It’s Never Too Early for College Applicants

Joshua Perry, News Editor

Do you have a dream school? Somewhere you can envision your collegiate education going as smoothly as possible? That’s good, but are you certain you can get in?

College is often the next step for graduating high schoolers, but it’s hard to feel confident about the transition. Most students don’t look forward to the college application process and vying for acceptance. However, there are ways to prepare for it, whether you’re a freshman or a senior.

Ms. Haskins works at the EHS writing center, where she helps students work on college application essays. She said the essays are key to college admissions.

“The college boards at various schools read thousands of these, and you have to find a way to engage them, and make yourself stand out,” Ms. Haskins said. “That’s difficult sometimes without sounding autobiographical.”

At the writing center, Ms. Haskins helps students polish up grammar and conventions in their work, but that isn’t her main role. She said she primarily helps students express their personality and character through their words.

“College essays really need to showcase and highlight you as an individual,” Ms. Haskins said.

According to the College Board website, college essays shouldn’t list personal achievements or try to paint a rosy image of the applicant. In fact, honesty often increases one’s chances of getting accepted.

The College Board also recommends talking with family, teachers, and school counselors about your life plans, in order to get focused on writing about them. Students should take advantage of all resources available.

Ms. Haskins said she has spoken with students in the past to help develop ideas and essays. She strongly recommends the services of the writing center, and even coming back more than once to work with a consultant.

“We aren’t here to rip your writing apart, that’s not our goal,” she said. “What we’re trying to do is get you to see something about your writing that you didn’t see, or fix something that maybe you did see and didn’t know how to fix.”

Seniors typically start applying at the end of summer and the beginning of the school year, but underclassmen can ready themselves for the college vetting process now.

Senior Andrew Meng, who plans to use the writing center for his applications, recounted how he started preparing early for college around freshman year.

Meng didn’t practice essay writing or do mock admissions interviews to early in the game. All he did was try to get involved.

“The only decisions I made conscious of college admissions before my junior year involved taking more rigorous classes than I otherwise may have,” Meng said. “Later on, I began joining service organizations and more deliberate attempts to demonstrate leadership qualities.”

Ms. Haskins suggested others do the same. She said engaging in extracurricular activities or even activities not associated with EHS makes one a solid admissions candidate.

“Anything that you have an interest in, get involved in it—particularly early, because it’s those experiences that you’re going to draw upon when you begin this college application process,” she said.

Meng believes looking ahead and getting the quintessential teenage experience go hand-in-hand.

“The most important thing is to strike an appropriate balance between enjoying your time in high school and preparing for the future,” Meng said.