What a terrifying experience applying for college is. Putting yourself out there, being evaluated by tons of accredited professionals, the whole ordeal can cause one to scream and run for the hills!
On the brink of my exciting journey into secondary education, I received tons of advice from college veterans, most of which was conveyed via a personal horror experience. My mother cautioned me against putting in too many long hours, otherwise I may start to forget things, “Like forgetting to send in your essay you have worked on for days,” as she did.
I have an aunt who almost had to wait an entire extra year to start college because she thought that application “due dates” were dates they started accepting applications, as opposed to the dates when they stopped. A friend of mine accidentally sent her essay meant for a hometown “backup” school to the Ivy League University she had been dying to attend all high school. They actually accepted her, but teasingly asked her in the interview if they could know what she actually thought about them.
All these stories just rang out one big message to me: You are going to embarrass yourself when you apply for college. My application process, however, became embarrassing because of my fear. I only applied to one school, despite there being tons of good programs out there, like the health informatic track at the University of Illinois , it had so many possible graduation paths. But I was terrified that I would screw everything up if I had to apply to more than one. I remember there was another University I secretly wanted to attend, I had written them down as one of the schools to send my test scores to. They called me, asking if I had any questions about the application process and would I like to set up a time to come out and visit campus? It was states away and I was extremely poor, but I was so stunned that I said, “Sure, I’ll just need to confirm some dates with my work,” after which I ended the conversation and never called them back. They called two more times. I never answered.
There was no real reason for my intense fear of applying. The whole point of college is to explore and see what is out there. Application evaluators know we’re human, and also know we’re nervous. I had a fantastic University experience attending the University of Utah, but come grad school application time, I feel excited to dive out there, make mistakes, and maybe wind up at some college where I accidentally mark the wrong gender.