College anxieties provide growth

graphic by Marissa Arnold

 

Applying to college is one of the most daunting tasks facing high school students and perhaps one of the most stressful, but it does not need to be.

I have already had experience with the college application process, as I applied to colleges through a scholarship organization called Questbridge this September. Questbridge gives full scholarships to high-achieving students from low-income backgrounds to any of their 40 partner schools.

With an intensive application requiring multiple essays and short answers, it was extremely stressful. However, a chance at a full ride to one of my dream schools was not something that I was going to pass up, so I had to try.

I spent countless hours filling out the application, writing and rewriting my essays, and worrying about whether or not I would get the scholarship. After I hit submit, my anxiety continued to build up until the date that I would be told whether or not I was a finalist.

When I first discovered that I was not a finalist, it was incredibly disheartening, and I felt like all of the time and effort that I had put into the application had been for nothing.

Even so, this rejection helped me realize that the decisions colleges make about me do not define me or anyone else as a person. Everyone has redeeming qualities, and it is impossible to present all of these within a single application.

Since I was rejected, I am now faced with the task of completely starting the application process over. However, by applying to Questbridge, I have learned some lessons that will help me with applications to college and other opportunities.

One such lesson I learned is to take advantage of my resources.

As I completed my essays, I had multiple people look over them, including my counselor, my friends and my teachers. Had I not done this, my essays would not have had the same quality and I most likely would have missed some of the mistakes that I made.

Additionally, what made the process easier for me was breaking the work that I needed to do into manageable pieces and setting deadlines for myself. This allowed me to manage my time better so that I was not rushing to finish everything right before the deadline, which helped make the process less overwhelming.

Even though I faced disappointment, this experience has positively impacted the way I work toward deadlines and utilize resources. These skills, important to anyone going through the application process, also apply themselves to other parts of life.

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