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“So where did you apply?” “Did you decide on a school?” “Were you accepted?” I cannot keep track of the amount of times I have heard these questions over the last 12 months.

I would say it all started February break of my junior year, but I know that it was even earlier than that. I do not plan to write this blog to scare you at all. Actually, I am writing this blog from the other side. No, not the side of a student who is fully committed to a school (I wish!), the side of a student who is patiently waiting. The college process is long, like a movie your friend dragged you to go to see. It starts with campus tours. At first you are so excited to visit a school you always imagined yourself at and your smile grows when they hand you a coupon for the bookstore. However, there is a weird feeling inside when you step into an empty dorm room that you know would never fit your over 300 sweatshirts from home. Tour the schools, no matter how weird it may feel. That gut feeling will be your compass rose for months ahead of you. Then you are in control.

Do I like the school enough to write 15 supplemental essays? When applications open the summer before senior year you are going to say, “It can wait.” Trust me, there is no point in pushing them back. Senior year is going to be busy, so take some time to get a head start on. Make a Google Doc and start writing. Even if you hate the words on the page in front of you, when you revisit your writing in October, you do not have to start from the ground; all you have to do is edit.

Once applications are in and everyone has a taste of free time people get nosey. I get it; it is exciting to see where your friends applied and wish them the best of luck. If you are the type of person who likes to talk through your goals and accomplishments, feel free to keep those around you in the loop. On the other hand, don’t feel like a bad friend for prioritizing your goals. In the end, you are the one who has to be happy at a school for the next four years. You will make the decisions that are right for you, not the one that your friends or college counselor will be happiest about.

Now that I am done applying to schools and waiting to make a choice that I am happy about, I miss the excitement of pressing submit on my applications. There is a school for everyone! Do you like art? Maybe you like music? How about sports? Take the time to research schools that you can see yourself at. I know that you will end up where you belong because SADD students grow where they are planted.

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