How to deal with parents when applying to college

How to deal with parents when applying to college

I am terrified. I am the type of person who likes to present myself as capable and confident -- like I can do anything. I like to think of myself as pretty independent, and I rarely like to ask for help. Although most of the time I want to seem strong, the college application process has a way of making someone feel vulnerable, as if they are a small fish in a huge pond. However, in the end, we’re all small fish, going through the same daunting process together. Deep. I know. As I, myself, am currently going through the college process, there is one thing I wish I would have done earlier. I wish I would have talked to my parents and been brave enough to tell them my dreams, fears, and aspirations.

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How to apply to college if you have a disability

How to apply to college if you have a disability

Tens and thousands of students with disabilities enroll in college every year. Applying to college can be a stressful experience. It may be even worse for disabled students because they must worry about not just if the schools offer the best possible education route for them but also if they provide enough accommodations to assist them.

As a senior with a physical disability, I have learned a few things about the college application process that could help others.

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Tips for International Students Applying to College in the United States


Studying in the United States is a dream for many students around the world. It is true that going to the United States for his studies may be a great and very exciting opportunity for his resume but not only, you could also improve your English. However, as an international student, you need to prepare this process early.


This is the first step you have to do, in our times searching information became very easy. Through the Internet you have a large choice of websites that may help you to find information about the university. Before that, you have to know that the American academic system may have a lot of differences with the system where you from. In the United States, there are two kinds of universities:

- The Community colleges or sometimes called junior colleges are two-year colleges, there are often less big than four-year colleges and also less expensive. After these two years, you will earn certificates, diplomas, or associate's degrees. Moreover, you could choose to continue your studies and asking for a transfer to a four-year university.

- The four-year colleges are the basic way for many international students, in these colleges you could have a better academic experience for example in Sciences and Arts. Currently, the most famous universities around the world are Ivy League universities like Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Yale… Nevertheless, did you know? There are a lot of universities, less selective than Ivy League colleges. They are also good ranked (Duke University, Williams College or University of Pennsylvania.


I suggest you two websites I used: College Board or College Factual may help you in this process when you create your account, complete information required about you like your GPA, your score on the ACT/SAT whether already taken, and more. Then they will reduce the number of colleges in the list, to display only the colleges that fits better with your interest!

College Factual has more option in the process, then they will send you a report by e-mail with the major, colleges that fit better with your interest. Above all, never forget that you will spend two to year years in the same college so you might choose it closely. I suggest you learn more about the Student Life of the university you are interested in.


Many universities want students to take standardized tests, whether you are an international student or not, you must take one of those tests: The ACT or The SAT. You should note that you have to pay to take these tests, about $50 for the US test centers and about $100 for international students because of the tax for international test centers outside US due of $41.

These ones are needed to join a university, better will be your score better your chances to join a selective or most selective school will increase but the score does not guarantee you a place in a college because you are above the average of first year students and in the same case that is not because you have a score below the average that you won’t be admitted.

The University during the application process will review closely your application with your academic GPA from your 9th to 12th grade of high school, score on the SAT/ACT tests, your essays, and then your extracurricular activities. You should also know that these tests may be a great opportunity for international students, indeed in certain colleges, if your score on the English test (ACT) or critical reading (SAT) are above a given score by your university, you have exempted to take the TOEFL or IELTS to prove your English sufficiency and you will save $200.


After having found the right colleges you want to attend and having taken the test, you will have to manage your application. Some universities use the Common Application, other use another application method that they own on their websites and others ones use a state application like Apply Texas which regroups all the US Universities issues from the Texas system.

Here, will be the longest part of the process, like a 400m race, that part will be the 300m-400m. Application begins in August 1st, and the Regular application deadlines are about December to February. You will have four months to complete your application, including personal information, academic curriculum, interested major(s), and essay(s), so that’s why it is important to prepare that early.

For the admission process, there are usually two main deadlines: Early Decision (November 1st) and Regular Application deadline (November 30th to March 1st). There are multiple information in the application to give, you have to get your high school reports traduced by a sworn translator and send the authentic version, teacher recommendations, whether it’s required, a sample sheet which list all your high school extracurricular activities to complete this part quickly.

You could find more information about the admission process or how to write your college essay in our book: You Got into Where, written by Joi Wade.


Financial need-based aid is not the same for the US citizens and for international students. The US government wants international students to be able to pay all their expenses for their first year of university. So how could you pay the tuition and fees which are around $15.000 to $80.000 for university?

First of all, don’t step back because of the huge cost of education or because you don’t have that money. Those prices are generally not what you will have to pay! I am going to explain, as an international student you may be eligible for merit scholarship, but they are very competitive, only the best are awarded. Secondly, if you are very good in Football, Basketball or Track, try to do your sport in college, then you could receive a scholarship from your coach to play for your college. Try to contact coaches of the university where you want to get into and they will respond to your questions.

