When I decided in 2005 to attend college, I did all of the things necessary to be sure I was prepared to go. I took my SAT exam and the ACT, just to be sure I had a good enough score. Through a lot of persistence and tears, I managed to suffer through first semester introductory calculus and pass.
When I went to submit my application (it was on paper back then), I left a lot of what I was doing to my school counselor. I gave her my information, quickly filled in the boxes, signed my name and handed it off to be sent to the university.
What I didn’t realize was that I hadn’t included my personal essay, a requirement of this particular university. After months of not hearing a word from them, I finally received a letter in the mail detailing that my application was incomplete and therefore could not be accepted. In all my hard work, and all my combing through details, I neglected to take the time and really read the application and the requirements. I knew that I had a strong personal statement of why I wanted to attend this particular university, but there was no way they would ever know my drive without that one piece of paper.
I decided to resubmit my application because I had fortunately originally applied well before the deadline. I sat and wrote a very thoughtful essay on why I wanted to attend the college and begrudgingly paid the application fee, again. The waiting game began yet again, checking the mailbox and answering machine on the home phone. Finally a small letter came. I was not accepted to the university after all.
I can’t help but wonder if my second attempt was not accepted not because of my grades or even the essay, but that I failed to follow directions. Following my experience with this application, I have found that I read things much more carefully and even take notes. It is very easy when looking at a big document to ignore things that don’t seem very important. The details make all the difference.
Fortunately, I had applied to several other universities which didn’t require a personal statement and was graciously accepted into one, based on the condition that I pass that last pesky term of Calculus.