Giving It the Once Over

The things I look at when checking out a school online-

  1. The Academics- That’s what you’re there for. Cause you’re a nerd like me. Look at the list of majors the school offers and see if they have things you’re interested in. You don’t have to be 100% sure what you want to major in. Everyone knows what kind of things they’re interested in, or aren’t. After checking out the majors list, click on the ones you’re interested in and find the class lists for that major. See if they sound interesting, or like what you expected.
  2. The Dorms- Odds are you’re going to end up living on campus for at least 1 year. Of course you should look at where you could be living for months. Make sure they aren’t hideous. I get turned off if a school has a really awful housing website. Try and see if you could picture yourself living there, or have a preference for a certain dorm. I like going on virtual tours too, mostly because they occasionally have awesome perky music.
  3. The Bookstore- Okay, I’m big on checking out what type of clothing a school can offer me. Maybe it’s not your thing, but I don’t want to go to a school with apparel I would never wear. If a school can’t have enough pride to have cool looking merchandise, why should I have enough pride to want to go there? I don’t always check out the online bookstore, but it’s always fun and good for killing some time.
  4. The Tuition- I say this last on purpose. DO NOT look at the numbers first and get turned off before you even see what the school is like. If you love a school but it costs a ton, don’t give up. There’s financial aid. You have no way of knowing what the final price tag on your education will be. Don’t rule out a school just because of the starter price.

Thumb Twiddling- December

(Written December 14th)

So, there hasn’t been nearly as much down time this month as I was expecting. December 15th was the deadline for my last application. So far this month I’ve heard back from 3 more schools, and should hear back from another tomorrow, and I’m guessing from a 5th in the next week or two.

Now that I’m starting to get admissions decisions back, I’m getting even more excited. Not necessarily for college, but for getting to choose. I’m going to predict now that I’ll be spending my Spring Break and President’s Week going around to review campuses again so that I can make my final decision. Yay! I love visiting campuses, and I love being critical, so this is going to be like a party for me. From now on, there will probably be two TCC posts a week as I try to cram everything in. I want to talk a little about the different schools I’ve applied to, and since there are 13, that’s going to take some time.


My School Criteria

  • Location, location, location- The school has to be near civilization. Not necessarily a huge city, but at least a reasonably sized city.
  • Must either be near the beach, or snow. Okay, maybe preferably. Some schools violate this policy, but you get my point.
  • Classes in my majors of interest can’t be boring/super basic.
  • Dorms cannot be hideous.

Application Survival Tips

It’s not exactly creative advice, but the most important part of the application process is to not procrastinate! I laughed at how many posts I saw on Facebook in the 3 days before state applications were due from my friends, silly people who were still applying while I had turned in that app a week before.

Another thing? Keep records. Have your transcript and social security card somewhere you can find them, and have them out whenever you’re working on your applications.

Don’t vary your password too much. One of my friends would try over and over again to log-in to application sites because she couldn’t remember what password went with what college. If you’re worried, write them all down on a piece of paper. Really, who is going to hack your college application?

Finally, take a deep breath.

No End in Sight

I’ve got to say, after those first few apps are submitted, the drive to work on the rest is not nearly as strong. You know, you’ve already got some done and off on their merry way. What’s the hurry? Relax a little. Write 50,000 words for NaNo. Blog daily. Work on memorizing that damn scene from Hamlet for English (Where is the beauteous Majesty of Denmark?)

The rest of my apps have a November 30th, December 1st, and December…15th deadline. So, as of writing time (November 1st), I’ve got time. And really, it’s not that much. I have three more schools on Common App to apply to, but their applications are all done. I just have to add the schools to my list. And then there’s the UCs, which are also done, or very nearly done except for a few details.

And then… I have to motivate myself to write my honors college essays for UW. I was more concerned with writing the essay I would be recycling, and using for every application I’m filling out except the 3 that don’t have an essay, and the other two that I needed first. You know, the honors ones are so specific and there’s no need for writing them immediately… So I put them on the backburner.

And now I need to get my ass into gear and whip them out. November is kind of a joke for me, luckily. After this week I’ve got half-days, and no school like crazy. Focus, focus, focus!


Go Westward, Young Man

So… Yesterday I sent in the first 6 of my applications. 6 out of 14 or 15. Also known as a shitload. I will be going over what makes up a shit load later, when I’m blogging about random parts of the process in order to kill time while I’m waiting for my responses.
It was not particularly nerve-wracking. Of course, none of the 6 were in my absolute top. I still have yet to turn in my UCI or UW apps. Gotta write those honors college essays still. I’m predicting more nerves and hesitation over hitting the submit button for those two. Best Friend’s mom asked if she wanted her to hold Best Friend’s hand when she submitted her app to her #1 school.
It’s a relief though, getting those apps out the door. I’ve accomplished something. Plus, I’m too busy thinking about finishing my other applications, NaNoWriMo, and NaBloPoMo to worry too much about whether I’ll get accepted to those 6. That will come later.
At least two of them I’ll hear from in mid-December to January. 3 of them are March decisions, and the last one I’m not really sure about. I need to look that up.
Anyways… Life goes on. Chaos can break out later on. I’ve got too much other stuff to do!

