Taking your first scary steps toward adulthood begins with charging through college application season with a fighting spirit. For many young adults, the application process is the first high-stress decision they’ll navigate without the supervision of anxiety-ridden helicopter parents.
The weight of choosing a successful path instills fear in every applicant, and the anxiety of the unknown may seem paralyzing at times. “What if I don’t get in?” and “I don’t even know where to start?” are common questions ringing through the heads of tentative teens. Even the most prepared students experience a spike in anxiety during the looming college application season. The pressure and expectation of acceptance to top-tier schools can send high schoolers into a spiral, as powering through complicated forms and lengthy admissions essays adds another layer of stress to newcomer’s shoulders.
In spite of every challenge presented by college admissions, applicants must learn to overcome the fear of rejection. Taking risks is a part of life, and the sooner young adults learn to boldly face the chance of failure, the better prepared they will be for college. Recognize the necessary times to push through hardship, and understand that some things will fall out of your control.
Conquering a fear of rejection is made easier without widely-circulated college admissions myths coercing teens into a bout of college-admissions blues. Fearful of the unknown? Here are six misconceptions with a track record of intimidating future first-year students for far too long.
Getting to the Bottom of College Admissions Myths: 6 Misconceptions Worth Dispelling
Myth #1: Stellar test scores guarantee admission
It’s a well-known fact that standardized testing puts hands-on learners at an unfortunate disadvantage. Sadly, pressure-intensive SAT/ACT exams may misrepresent the abilities of otherwise competent high school seniors.
While most students believe scores to be the ultimate determining factor of their admissions status, test results are only one piece of the puzzle. That said, you’ll need to untangle yourself from the pervasive myth of all-powerful test scores. Other factors like college essays, scholarships, and extracurricular portfolios help admissions experts determine who you are as a potential student.
For those anxious test-takers, take solace in the fact that higher-education institutions are transitioning to admissions policies completely independent of test results. Test-optional colleges place more importance on glowing GPAs and the completion of challenging classes.
Myth #2: A few bad grades will thwart your chances
Receiving a less-than-ideal grade is inevitable, especially as students transition throughout highschool. Admissions experts are looking for improvement, not perfection. Proving a developing academic trend reflects your ability to adjust. Adcoms will also factor in the kinds of classes you have succeeded in or failed, so don’t sweat it if your PE grade has dipped below your A+-average.
Myth #3: Your college essay has to be formal
A college essay should convey your passion for furthering your academic career, but that doesn’t prohibit the opportunity for creativity. The essay is your chance to stand out from the mass of applicants, so don’t be afraid to show some originality. While it’s crucial to balance voice with purpose, an authentic essay may be your ticket into a highly competitive institution.
Myth #4: Planning for college starts your junior year
Waiting until junior year of high school to start thinking about college is a rookie mistake made by hopeful high school seniors nationwide. Remember, you don’t have to decide on a specific college or major, but dreaming about the future during your freshman year is highly valuable. Specifying interests and eyeing academic fields allows you to tailor your highschool curriculum toward those goals.
Myth #5: You must decide on a major before application
It’s completely normal to be undecided on an area of study before and even during college. In most cases, you’ll spend your early college years wrapping-up general education requirements, allowing you to explore a wide range of topics. Therefore, academic advisors won’t nudge you to declare a major until your sophomore year. With this knowledge, consider choosing a school that offers a diverse assortment of courses.
College applications are intimidating, but by disproving commonly-held myths you can crush your fear of failure and step into a successful future.