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The Condor Insider

The Condor Insider

Inside the Mind of a Senior

By Jasmine Garcia-Rodriguez

Hopefully, you read the last issue and have taken one of the standardized tests–or both. Almost all colleges require either the SAT with writing or ACT with writing. There is no “bad” score, but each college has a range of scores that are acceptable. Not satisfied with your score? Not within the range? No need to worry, the SAT and ACT are still available in December; however, that is your LAST chance to raise your test score. Without a doubt, this is going to be one of the most stressful months during the school year for seniors. Let’s just go straight to the advice since time is ticking: especially with all the upcoming application deadlines this month.

College Apps – Personal Essay Tips

Time to write all your personal responses! Fun! Well, it’s fun if you actually have your brag sheet done. Organizing your thoughts into a coherent essay can be difficult; the brag sheet solves this and more.

Along with the brag sheet, I also make a Google doc that holds every college essay/response I have done (including the question it responds to). Most applications ask similar questions and instead of rewriting a response, I prefer to reuse a response that somewhat relates to the question and revising it to ensure the prompt is answered. Sometimes this works well and saves you time; however, some prompts are too specific and you will have to create a completely new essay. You can still use previous essays as a guide or even as inspiration.

College Apps – Letters of Recommendation

It can be hard writing about yourself, now imagine how difficult it is for teacher and counselors. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to complete your brag sheet as soon as possible. Teachers and counselors will not start writing your letter until you send it to them.

Letters of recommendation from teachers and counselors can take a long time to write: asking your recommender to write your letter two days before the due date is the worst thing you could do. For everyone’s sake, ask them at least two (preferably three) weeks before the deadline–and tell them it is due a day before the actual deadline. This will guarantee that your letter will be submitted on time: giving you one less thing to worry about.

Ask teachers who you know well. While it may benefit you to ask your AP Literature teacher to write a letter, knowing the academic language in it will be stellar, it would be a waste if they barely knew your name. Asking teachers who not only know your academic accomplishments but also your personality gives colleges a better idea of who you are. By asking a teacher who knows you well, they will be able to write how you are more than qualified to attend the college of your choice.

November – Time Management

Stress will be the only emotion you will feel if you do not work on your college applications throughout the month. Chip away at those college applications. There are resources available at school to help you fill out these applications if you are not sure how to do so. It may seem daunting but the sooner you work on those essays. The more time you will have to revise them. Colleges will not be forgiving of simple grammatical mistakes; it will be a dead give-away that you procrastinated on your application. While grades and extracurriculars play a role in the admissions process, the personal statements gives colleges a better understanding of who you are. Best of luck seniors and remember that admission to college has gotten more competitive: so don’t overthink your response to USC’s short answer question “Describe yourself as a hashtag”.

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Inside the Mind of a Senior