Coping with College Applications. . . Advice from Senior to Underclassmen

Ava Vande Corput, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Every year, seniors around the world spend countless hours filling out applications to the colleges of their dreams, hoping and praying that in a few months they will see the large envelope in their mailbox with a congratulatory letter inside.

This year, I am a senior at Notre Dame Academy, so I too was part of the crazy teenage atmosphere filled with stress and anxiety trying to meet the November 1 deadline.

During the college application process, I felt a bit lost even after receiving packets of information from colleges, consulting with my college counselor and reading the many different websites.

It was not until I talked to my peers who had older siblings that had already gone through the college app process that I finally began to understand what to do and when.

The advice my fellow peers gave me was t very helpful, and it overall led me to have all my college apps submitted on time to every college or university I wanted to apply to.

So, instead of throwing this advice away and never giving it a second glance, I decided to inform more Notre Dame students with the advice that made the process a lot less confusing.

So my advice goes as follows…


    1. Learn the difference between all the deadline names.
      • Early decision and early action are two different things. Early decision applications leave you with a binding contract, so if you are accepted to this college, you will be attending in the fall. However, early action plans are non binding, so applying early action lets you receive an earlier response to their application as well as first access to scholarships. So, overall, my advice would be always apply Early action to almost all, if not all of your colleges, because it can only help you, and I see no downsides to applying by November 1st.
    2. Do not wait until Halloween night to submit everything.
      • It takes time for the counselors to process and send transcripts to your colleges and universities because you are not the one and only priority. Counselors have many different students in addition to you, so having patience and not waiting until the last second before the deadlines to apply is key.
    3. Apply to more than one school.
      • This seems like a given, but some people only apply to one school because they feel so confident they will get in. However, many different things could happen, leading you to not get accepted or not able to attend this college, so make sure to apply to more than one school as well as apply to some schools that are a bit of a reach and some schools that you know you will very likely be accepted into.


  • Do not evaluate a school by just looking at their acceptance rate.


      • Acceptance rates vary between schools, but a low acceptance rate does not always mean one school is better than another. You have to look at the majors a school is offering, and how good the courses are for preparing you for a certain major. You also have to evaluate the school by whether or not it feels like a good fit for you, not by what anyone else says. Do not apply to a school if it does not feel like a good fit for you.


  • Always have someone read your applications and essays.


      • Yes, this also seems like a given, but a lot of students still don’t do it. Even if you are perfect at grammar and spelling, always have someone else read it with fresh eyes because there is still probably one or two typos. After all, we are humans, so we are not perfect.


  • Get your applications done as soon as possible.


    • Most colleges open their applications the first week in August, so it is pretty easy to get a start on your applications before school starts. I got most of my applications done before school started which was one of the smartest decisions I have made because I did not have to stress about my applications while doing my other school work.

Overall, this evidence is pretty self explanatory and seems like common practices, but still some students do not follow these points of advice I have given., so my last advice to you is follow the advice of your peers as well as me.