Her future depended simply on a piece of paper

As she drove home from school the day admittance letters were due to arrive, one question rang in her head: Did her dream school deny or admit her? This one question then sparked numerous others that caused a feeling of anxiety. Was her application good enough? Did she do everything she could during her four years of schooling? What more could she have done? Will she have to settle for her second or third choice school?

PC: thebridgeblog.org

PC: thebridgeblog.org

Next thing she knew, she was in the middle of a flashback to the first day she signed in for the first application. It was the middle of the summer prior to her senior year, and while sitting on the Pacific, she pulled out her computer to begin the process that would decide the rest of her life.

The application information section was scary simple she thought. It was basic information like birth date, address, and family schooling. Questions on a few pieces of paper dictated whether a student was admitted, and this was all they wanted to know? As she continued, her frustration rose, so she had to shut the computer for the summer in hope that the school year would bring a fresh mindset on the application process.

Ding ding ding! Day one of her senior year had officially begun. As she walked through the memory filled halls, she knew her first class was going to require her to open up her computer again to revisit the applications that had previously caused her such anxiety. She told herself to take a deep breath, open the computer, log in to the applications, and go straight to the essays. It was her goal to avoid the basic, non-expressive portions of the applications. This decision made her laugh out loud because she had just made the choice to take on the most difficult part of the applications first.

Type, type, type, type, BACKSPACE, type, type is how it went as she sat in the library for hours trying to figure out what colleges desired to know about her. The essay was where she could express herself in order to make sure colleges really knew who she was, yet she had no idea what was most important for the schools to know. Should she write about a talent? A story about a coming of age moment? A story about a problem she overcame? The choice of which essay to write felt like a big leap of faith. She knew the choice would simply come down to two factors: what was it about herself that she needed to let the colleges know and what topic was most comfortable for her to write about.

First draft complete. Now, the process of waiting for edits had begun. To fill her time, she began the college specific short answer questions. For example, one of her schools requested to know why their school was a great fit for her. This was the second place she could express herself to each school, but it would have to be a little more covertly. Back to the keyboard she went to try and give her application that extra kick it would need to gain the stamp of acceptance.

Concurrently to making the edits advisors sent her on the essays, she reviewed her test scores from junior year. She needed the highest score on the tests in order to gain the most amount of scholarship money. The realization hit that she would need to take a last minute test. Her applications could not be sent in until that test was taken and the scores had been sent back. Everything was put on hold to study!

Test day slowly came and went for her. Her advisors asked how the test went, and, of course, she said it went well but she didn’t want to jinx the results. Over the course of the next few weeks she spent her time perfecting every aspect of her applications because she could not submit them until the scores came in. This waiting process taught her a lot about her patience level to say the least.

With the scores in and applications complete, the time came to hit the quite intimidating submit button. For months she had worked on these applications to make them as perfect as possible. As soon as she hit the button, all the work and stress and frustration was over. 1, 2, 3 click. The anxiety of not knowing the college’s response had begun with just the click of a button.

Now all she could do was wait. The only way to keep her anxious mind busy was to focus on anything that had to do with college, so during those two to three months of waiting, she filled her time writing an abundance of scholarship essays. She felt it was time to do as much as she could to take the pressure off her parents since they had blessed her her entire life.  

Pulling into the driveway, her heart rate sped up. Ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom. The mailbox was full, but all she cared about was the letter stuck in the middle. She closed her eyes and went for it. She. Got. In!!!! She ran into the house and the celebrations began. This is a feeling she will never forget nor will she probably ever experience again.

The she in this passage is the majority of seniors who made the decision to apply to college. Many students are applying to hundreds of colleges every year and going through the same process. She prevailed through the frustration and anxiety just like everyone else applying to college can and will too.

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