Q&A about college and applications


Taylor Chronert

Some high school students decided to take a college and career class to help prepare them for college and the real world

Taylor Chronert, Staff Reporter

The biggest topic that is talked about most among high school students is college and applications. As a senior going through all the college stuff, I’ve started helping out sophomores and juniors with applications and advice about the process and all things college. So I thought I would answer some common questions students might have with college and the application process

How do you know what to talk about for your essay?

The essay is one of the most important things for your application as it shows who you are as a person and why you are a good candidate for the schools you are applying to. There are many different prompts you can write about for your essay and you can even write a prompt of your own. To figure out what I wanted to talk about for my essay), I went through each prompt and wrote whatever came to mind that would fit with that prompt, and I would pick the one I thought would be the best fit. 

Do you have to know what you want to do as a major to choose a college?

No, you don’t. Colleges have lots of majors to choose from and many different options you can study. Plus, some schools even give students the opportunity to create their own major if they choose to study something that isn’t offered at that school and will help students create their major and be put in classes that goes along with their major. You don’t have to have a specific major to be able to enter college. If you have a specific college you want to go to, apply for it and if there is a major you want to try studying, go for it. I actually have a friend in a similar situation who’s going to college but doesn’t have quite an idea of what they want to study, and that’s okay. There are always opportunities to change your major if you find something that interests you more, because that’s what college is all about. Branching out and doing things to allow you to get out of your comfort zone. Plus you don’t automatically have to enter college right away after you graduate. Once you graduate and you still have no idea what you want to do or study, take a gap year or even take some classes at a community college, and you can always transfer to college when you’re ready. There is no rush. 

When should I start my college prep? 

I advise as a junior to start looking at schools, know where you are going to go, and what you want to study plus obviously visit some schools. Then the summer after junior year, definitely start getting everything planned. Look on Common App for the essay prompts and start planning out a draft of your essay, plus working on your resume so when you come back your senior year, the only thing you will have to do is get a letter of recommendation.

How do I find a college or university that is best for me?

Know what you are wanting from a college. Do you want to be in state or out of state? Do you want to be close to home or far away? Do you want an easy or medium school to get into? Public or private? Big or small school. These are all good questions that you should ask yourself when finding the right school for you. You can also do college visits and see what the school looks like in person. You will know it is when you see yourself going there or just falling in love with the campus.

Should I take the ACT or SAT?

So it honestly depends on you and what you want to do. Personally I wasn’t sure of which one I wanted to take so I studied for both, but then it turns out I felt better just doing the SAT because personally, the ACT was more fast pace, I wouldn’t be able to take my time, and there’s more content being covered in ACT than the SAT. But it all just depends on you and who you are as a test taker. If you aren’t sure, try studying for both and if you find you prefer one over the other, then take that test. Many people also take both. If you’re a good test taker, this could be an option for you as well. If you aren’t happy with your score the first time, you can always retake the test. 

Who should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?

Your counselor has to write you a recommendation, it’s a requirement but as for teachers I say ask teachers to write you a recommendation who you are close to and know you welln. I had my old journalism teacher, my ninth grade English teacher, and my support teacher for recommendation. If there is any teacher you are close to or feel like knows you well have them write a recommendation for youf. Also make sure to ask your teacher in advance so he or she can have time to write you a recommendation. 

Will applying Early Decision or Early Action give me a leg up?

Yes, totally! You will be able to find out earlier and will be able to figure out where you are going to go sooner. I highly recommend during Early Decision for your top school that you want to get into, because not only will it show the school that you are serious and dedicated about their school, they’ll look at you first. It may sound nerve-wracking, especially with having to sign a contract as well saying if you get in, you’ll go to that school and you’ll reject any other school you get into, but I promise you it’s so worth it. I remember last minute making the decision to do Early Decision for Texas Christian University, and I honestly don’t regret it. Also just know if you don’t get in with your dream school for Early Decision, you will still be able to say yes to the other schools you apply to. If you apply Early Action, you aren’t obligated to go to that school if you get in.

I hope these answers give you a good idea about college applications . It all sounds scary and nerve wracking, especially with the waiting process, but just know in the end when you get into your school, it’ll be worth it.