Next week: More on those remaining applications and sprinting towards the finish line.

Close Encounters of the Application Kind

As I prepared to send in the first of my apps, I had a very close encounter. An encounter that made me put on my blogging hat and tell you all about it, so you do not suffer the same fate. Now, I’ve been applying early wherever I can. The kind where you turn in your app early, get a decision early, but are not then strapped to a truck and driven off to the school. Early with freedom.

One of the schools I was about to send my application in to I had selected early decision for. I was curious when I’d find out my answer, and if I hadn’t accidentally missed the cutoff for it, so I read the instructions.

And discovered that Early Decision is not the one where you are strapped to a chair, but might as well be. Their rules states that I would receive my admission response in mid-December, and they would need my response by January 15th.


By January 15th I will be relaxing (yeah right), twiddling my thumbs while I wait for March when I’m getting most of my results back. By January 15th I will have no idea what schools want me.

Thank god I read the directions. This girl is not applying Early Decision.

Next week: I fully intend to actually write about the feeling of sending in the first of my apps. By the time the post comes out, hopefully I’ll have sent all my apps in.

More Applications- My Mother is Still Not Dead

Written October 5, 2010

So, I’ve got more bones to pick with the application process. Maybe these make complete sense to some people, but they are part of a very small minority and need to be exiled to a galaxy far, far away and then forgotten about. K, thanks?

Confusion #1:

This confusion is in one of the demographic sections of one branch of state colleges in California. It does not at all pertain to me personally, but that does not stop me from reading, and obsessing over it.

My problem?

In one section we have 4 possible options to select from.

-African American



-Other African/Black

Alright, first of all, if you are living in America and are somehow from a nation of Africa, you are African American. You are also black. What entails black but not African American? Are you from Jamaica or some other tropical island white tourists frequent? Okay, that makes sense. Black is people from Africa originally, but have hailed from some former colony for centuries. You’re a bobsledder. I can wrap my head around that.

And then it gets complicated again. Now that I’ve finally figured out what they mean by black, how am I supposed to know what Other African/Black is? It’s not people from Northern Africa. They’re included in the white section. What if I was one of these others? How am I supposed to know that you define me as an other? Thank god I’m white and Asian.

Confusion #2:

On this same application, I was also asked to check a box if I do not have a first name. If I do not have a first name? Who doesn’t have a first name? Other Africans/Blacks? How have they gotten through life without a first name? What kind of parent doesn’t give their child a first name?


This is college applications.

Next week: We venture into the terrifying world of essay writing. Hold me!

Beginning Applications- No, My Mother is Not Dead

First of all, these first couple posts for TCC have all been written prior to the publishing date. It’s currently September.

Being the eager little nerd that I am, I’ve already started working on what college apps I can. I’ve never been much of a procrastinator. As of the day I’m writing this, I’ve never pulled an all-nighter for school. And college apps… I’m so ready to get them done with and just have to wait for my responses. I’m not going to save them for the last minute. The sooner I can be free, the better.

Some issues with technicalities of applications:

  • If I said I live with my mother, can’t you just presume that my home address is her home address? That’s kind of part of the whole living together thing. It means we live in the same house. Together.
  • If I live with my mother/father that means they’re alive. I do not live in a morgue.
  • If I list my father as my primary contact that means he’s alive.

Next Week: We continue to talk about the ridonc nature of college applications, and how they lack common sense. And get really racially ambiguous. Get excited.

Shit, I Need More Schools

Those of you following the Chronicles know of my torrid love affairs with a city and academics. And then there’s everywhere else.

Okay, I shouldn’t say it like that. There are other schools I would be so thrilled to go to, schools I could be content with, etc. Just no, you know, additional torrid love affairs. It’s finding those other schools that has been harder than finding my not so secret lover schools.

I’ve got a couple schools that have offered to waive my application fee because of my test scores. I’ve been strongly encouraged by the parental units to apply there, cause what do I have to lose? One of them, Drexel, is basically the Philadelphia version of UCI. They have some pretty pimptastic programs there. Plus, it’s close to Swarthmore, the school of my dreams that I could never go to, so I could stare longingly at it from not so afar.

Then there’s the in-state publics, at least one of which is a major safety because it accepts everyone. I’m not going to name it because they might find out, find me, and then refuse to accept me into their school. You’re great, I swear! Don’t hate me!

Basically, I’m slightly recklessly applying to schools. After I’ve gotten all my decisions in, I’ll let you know the full list. Again, I’m afraid of secretly violating some media contract, or just generally pissing off the admissions powers that be. Since they hold my future in their hands I’d rather bake them a cake than piss them off.

Oh, and this is my 100th post!