Here’s a list of things I’ve learned from my senior year thus far. These are some of the things that I wish I had known before this year started. Hopefully, it’ll help some current juniors out there:)
- Top 10% means automatic acceptance, but not really……. most Texas schools (ahem.. UT) do not guarantee your major. If you’re applying for a highly competitive major (Business or Engineering), there is still the very likely possibility that you won’t get in your major. Also, you still have to go through the strenuous application process for all the schools that you have automatic admissions to. (Remember, Rice is a private school; thus, automatic acceptance does not apply to it)
- Ask teachers for recommendations early! Teachers are busy and you will be too. Don’t let this be an added stress for you or them. Ask around the beginning of the school year. Lots of students will begin to ask the same teachers (cool teachers have a rep). Have everything prepared for your teachers too. Most of them will want to see your resume or ask you for some other information about what you plan to do or where you plan to apply, etc.
- Don’t forget transcripts and test scores and all other fees. You have to order transcripts to be sent to schools. You have to order test scores (SAT & ACT) to be sent to schools. You have to remember to send letters of recommendations as well as all other application costs (this can range from $50 to 100… Good Ole Stanford takes out $90 from your wallet to apply) to be sent to schools. College is a hefty weight on your wallet and it starts before you even get accepted.
- If you’re applying to be an engineering major, APPLY EARLY AT A&M! Engineering is rolling until they hit a specific percent and then they do holistic review. Also, A&M is rolling admissions (UT is not, but it does help to apply early) in general so it will benefit you to apply earlier even if you are not an engineering major.
- Don’t look at College Confidential. Don’t do it. It will make you feel like you’re not capable of getting into any college ever and that you will have to resort to working at McDonald’s for the rest of your life (not that there’s anything wrong with that… McNuggets are the BEST). Seriously, you’ll end up comparing your credentials to every single one of those 2400 SAT scores and then compose your own rejection letter from the University that you have yet to apply to.
- If you happen to decide to join any group that relates to college, (you may not be aware of these now but examples include the UT 2020 Facebook group, the UT Engineering GroupMe group…that’s redundant…., or the Rice 2020 Twitter) then expect to see a flood of other people’s acceptance letters. Try not to let these make you feel bad about life. Be aware… the worst are the schools that send out acceptances in waves because you may end up being one of the few still waiting to hear something/anything from a school when it seems like every single other person has already been accepted.
- Try to ensure that you will be able to exempt your finals for the semester (AKA No Skipping!). Finals week will actually be the most relaxing time in all of high school if you are able to exempt. Take advantage of being able to exempt every single one of your classes.
- Sometimes… it’s okay to allow senioritis to kick in. If you’re unfamiliar with this term, you’ll figure it out soon enough. This just means if you’re like me and you get anxious over every test and stress over every project, it’s okay to let loose and allow yourself to relax a little bit. Grades really aren’t as important this year. However, this doesn’t mean… leave your sonnet project until the last minute and find yourself working on it at three in the morning even after using of your extension. The saying “Pay Now, Play Later or Play Now, Pay Later” still applies.
- Senior year fall semester can suck a little bit (or a LOT). There are the few students that will have their college apps already submitted by August 1st as soon as the ApplyTexas App opens, but most people will be learning to be magicians and try the balancing act of school work, college apps and friendships. Most likely your balancing trick will fail, but fortunately, picking up the pieces is feasible. It just takes a lot of patience and not stressing. Stressing leads to lashing out at friends, making stupid errors on applications, and forgetting about tests.
- This time of year has been the most stressful for some. Friendships will be questioned and some may even end, but it is also a time of growth. You’ll realize that this is not the end-all be-all. College acceptances do not measure your intelligence or worth. If you are accepted, Congrats! The admissions office at some university saw something special in you. If you get rejected, you will be okay and you will figure something out. Some random person at an admissions office who doesn’t think you are qualified for their school doesn’t say anything about who you are as a person. You still have the ability to be just as successful in life. And, who is to say that high school and college achievements are the measure of success?