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College Application Season (Yay?)

November 10, 2017 at 9:30 am
By Chase Garcia '19

It’ll be winter break for us at Carleton while many high school students are applying to colleges like Carleton early decision (11/15). Personally, I applied regular decision but I know, like for me as a stressed senior in high school, November to December will be months of endless searching, essay writing, interviews, letter of recommendation-asking, and more.

Here are some of my recommendations for applying to colleges, in general:

  1. Don’t apply to too many schools. As someone who applied to 20 colleges, I can say that unless you are absolutely interested in all 20 of those colleges and are willing to put in the sheer amount of time to research and prepare an application for each, it’s expensive and a very difficult time.
  2. Don’t apply to a school you really don’t want to go to. While it’s important to have backup schools so that you’re able to go to college, there’s at least one that you’d be willing to go to. No one school is perfect for everyone and that’s completely fine.
  3. Don’t apply solely based off rankings. I think rankings can be a mark of some of an institution’s success and quality, but they are not perfect by any means. There are so many colleges that are very similar in quality but have their own unique personalities, values, and that can’t be quantified in a ranking.
  4. Don’t stress out too much. I believe in the power of colleges being able to change lives. But just because you don’t get into your first, second, or X-choice school doesn’t mean this should be taken personally or that you won’t be able to have a life-changing, positive experience at the school you end up attending.
  5. Don’t have a million people review your personal statements. Speaking from personal experience, an essay edited by so many people does more harm than good, removing your own voice from the essay.
  6. Do view the college application process as a positive experience. College will be an amazing time for you; it’ll be a gateway to careers, lifelong friendships, and more learning than you’d ever thought possible. Applications are a necessary process that, though taxing and stressful at times, should be a time for you to reflect on your life and view the future at a college (hopefully Carleton!) in an optimistic light.

Carleton was my #1 choice going into the applications, and I’m beyond grateful for being accepted. I was pragmatic and considered other schools to which I had been accepted, but I really appreciated the fact I was never pressured at Carleton to commit. I’ll be commenting more about the college application and selection process in later posts in 2018!


Chase is a junior statistics major and is more than glad to exchange the year-round California heat for some Minnesota seasonality. In his free time, he enjoys directing K-pop dances for Karl-Pop, playing guzheng, watching Korean dramas, and cycling around Northfield. When Chase doesn't have free time, which is often, he'll be in the libe or Sayles with a cup (or cups) of chai tea in hand. 

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