The struggle of applying to college

The Common App is used to apply for colleges. Photo credit: Cristian Castillo


 By Cristian Castillo ’17

Personally, freshman year was a challenge because it’s a completely new environment, Sophomore year got more challenging if you took AP (Advanced Placement) courses. Junior year gets a bit easier because you’ve developed a way to manage your time to produce work at the best of your ability. Senior year, however, we’re introduced to college applications, and now I wish I only had my classes to worry about. The college application process has been stressful, challenging, and a reality check.

Being that I’m in the Chicago Scholars Program at Pritzker, — where you have the chance to apply and meet with your top five college choices — I had to complete and turn in five college applications (app) this past Oct. 29th. I’ve filled in and submitted applications before; but it was at most two apps and I had tons of time to do them. However, for college apps, I only had a little less than two months to do five.

The process was extremely stressful, considering that on top of all your homework, you usually get and are expected to complete, you had to stay up later than usual almost everyday of the week in order to update each essay needed for the app. Additionally, you need to have a solid idea of what you’re writing about, because if you don’t, then your essays weren’t all that great and you have to start over again.

Choosing which colleges you’re going to apply to is rather difficult, because they’re places where you are seriously considering to live in and study for the next four years of your life. Additionally, if you were applying to a college where one of the essays is ‘Why (name of school)?”, you have to take time out of your day and make sure to research the school online to know what you’re going to talk about — side note: this will take more than 10 minutes to fully understand the school.

Aside from that, it’s a huge reality check. Coming into Pritzker I never thought I’d be applying to colleges so fast. Knowing that by mid-December I’ll most likely know where I’m going is a scary yet exciting reality.

  • Put 100% of your best effort into writing your papers
  • Choose colleges for the opportunities they offer and can benefit you not just because it has good sports teams or because it’s well known
  • Make sure your essays really show who you are