My college application process was like a bowl of sweet and sour chicken (which by the way according to my Chinese roommate is not real Chinese food, but nonetheless) because it was both exciting and bitter at times. Luckily however I made it through and so I learned a few things that would have been much more useful had I known them prior to applying to college. Being a first generation college student I found the mere thought of college daunting because I had no one to guide me through the necessary steps of applying. However my light at the end of my tunnel came in the form of Ms. Salazar, my guidance counselor, who provided me with the necessary tools for college applications. I believe the best piece of advice she gave me was to always have back-ups or safety schools. However I have to say that at first I was very skeptical of this, I was a dreamer, a dreamer with one goal: Brown, and so at first I did not bother applying to safety schools or basically a school that I knew I could get into. BIG MISTAKE!!
I applied to Brown in November, through Early Action: which is basically applying early and a decision is made about one’s application in February. If it is possible , I recommend applying to a college of your choice through Early Action because it provides a great deal of insight into the application process, and a response is made by February. My fear of being denied led me to take guidance counselor’s advice and create backups; this in turn provided a great deal of support for me later on, as it gave me confidence in moments where I thought I wasn’t going to make it into college. And so the bitter part about applying to college for me and I suspect many others is getting denied, it feels like a flat out rejection! But one must always stay strong and have hope because the unexpected does happen, I wasn’t expecting to attend BU and by a twist of fate I ended up here in beautiful Boston! I think that is one of the sweetest moment in the application process, when the unexpected occurs.
One last thing that is good to know when applying to college, which is sure to give a touch of sweetness and happiness to many students, is federal financial aid. If you do not apply for financial aid, you are only cheating yourself ! With the incoming of the new year, 2012, FAFSA opens it’s doors, well not literally doors but you know what I mean. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and it is a government organization that gives money to students based on household income and a few other factors. The money given by the government is a grant, and so it does not have to be repaid, and since it is on a national level, if you choose to attend an out of state college the grant is still valid, how sweet! So every student should definitely take advantage of the FAFSA and fill it out every year. Oh and one more thing, apply for scholarships , they are quick, easy and simple! I applied to about 20 and got one, but I am very content with the one I got =), even though it might seem bitter at times scholarships are a great way to earn some money for school, because books are expensive children! Overall my college application process was like a bowl of sweet and sour chicken, yum, because there were moments that were very frustrating and emotional but then there were good moments, sweet moments that make the college ride well worth it, so hang in there!