College Applicants in Disguise

College Applicants in Disguise

Halloween has come and gone. The costumes were great despite some chilly weather here in Chicago last Friday. Kids dressed up as princesses, pirates, monsters, policemen, and more. My nephew dressed up as Kiss’s Gene Simmons. I loved the fake tattoo sleeves and the rockin’ wig. I’m not sure anyone paid attention to his glasses; he definitely sold it. I also had a friend who dressed up as Mr. Snow Miser and her daughter went as the Mr. Heat Miser. Fantastic!

But here we are in November. Clocks have been set back, so it is darker out earlier in the evening. It’s cooler and all the leaves have fallen.

November is also the time of year when high school seniors aim to meet their application deadlines. College counselors are ensuring transcripts have been sent. Recommenders are following up to ensure a letter was received on behalf of a candidate. Students are curious if everything has been received by an admission office.

Most admission counselors are wrapping up visits to high schools and attendance at college fairs or interview days. They are now reviewing applications and getting to know students and their interests. They want to know if a student might be a good fit for their campus.

But are you being authentic or are you in disguise?

Think about your answer carefully. When choosing a college, you have a lot of choices, but relatively few are going to feel like a good fit. Just because one school is perfect for one of your friends or because a family member is an alum, doesn’t mean that a particular school is good for you.

And remember that admission counselors want to get to know the real you. Make sure your application materials—like your essay—reflect your true interests, goals, and dreams. Doing so will go a long way in helping you find your best fit college.

There are many important components in a successful college search, but don’t underestimate the value of honest reflection on what you really want out of your college experience. Think about it like finding the right Halloween costume—you have to like it and be comfortable wearing it for the whole night.

In the end, just know that the admission process is all about you feeling confident in yourself and your eventual college choice. The next four years are for you—and you shouldn’t feel like you have to talk yourself into believing that a particular school is your best choice.

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