So. You’re starting your college apps process (mainly talking to juniors, but really an HS student). You’re trying to figure out how the heck you’re going to make it through everything. There’s weird acronyms like OOS, CA, CSS, and FAFSA. And there are so many unknowns like when to start writing essays, how to know what you want in a school, and so many others.
Although I may have had some support around me when it came to figuring out this process, there was one singular resource that, albeit I addictively browsed for a year, really did help me figure out the idiosyncrasies of college admissions. That is, as shown in that picture right at the start, the subredditr/applyingtocollege.
All of my fellow seniors probably already know and browsed this religiously, but for the few who may not know, here’s the scoop. The page is a forum made up almost exclusively of students, both in high school and college, who ask their questions about the admissions process. Students often can give quick answers back to their fellow users about simple, more straightforward topics. It’s a great way to find any quick, searchable information about a particular school, major, or application in just seconds, rather than just scouring every single school’s page. It significantly improved the speed with which I was able to learn about everything because I could just check to see if someone else had that same idea.
There are plenty of other forum sites that also do college-related discussions, most notably College Confidential. But, what sets this single page above every other, is the access to verified college counselors and former admissions officers.
If there is a question that a student may have, from any part of the globe, they can ask a qualified expert about anything relating to college admissions and get better answers as opposed to relying upon the parents or students that may browse the page. My own high school is fortunate enough to have two advisors dedicated to college applications counseling. But, for those without that, and even four me looking for. more varied and broader opinions on any number of subjects, this page in sometimes two clicks could get me the answer that I needed rather than walking in, scheduling a meeting, and then remembering what to ask.
Besides just getting advise on numerous topics relating to the actual application, there are also dedicated subreddits connected to this page that can help with test prep. I used those pages almost exclusively for getting free access provided by some companies to users of the page for testing resources. I did nearly all of my test prep with the resources I found through r/applyingtocollege, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. In a time where more and more corporations are starting to invest in profiting off this process, having free resources on the internet has brought it slowly closer to getting everyone a little bit better shot at applying to great schools.
I wouldn’t be a fair and honest person if I didn’t say that this place does have some of its drawbacks. Most upfront, it definitely is a site where you feel at times as though you’re not qualified. There’s an adjacent subreddit called r/chanceme where they “rate” your chances at getting into schools. Honestly, that place is ridiculous and I do not recommend spending anytime there. Often times, any forum surrounding applications is very numbers-focused at times, and although this one is really great, it does feel at times as though you might stand no chance if this random user from somewhere claims they did everything and still got a rejection.
But as a whole, I definitely believe that r/applyingtocollege really helped make this whole process way easier than I could have thought possible. When it came to comparing schools, I could just research direct head to heads. When I wanted to ask about diversity at schools, I could find that right away through the page. Aside from the addiction that this page becomes at times, to all the juniors, sophomores, and even freshman that just have any curious questions about college in general, check it out!
*This installment of the blog is dedicated to the incredible Ermias Asghedom, better known as Nipsey Hussle. My thoughts on his passing will be up for my school paper soon.
Being Noah Tesfaye #75: The Best Digital College Applications Resource
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