College applications are not as hard as you think

Throughout high school, students are told that it is prep for something so much bigger, something yet to come: college.

We are told to keep our GPA up, ace the ACT standardized test, be at the top of our class, have our teachers adore us to get that perfect recommendation letter, and stay out of trouble with the administration.

We are told this and taught that if we do not do this, well, our future is just down the drain. Stress can be a great motivator, but sometimes in high school, it acts like an overbearing mother.

Gracie Omachi, Div. 584, found that her quest to be admitted into college was much easier than anticipated.

“I expected applying to be extremely stressful,” Omachi said.

She had the mentality that “no colleges would ever accept her anyways, so why try?” She applied to her top choice, University of Iowa, first before doing any other applications.

“I applied to my top school first and earliest because most people tell you the earlier your app is in, the better,” Omachi said, “and I think that statement holds pretty true.”

Omachi received admission to University of Iowa within the same week she applied.

“I was shocked by my admission,” Omachi said, “I had a really rough junior year all around and didn’t expect to get into college.”

Omachi has not committed yet and is applying to a few other universities. However, she said she could definitely see herself at Iowa.

Sabrina Matias, Div. 580, has applied to all 13 schools she had on her list.

“Teachers and other adults stressed that  [college admission] is important and they made you feel overwhelmed, but it helped some people along with their application process,” Matias said.

Matias said the apps she did last felt the most tedious, but she was able to reuse essays which helped her finish faster. Matias applied early for all of the colleges she was applying to, as Omachi did for Iowa.

“For example, The U of I app wasn’t as hard as I heard it was,” Matias said.

Matias has received admission to seven universities so far, including Illinois State University (ISU), University of Central Florida (UCF), University of Colorado Boulder, Loyola Univeristy, and a few others.

She hopes to run track for the UCF and has already received admission, but is still not sure where she will attend next fall.

Whenever someone talked about college admission, GPAs, or ACT scores during my Junior year, I would freak. I worried so much that I would not get admitted to any school.

I did not even understand how to do college applications or how to pick a college.

Teachers, peers, and parents made it seem that there could always be a student that is better than you and is willing and able to take your spot at any university.

The competition seemed unbeatable until I became a senior and actually started my application process for college.

The ACT was one of the worst testing sessions I have ever experienced. I was more focused on scoring perfect than actually reading the questions.

I would become so distracted by my nervousness that I would have to waste time re-reading the same question five times.

When I got my score back, I thought I bombed it after receiving a composite 24.

The national average composite score, according to the ACT website, is 20.9. The average composite score in Illinois is 20.6.

My ACT score is not perfect, but it is well above-average. Good enough to grant me admission to numerous schools.

Although test scores, good grades, and extracurricular activities look very good for college, they are really not the most important things.

The most important part of doing the college application process is being able to realize your weaknesses and strengths, and illustrate why those make you who you are.

Nobody can be perfect and the people who believe they can are only fooling themselves.

Not to say do not try your best in school, but do not let it stress you out to the point where you think you will not get into any colleges.

Try your best, and find a school that best fits you perfectly with their academic standards.

When senior year comes around, do not believe what everyone says, that it is an awful experience.

Applying and being admitted to colleges of your choice should be an exciting experience.