will not be enough, you’ll need a pretty remarkable letter of recommendation, too. I suggest asking your teacher of choice to write one for you the afternoon that it’s due. I find that my teachers really appreciate having absolutely no notice, and I suspect they would be more than happy to write and send their remarks to the selected university before the 11:59 p.m. deadline.

Step Four: Submissions

Submitting an application is quite simple, what’s difficult is waiting to hear back. However, a true opportunist knows how to make the most of the wait time. Not only is it a period of reflection, it’s the ideal situation for developing a stomach ulcer.

Step Five: Accepted or Rejected

When the time finally comes to rip open that long-awaited letter, just know that what’s inside is going to affect your life enormously. If you make it into your dream school, congratulations! You can finally start sleeping again. If not, don’t worry too much. The world isn’t ending, your life just is. Resort to step one.


(DISCLAIMER: I am a huge advocate of post-secondary education, and I do not recommend actually following any of the previously mentioned steps. At all. Please, do not take this seriously.)