As we approach the application deadlines, I want to talk a little bit about fear. Fear is a very real part of the college application process. “What if I don’t get in?” is on the mind of every student (and parent). It is also difficult to dismiss this fear, because yes, it is possible that you might not get in to your top choice school. Now, having acknowledged that reality, it is imperative that you do not allow your fear dictate your actions. There are many ways fear can affect your actions. It can keep you from working your hardest. It can stop you from making a decision. It can even make you think you shouldn’t have lofty goals because you’re never going to achieve them anyways, so why bother?
Your job right now is to let your goals dictate your actions. That is why we do the goal setting exercise in the A+ Applicant chapter. This is a scary time. You’re facing possible rejection on a large scale. And that fear is not going to go away. But you can move through it. You can dive under the wave and come up unscathed on the other side. The way to do that is by focusing on your goals and letting your goals dictate your actions. That means working your hardest during the process. That means making informed decisions based on your goals, not your fears. That means setting high goals and moving step by step towards them.
I’ll close with a quick story. I had a student who wanted to transfer from marketing to architecture. She was a talented artist, but she had never taken an architecture class. She submitted her best application and portfolio and was waiting to hear back when she had a fear attack. She called me in a panic, “Maybe I should just apply to a few more schools for marketing just in case.” I knew how badly she wanted to be an architect and advised her to wait until she heard back. “If you don’t get in, we will deal with it then.” The very next day I received another phone call. She had been accepted to her first architecture school, which was soon followed by a few more.
Use your goals to drive your actions, not your fears. If things do not work out as hoped, we will deal with it then. Not now. Right now your job is to submit your BEST college application and my job is to help you get there.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Chelsea Watkins (B.A. USC, MFA USC), managing director of College Application Training, has 25+ years of experience with the college application process. She helps college bound students get in to their top choice schools, pay for their education and stay safe on campus. Her students have attended USC, NYU, Vanderbilt, Columbia, UC Berkeley, and many more. Visit http://www.CollegeAppTraining.com or call (310) 876-2033 for more information.