The Trials & Tribulations Of College Admissions Process This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   Picture it, seven o'clock on a Saturday morning, thirty juniors packed into a tiny room, nervously tapping their pencils awaiting the start of "The most important test of their lives." If you haven't already guessed, I am referring to the (in)famous SAT exam many college-bound students must suffer through. Four painstaking hours of reading long, boring passages, raking your brain to find the meaning of the word "venerate," and trying to figure out geometry and percent problems. If you haven't had the "wonderful" experience of taking these tests, don't worry, you'll get there. For those who have, I sympathize with you! There is no way around the SATs. If you are very lucky, you may have to take them more than once, or better yet, depending on the schools you apply to, you may be required to take the SAT II test, which are subject tests in math, English, social studies, science, and other subjects.

If you want, some schools accept the ACTs in place of the SAT I and SAT II. This test, in my opinion, is not as stressful, and has a broader range of subjects. (I recommend selecting this option if your college accepts it!)

After all the test-taking is finally completed, you would think you were home free. Wrong! Applying to colleges is, in my opinion, more stressful than the SATs. First you must decide where you want to spend the next four years of your life. Then, after you have obtained all the applications, you have to spend hours filling out the Part Ones. When they are sent out, you can begin planning visits to the campuses. A few weeks later, Part Two of the application arrives, and the fun begins! Depending on the college, you may be required to write several paragraphs on why you want to "be a member of (name of college) community." More background information about your school and extracurricular activities is also required. (If you haven't already, I highly recommend joining community service clubs; colleges love it!)

The final part of the application is the ever-so-stressful personal statement. Many schools ask general questions like "an experience which has affected your life." Others may ask very specific questions which require research. These essays may, if you are lucky, take you a day or two to complete. If you ask a teacher to proofread and help you, you may be writing and re-writing for weeks. (If possible, I recommend asking for assistance: it really helps!)

After all the applications are sent out (before the deadline), you can finally relax, for now. If you applied to a school early decision, the stress returns the week the response is due. Until the answer comes in the mail (and you know for sure where you are going), you can't fully take advantage of senior year and all its privileges! Good luck. c

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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