College Applications

College Applications

With the beginning of November comes endless deadlines - specifically for college applications. This time last year, I was awaiting acceptance letters from four schools, and still had eleven applications (Yes, you read eleven. Thank you, Mom and Dad.) left to submit. At times, I felt like I couldn’t even pat myself on the back for completing one. While it’s easy to get consumed by the hustle and bustle of this season, here are some tips for you high school readers stay on top of your game:


Don’t hesitate to be blunt and straightforward with your high school college/guidance counselor. Their job is to direct you on to the next phase of life smoothly, so be in constant communication with them. Stop by their office often, inform them of how everything is coming along, build rapport with them, and let them know that you are serious about this process. While I had a positive relationship with my college counselor, the same cannot be said for everyone else. If you have to prod them to send your documents a week before the actual deadline, so be it.


Because so many due dates overlapped for me (November 1st, November 15th, January 1st, or January 15th), I simply filled everything out based on priority. If a school was in my Top 5 and I felt confident enough to apply early, I would work on that application first then move on to the other Early Action schools on my list. For example, of the four institutions I alluded to earlier, the University of Michigan was #4 out of my original 10. I began that application first, then moved to Boston College (#7), then Furman (#9), and UGA (#10) respectively. I submitted them all on the same day, but this method allotted me more time to perfect my applications to the places I found more important. (*note: I did the same thing for my Regular Decision submissions as well.)

I recommend keeping an agenda handy, but many of my peers abided by an Excel or Google spreadsheet of deadlines for applications and scholarships. Some people find it helpful to see everything on paper and others find it overwhelming, but just do what works best for you!


I am telling you right now: KEEP. YOUR. ESSAYS. SAVED. IN. MULTIPLE. PLACES.

Evernote. Dropbox. Google Docs. The notes section of your iPhone. It really does not matter, but you do not want to be stuck in a situation where a technological glitch leaves you scrambling the night before an application is due. Google Docs was my holy grail throughout senior year and with what little free time I had during the first semester, I downloaded the app and added little bits and pieces to my essays during lunch, study hall, etc.

Also, you most certainly do not have to write a new essay for every single application. Choose an overlapping and/or broad topic that one essay could work for, then tweak and tailor it per school as you see fit. Furthermore, keep your résumé updated and in regards to listing all the extracurricular activities you’re involved in, make a document with brief descriptions of each of those clubs so you don’t have to rewrite everything. Efficiency and time management is key.


Remember that there’s no single way to answer an essay question. Connect your accomplishments, ideals, and beliefs to the topic if you can, but most importantly, convey your authenticity and your true self through what you write. Be genuine, be raw, and be honest. You may have to think outside the box - and that’s perfectly fine - but be sure not to stretch too much. Don’t be afraid to get your work proofread by trusted teachers, adults, and friends as well. A second set of eyes can’t hurt, but if you find that your gut is telling you to keep something in a paragraph, then keep it.


As someone who went through this process last year, I encourage you to give your all in these applications. If a school denies you (fun fact: 3 denied me, my #1 waitlisted me), it will be okay. Know that you have poured your heart and soul into your application and the fact that one institution doesn’t consider that adequate does not define you. Most importantly, to my dear students of color, do not let anyone tell you that you were accepted solely because of affirmative action. You. Are. Enough.

Right to Remain Silenced

Right to Remain Silenced

Black Girl Magic: Duke University 2018 Edition

Black Girl Magic: Duke University 2018 Edition