It’s that lovely time of year again—college application time! I wasn’t a very active applicant in high school, mostly because I already knew I was going to go to BC. But this year, I’m applying to 12 schools and I’ve genuinely never been more terrified of anything in my life.
I don’t know what scares me the most about college applications, I mean, I’m basically just filling out paperwork. The application itself isn’t very complicated; it’s tedious, but not complicated. It’s also hepful that one application can serve more than one school, saving a significant amount of time. It’s the personal statement that leaves me shaking and sputtering like I’ve just been attacked by a clan of giant spiders. Yes, I have to write fewer statements as well, but that doesn’t make them any less scary.I know exactly why I want to pursue the degree and then career of my choice. I know exactly what I’ve overcome and how hard I’ve worked to deserve a spot at any university of my choice. Put it in a 1000 characters (seriously?! Characters? Way to complicate things, apps)? Yeah, suddenly I’m not so sure of anything anymore.
I spent four months writing my first cover letter. Four months. I had over 30 versions on my computer in addition to an entire notebook filled from beginning to end.
I have since decreased that time to an hour, but even so; writing about myself is definitely not my forte. I don’t think it’s anyone forte, really, but it’s such an important skill to have for the rest of our lives. I really wish we had done more of that kind of writing in school. Don’t get me wrong, I love my literary analyses, but they’re not going to be particularly helpful in the long run.
To be fair, I completely understand why colleges require personal statements. There’s only so much you can learn about a person from their grades and test scores. And I’m really grateful I have the opportunity to show who I am, but it’s so hard to gauge how to do the proper way to do it. At least numbers speak for themselves.
But suddenly, I have to somehow condense my entire person into less than a page and a half. Everything I want to say is in my head, but finding the right words to express it seems almost impossible.
Judging by how many versions of my cover letter I cranked out before finally being satisfied, I’m a bit of a perfectionist. Which is probably a good quality to have, but at the same time it’s deterring me from accomplishing something that should be relatively simple.
I think the majority of my fear stems from how much it importance these essays hold. Essentially, the rest of my life rests upon 1000 characters.
If I don’t get it right, all my plans for the future are scuppered, my hard work was for nothing and I have to start from scratch.
It’s incredibly stressful and no matter how much I deserve it, no matter how much I know about myself, my qualifications, my accomplishments—if I can’t convince the admissions board, it doesn’t matter.