College applications are pretty important.
The first eighteen years of life in the US educational system are a gradient. What you do in first grade affects the rest of your life less than what you do in second grade, and so on. If you’re not careful, you end up like the frog in the slowly heating pot: the water boiled so slowly, it never jumped out and saved itself. Maybe once you graduate from middle school to high school, the gravity of the situation impresses itself on you. Colleges look at high school transcripts, after all. But that level of awareness is hard to maintain for four years, so perhaps around sophomore year, the bigger picture gets little fuzzy.
All this meandering to say by the time I hit senior year in high school, I was too laid back to pull my act together for college applications. I had plenty of stuff to put on them–in a lazy way, all through high school, I’d been saying, “Oh, yeah, I’ll join that club. It’ll be good for my college resume.” I just lacked the motivation and study habits to sit down and work on my college essays.
So it happened that on December 31, minutes before the deadline, I was frantically typing out the first draft of an application essay to Williams College.
Williams College, for those who don’t know, is the best private college in the United States of America. It’s topped Forbes’ list for years, sitting up there like a shining college on the hill. Graduates leave with top-tier educations and bright futures. People work on their applications for this school for months, discounting the years of stellar high school performance needed to even consider filling out an application.
I got on the waiting list. I didn’t deserve even that.
I’m happy where I am now; by a fortuitous turn of events that I do not deserve, everything turned out very well for me. But I know I could have done better, and I know I will never get a second chance.
Of course I could always attempt a transfer, but it’s too late for me now; I’ve fallen in love with where I am, I actually landed a great location with many opportunities, and my financial aid here is not likely to be topped elsewhere. The point is, guys, your college application essays are so, so important. It’s terrifying to think something you do in your senior year of high school can so greatly and directly impact the rest of your entire life. Instead of hiding, fight! Write the best damn essays you’ll ever write because these essays are a direct investment in your future. If you think you’ll be cursing yourself out five years down the line, you need to put some more work in.