You Learned It All in Preschool: The College Application Process is Easier Than You Think

Preschool seems so long ago. Toting your lunchbox decorated with cartoon characters, the only worry on your mind was which color of Play-Doh you’d play with that day. Now, college applications and senior year activities plague your mind. Still, don’t forget about Play-Doh. Everything you need to know about applying for college you already learned in preschool. It’s just a matter of putting the plan into action, and taking that next step toward your collegiate goals.

Color outside the Lines

When marking up a coloring book, the coloring often goes outside the lines. The drawing you create will never look exactly as it did originally. When creating a list of colleges to apply to, your list is going to change over time. The list you compile in your sophomore or junior year of high school will not look the same as the list you create in your senior year. Your priorities, preferences, and needs are going to change. In just a matter of a couple of years, you change as a person, therefore changing which colleges you want to apply to. That doesn’t mean you’re fickle. It just means your list is maturing along with you.

Make New Friends, but Keep the Old, One is Silver and the Other’s Gold

It’s okay to apply to colleges other than the ones your friends are applying to. If you are selecting colleges simply because that’s where your friends want to attend, you’re not thinking in the college mindset. College should challenge you with its foreign environment, pushing you to your fullest potential. Don’t base your decision on other people’s desires. Do what’s right for you. Choose a college that complements your talents and dreams and will send you in the right direction. You will make new friends at a university of your choice, while keeping the old, even at a long distance. It’s part of maturing and growing as a person.

Honesty is the Best Policy

The college application process can seem like a whirlwind. There are endless possibilities for where to apply. Instead of making practical choices, it can be enjoyable to apply to places that seem farfetched and adventurous. Still, you shouldn’t apply to colleges just because they sound cool. It’s okay to have one dream school to apply to that’s a one in a million chance. Perhaps that’s an Ivy League school or a school in a big city. Be honest with yourself. Pick places that are right for you, not for the imaginary you. Be realistic and make responsible selections. This will be your home for the next two to four years.

Use the Entire Box of Crayons

When coloring, you never know what color you’ll need. It’s always smart to have backup colors, just as it’s responsible to have backup schools. Dream schools are exciting to apply to, but even dreams need backups. Apply to all of your top choice schools, and apply to realistic backup choices, such as smaller universities or community colleges. This simple action will eliminate some of the stress associated with applying to colleges.

Nap Times Are a Favorite

Applying to college is beyond stressful. It can feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. You’re deciding which institution is best suited to educate you for your future career. Still, applying to college doesn’t have to be stressful. Remember to take breaks and relax. This could mean taking a nap after a long day of filling in forms and writing essays for applications. Spend time with loved ones in your final year of high school. Don’t let the stress overwhelm you. Senior year is packed full of changes and endings, but it should be a memory that’s fondly remembered.

Let Your Imagination Soar during Story Time

Make the college application process like a story. Share it with those around you. Talk to your parents about concerns troubling you over picking a college. Discuss with friends what excites you about each of your choices. Talking to others about the application process helps to clear your mind. By expressing your thoughts out loud, you can gain a new perspective.

The process of applying to college doesn’t have to be confusing. After all, you’ve already learned the basics you need from preschool.

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Rebecca Jacobs

Rebecca Jacobs

Rebecca Jacobs is a sophomore at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, pursuing a News-Editorial Journalism degree. An avid bookworm, Rebecca reads all texts Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut when she’s not busy writing for The Black Sheep on campus. Back home, she spends a vast amount of time enjoying nature with loved ones.