You can also earn financial aid from your home country, if you are a good student or you have a great plan for college, you should ask to your high school guidance counselor help to get city, department, region or national scholarship.

Thirdly, Some colleges give financial need-based aid, these colleges are usually one of the most competitive. The application rate of these colleges is often under 20%. To be admitted in these colleges, you should have a strong academic curriculum.



How to Handle the Stress of College Applications


As much as it is daunting to begin college applications, it is exciting. College is your next big step in life. The time you spend in college results in lifelong friends, treasured memories, and experiences that will last a life time.

          As it is nearing college application deadlines for the 2017 fall semester, most seniors (like myself) are fearing these deadlines. Although college applications can be overwhelming  there are many ways for you to ease the stress for yourself.


Start Early

I sound like a broken record saying this, don't I? I know you have heard it over and over again but I am only repeating this ear bleeding phrase because it is wise, very wise. The earlier you start all of the applications the less daunting the deadlines will become.

For most of us the essays are the most intimidating, but the best advice I will give to you is to just write. Don't think about it, just write. Don’t vacillate over topics, word choice etc. just start writing about the first idea/topic that comes to mind that best fits the prompt you are asked to answer. Once you have finished writing, simply put it away and don't look at your essay for at least a day.

Allowing yourself to freely write will not only help put your mind at ease that you have at least started or attempted your essays, but also break the ice and the potential writers block that you may have had.

Also, putting your essay away for at least a day will give yourself a fresh brain to revise the essay and formulate clear thoughts about your writing. At this time you can ask yourself if the topic you wrote about best answered the prompt, if the structure contributed well to the message you are trying to convey, or does the word choice match the style you want to portray.

Starting the applications early and completing them little by little (remember baby steps) will help the process along and the deadlines, like I said, wont seem as daunting. Dedicating time each day or every other day for about 30 minutes to an hour on college applications will also move the process along nicely.


Another key detail to relieving the stress of college applications is to plan. Get out your planner or print a monthly calendar off the internet and write in all of your deadlines. ALL OF THEM. Plan out  deadlines for yourself to complete rough and final drafts of your essays, teacher visits to revise your essays, and plan the days where you need to remind your teachers about the recommendation letter you asked them to write for you. Planning everything out AND sticking to it will help relieve your stress tremendously.



Lastly and maybe most importantly you need to realize a few things.The college application process is rigorous, time consuming, and stressful to say the least.  While it may be all of the above, it is not the end all be all.

With that being said, if you feel insecure about certain aspects of your application know that someone else is also just as insecure about certain parts of their application. Even the senior with what you may see as a perfect resume has insecurities too. You are not alone in this process. I am a senior this year, just like several other thousands of students and I am insecure about certain pieces of my application, but I do believe that everything happens for a reason.

As you begin your college applications show yourself off, brag about everything you have accomplished and show the college admissions who you are and why you deserve to attend their university. Start early ( I’m definitely sounding like a broken record), have parents and teachers revise your essays so you are able to put your best foot forward.

Maybe, at the end of the day you don’t end up at Yale even with the countless hours spent at the Humane Society or sleepless nights studying throughout your high school career, but know that wherever you end up it will be the perfect place for you.

As my parents have always said, let the chips fall where they may.

I wish you all (almost) stress-free applications!




My Experience Applying to My First College


August 1st: the day most college applications open and one of the most stressful days of the whole application process.  On August 1st, I started receiving a lot of emails from colleges stating that they had opened up their applications.  This is where the stress began.  busy

I am a very busy person, like most high school students.  I have a job in the summer and participate in many extracurriculars, plus I will have all the homework that gets piled up over the school year.  I knew that if I didn’t start college apps right when they opened, I might never get any done.

After August 1st, I started receiving personalized emails from colleges saying that I had been ‘specially selected’ to complete shortened versions of applications, and without the typical app fee (most schools charge anywhere from $55 usd to $90 usd), which was very exciting for me.  One email that caught my eye was the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.  I had UMN on my list for quite a while, so I already knew I wanted to apply and the shortened app made it even better.

Even though the application was shorter, it still took me about two hours to actually complete the finished applications.  They still asked for short writing supplements, so I had to complete those as well as all the basic information that the school needed to know.  I had to think about what I actually wanted to say and stay in the word limit.  (Trust me, it’s hard to write about something in 200 words or less).  

After I finished the actual online application, I still had to have my counselor submit my high school transcript and send my ACT score from the actual ACT agency.  This might take a little longer, especially if your specific counselor has a lot of students applying to different colleges.


Even though I was not officially done after just submitting the online application, I felt like I really accomplished something.  This was taking a small step leading up to my next big stage of life and it felt really good knowing that I completed three years of high school successfully.

College applications do bring stress, but it’s amazing to realize what you have actually accomplished when applying.