I rushed home right after my tennis match and sprinted to my mailbox. With shaking hands and thousands of butterflies in my stomach, I opened my mailbox. There it was, a single golden envelope, the content inside would either crush me or give me a sense of accomplishment that I had been working toward my entire high school career. I grabbed the envelope, tore it open, read the first line and burst into tears. I had done it. All of my hard work and dedication had finally paid off. I was admitted entrance to my dream school, the University of Washington.
As a first generation college student, applying for college was something that I was unfamiliar with, I just knew that I wanted to go to college. There are many helpful tips and resources that helped me apply for college and ultimately get accepted into my dream school, the University of Washington. When applying to colleges, you never want to apply to just one; you should apply to at least three. The three kinds of colleges you should apply to are called the safety, the match, and the reach. The safety college is a college you apply to that you are for sure to be accepted in, this ensures that you will get the opportunity to attend a college of any kind. The match school is a college you wish to attend where you have a pretty fair shot of getting in. The reach school is a college you apply for that you may not be accepted in, it is a college you are reaching for.
When looking at colleges, a website that really helped me out was collegeboard.org. This had every single college in the United States listed in their database with lots of helpful information such as the acceptance rate, the location, average SAT scores, etc. On this website I was able to look at a broad range of colleges that I was interested in attending and was able to do my research on them. CollegeBoard also allowed me to register for the SAT’s, a test that we were required to take in order to apply to pretty much any university.
Not only did I apply to public universities, I applied to private ones as well. Admissions for the private colleges work differently. Instead of filling out a different application for every private school that I wished to apply for, they had something called the Common Application. This was one application you filled out that would be used as your application for any private university you wished to apply for. But, for private colleges, keep in mind that they may require different tests other than the standardized SAT’s. Some may require SAT subject tests or the ACT. Colleges will have different requirements and deadlines so make sure to keep track of those dates!
I know from first-hand experience that applying to college is one of the most stressful times one can go through. My advice is to take a deep breath and just take things one at a time. This is a crucial point in your life; it sets the groundwork for your future so make sure you try your hardest. All the personal statements, standardized tests, waiting, researching, time, and effort spent into applying to colleges is hard, but the outcome and that amazing feeling of accomplishment when you get your acceptance letter to your dream school is something that you’ll never forget. In the end, it’s all worth it.