The Welcome Manual, Step 2
Still, when I ask current freshmen to reflect on their admission process, I’m surprised by their misconceptions of the basic elements. Either these were not well communicated, not really heard (despite a lot of nodding heads when I look out into audiences), or perhaps not believed. I’m still working on my “trust me” hand sign, but I have to admit: it’s frustrating to know there is still so much misinformation and misunderstanding. And to be honest, often these conversations are with kids whose parents attended college, and who have access to college counselors in their high schools. That being said, it worries me to think about students who are in schools with student:counselor ratios of nearly 500:1 (the– disturbing– national average).
In Part 1 of The Welcome Manual, we talked about separating yourself in your writing– being you, conveying your passions, and looking at your essays and supplements like an interview. Today we are going to hit on another “lesson learned” or “wish I’d known” from college freshmen who have just gone through the admission process.
Since The Common Application opens August 1, let’s walk through this together (cue the dream sequence).
August 1-3: You create a username and login. You quickly knock out your name, address, date of birth, and overall biographical information. Maybe you get slightly delayed for an evening or two while finding out mom or dad’s work address or details on length of citizenship in your state– but this section is pretty straightforward (note: if you find questions such as address or middle name difficult, please see your school counselor immediately).
August 8 (being generous): You come to the extra- curricular portion. Let’s allow some time to consider and deliberate over the order to list these activities. “Will they think it’s more impressive that I played cul-de-sac whiffleball or was awarded ‘Bee of the Month’ for April as Applebee’s hostess?” Again, however, that section is pretty straight forward. Couple nights and DONE– because effectively it is what it is.
August 12: Understandably, when you get to the essays and supplements, you are going to need some time (although, many college freshmen say they actually wrote those over the summer, which we advise.) You write, revise, edit, solicit an editor or two, remind the editor to do their job, consider those edits, revise. This process should take a month, max.
Mid- September: Students I talked to said they hit some delays in making a few college visits or determining exactly which schools to apply to. Or, they had a big test or project that kept them from immediately submitting, so we will account for that.
Oct 1: Submit. Done.
Does reality follow the schedule above? Nope. Students said they just just sat on their applications… and admitted they sat on them way too long. They sat and sat. They ate and slept and went on an occasional date, and then they sat some more. If the application were an egg, it would have long since hatched and then been crushed by mama for not moving.
My question: “WHY?” Most said they were nervous– anxious about being judged. I also heard, “I thought I might realize something was missing” or “that I might want to add something to improve it.”
ME: “Ok. So did you?”
They said: “No.” And similarly they unanimously said how relieved they were once they finished and could move on with their senior year. Now they had time to focus more on their senior grades, or on Homecoming, or simply on not sitting.
I’m just reporting what I’ve heard (and adding a few occasionally cheesy parentheticals). But here’s the bottom line: Knock it out and send it in! And tell your friends. “See Sitting, Say Something.” #ssss — it’s a thing.
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