The High School Freshmen College Application Process

With the college admissions process becoming more competitive than ever, high schoolers need to start prepping earlier for application season.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

All right freshmen, now that you’ve had a semester to earn your sea legs—or rather, your peg legs—it’s time to get cracking and prep yourself for college applications. That’s right—you need to diversify and electrify; justify and terrify; testify and rectify your life experiences and thoughts ASAP. Oh, you think it’s too soon? That you have years ahead of you to live your life and eventually build up to that unfortunate state of existence? Oh, classic freshmen—so naive. No, that is all false. In fact, you’re even later to this than you were to first period Swim Gym today. Here are some tips to help you do your best—wait, sorry, wrong instruction guide.

Here are some useful tips to get those college essays and application materials looking spicier than Mr. Choubaralian’s biannual facial hair purge, with twice the shock factor!

1. Take interesting jobs. You live in NYC—the most dynamic and inexplicable dystopia in the world. Become a sewage worker, and write about how the fetid pungencies of New York City’s rank underbelly are really a metaphor for all the mental and emotional baggage and waste we hide within ourselves on the daily. Boom. That’s gonna be a college essay even more lucrative than the Costco one. Not interested in the sanitational field? Yearning for something more explorative that you can really sink your intellectual chompers into, like that Costco girl’s charming anecdotes? Well, someone needs to redraw the maps of NYC as gentrification slowly creeps out and swallows neighborhoods whole. Metropolitan cartography is an undervalued career path that most are too afraid to pursue—but if anything can rival the Costco girl’s epiphanic self-discovery within a tub of sour cream, it’s the teenage mapmaker’s transcendental comprehension of social interconnectivity from the boldly colored subway routes of Manhattan.

2. Don’t be afraid to rock the boat. Shake things up with your family and friends for maximum traumatic upbringing. Immerse yourself in drama! I’m not talking about that tame STC production quality. Have that fight you’ve always needed to have with your grandmother over complete dominance of the TV remote. Pick that bone you’ve had with your hamster since the pet shop right this instant! Picture “Riverdale” being filmed with the Kardashians—and you’ve got yourself a perfect storm. Remember, conflict and pain make for the most flavorful college essays. And hey, if your out-for-lunch privileges ever get voided due to some “suspicious” activities on your part (I don’t judge)—you’ve still got those juicy college essays to snack on, right?

3. Start kissing up. You’re going to need those teacher recs a lot sooner than you realize—the longer and richer your romantic I MEAN ACADEMIC relationship is with them, the more fire your recommendations are going to look. Starting freshman year not only confers upon you the benefits of age, but it’s also much easier to ensnare their affections for you while you’re still trapped in an unthreatening, slightly endearing prepubescent form. If you’re devoted enough, you might even snag some extra special supplemental recs from the unlikeliest of places (Looking at you, cool security guard guy, *wink wink*).

4. Show the colleges you care! It’s never too early to demonstrate your interest. Send your dream colleges Valentine’s Day cards! Birthday cards too, reminding them how prestigiously elderly they are. If you do it right, you might even pay enough for postage to match your future college application fees! Now isn’t that a praiseworthy feat?

5. Build an altar, a shrine to the deified persona of each college. Pray to it every night. Do your homework at its base every day. That way, you have someone else to blame other than yourself after you get hit with that waitlist rejection. Not every college has a prepackaged, ready-made figurehead to worship like our very own Supreme Big Boy Peter Stuyvesant, so you might have to get creative. Looking into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for their great humanities department? Welcome to modern mythology, MIT Romski. Or if you prefer the classic one-word deity names like Zeus or Deadpool, you’re more than welcome to keep the colleges’ abbreviated names. Just saying, you might sound slightly silly praying to Colgate every night. Especially when everyone knows Crest is superior.

And you know what happens after all this? That’s right—after all those years, riddled with sick and mental health days, you succumb to the one disease that Nurse Danielle can’t send you home for: senioritis. Our bodies become prone to infection as soon as our early applications are sent out, and from then on, the minor malady known as First-Term Senior Stress develops into a full-blown case of Second-Term Senioritis. It’s a terrible sickness, truly. Symptoms may include scholarly apathy, an inability to change out of your pajamas and sweats for school, and a stunning lack of regard for grades that rivals even that of the no-cellphone policy. Each year it claims hundreds of more lives at Stuyvesant—a menace not even Ms. Garber’s baby project may help you overcome.

All this is to say that your efforts will eventually be rewarded. Every single one of these pro tips has been time-tested and proven true with each generation of miserable high school overachievers. You will go on to some higher-level institution that miraculously finds a way to resupply its paper towel dispensers throughout the day. You will dredge up some shady connections, pull some strings, and find a great job at Kung Fu Tea or some super progressive, millennial-friendly workplace where the motto is “FUN!: Finding Ur kNack” (which may or may not end up making sense after a couple of company-sponsored drinks). And you will make money and live. Me? I myself unfortunately didn’t have such a beneficent, valuable study guide to college like this breathtaking compilation. Someday, though, I do dream to make as much money as you all will in your well-paying, affluent careers, courtesy of moi. Or, better yet, enough to pay for my own child’s college tuition. Now there’s something Columbia doesn’t have in its curriculum.