(High School Insider)

Education

Column: College application advice

Applying to college can be a daunting task.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/yenbianca/" target="_self">Bianca Yen</a>

Bianca Yen

May 11, 2022
As the school year is coming to an end, every student is closing a chapter of their life — whether it is graduating from high school or middle school or just finishing a grade. Personally, I am graduating high school in just less than a month and have already committed to a college that I will be going to for the next four years. 

Before being admitted to colleges and committing to a college, I had to go through the process of college application like all seniors planning to go to college. I applied to all the UC schools, and seven private schools in California. I committed to the University of California, Berkeley. Although college applications may seem overwhelming and stressful, here are a few pieces of advice from my personal experience that may help you.

First of all, as everyone says, the earlier you start the better. If you are a junior, the UC essay prompts are usually available in the summer, so start writing your UC essays during the summer before the fall of your senior year. This will then give you more time to write specific essays for private colleges if you are planning to apply to them, whose prompts don’t come out until the fall season.

If you are a sophomore, you can also start looking at the UC essays and see which ones you can write about. Being able to study the essay prompts early on can give you an idea of what you can write about and what activities you may need to start so you can write about it.

I personally started writing my UC essays during the summer right after junior year. Finishing them earlier definitely allowed me to spend more time on private college essays in the fall and enjoy the beginning of senior year.

Another piece of advice is to sign up for community college classes throughout high school, especially if you do not know what major you want to pursue. Community colleges have a variety of career-related classes that are probably not offered at your high school. Given this, I highly suggest you look into community college classes to explore what you want to major in.

Taking these classes also prepares you for college and earns you college credit, saving you time and money later on. Personally, I took a few psychology classes and a few accounting-related classes, which allowed me to realize that I do not really like psychology and instead enjoy accounting more. Because of these classes, I am interested in majoring in business, including studying accounting.

As you complete all the admissions requirements and start filling out the applications, it’s important to keep in mind that college applications are supposed to be about you. It is not supposed to be about the “perfect” version of you.

These college admission officers want to see the real you and not a false and insincere picture of you that you create. If you create a perfect version of yourself and lie on your application, you are at risk of not getting accepted because your application will likely sound insincere.

Also, if you can and have the time, apply to as many colleges as you want. Giving yourself more options is always good, instead of limiting yourself to a few. 

Overall, I hope these few pieces of advice can help you in some way. At the end of the day, what matters is what you do with your education, and not the college you got into or go to. Every college is amazing, and in order to be successful, you need to put the effort in when you get there.