The Race to College


Elena Wasserman, Breaking News Editor

When do you start? How do you know what colleges to apply for? What’s the difference between early decision and early action? These are only a few of the many questions that are running through our stressed-out teenage brains. It can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.

Getting started on the college search is not as difficult as it’s cracked up to be, and is much less crazy than people describe it. One can start as early as freshmen year, but it’s not necessary! Getting “ready” for college is not just studying hard core for the SAT’s and ACT’s, it’s about learning about yourself discovering what you like and being okay if you’re not exactly sure.

What a lot of students fail to understand is that they don’t have to figure out our whole life plan here and now; college is just a small stepping stone into what is sometimes called “the sea of life.” The “many fish in the sea,” aren’t just prospective women or men, the fish are the many and seemingly inexhaustible opportunities one has in his or her lifetime.  Besides, there is a reason that at most schools, more that 30% of the student body go in undecided on their major area of study. There are only few young people out there who really know what they want to do in their lives, and an even smaller group who will actually end up doing that! We’re now at the point where we know that dressing up like a fireman or pretty princess isn’t going to cut it, but it’s okay to dream, we just have to remember that the crown is probably not going to be part of the get-up.

Alright, to some college(ish) stuff, it’s good to be prepared. As sucky as it can be sometimes, one has to do their best. Your best doesn’t have to be a 4.2 GPA, and while colleges want to know that you’re taking your classes seriously, school is not everything. There is a reason why one sees all these students signing up for random clubs and charities they’re not interested in, it’s all about one thing: extra curriculars. No, you don’t have to be president of 3 clubs, captain of 2 teams and a visual arts fanatic to get into college, but they do like to see you doing something other than school. This “something” can be anything from a sport, to sewing, acting, etc. Colleges just want to know a little more about you, and what you love to do. Yes, the charity thing is a whole different subject in and of itself, but to say the least, just get involved. It’s time consuming, tiring, and a lot of extra work, but hey, it’s for the greater good, and as much as it can be a pain, the colleges really want to see it. Oh, and because one may be curious by the question between early action and early decision, here it is. Early Decision, is a binding commitment, meaning you’re going to that school if you get in no matter what. Early Action however, is non-binding, and is basically just a good thing to do all around because you’re applying to an earlier deadline, and you get either your admission letter or a “thanks for applying” letter earlier with no strings attached.

Anyways, this isn’t supposed to be all about the college blah blah, just thought some of it might be nice to mention. Basically, what needs to be said is that the stress can be knocked down a level. It can be tough with all the classes and yes, all those extra curriculars, but one has to remember that in the end, it really isn’t that big of a deal. As hard as it is to believe now, it isn’t going to make a huge difference what college you attend. Shocker, I know. That doesn’t mean it’s bad to have dreams, goals, and fantasy schools, but it’s good to keep yourself in check. Our lives are built up of all these little moments, and if we start worrying about the next one instead of the one we’re living in right now, then we’re not living at all. Just take a step back Matadors, and make sure to take a breather, and remember that in the end it’s all going to work out.