A Letter to our Students who have just Submitted their First Applications

By: Caroline Koppelman

To our students who have just submitted their first applications: 

CONGRATULATIONS! We are so proud of you! You’ve worked hard and have made sure that everything was ready to submit. We know you’re stressed and probably nervous about hearing back from where you’ve applied, but just relax and listen to what we have to say. 

At TKG we like to promote celebrating the little things. You’ve finished your common app essay. Congrats! You’ve finished all of your supplements, organized all of your recommendation letters, and filled out the common app requirements. Not many other people can say the same. Take a minute to revel in all of your success.

A lot of you might be feeling like, “now what?” because the bulk of your last few months has been spent focusing on the college application. But, before we get to what’s next, you have to think about all that you’ve already done.

Here is our argument for why you should be proud of yourself: 

At the beginning of this process, you didn’t know how to write a personal statement or answer any supplemental questions. You struggled through brainstorming, put in hours of work and finally created a finished product that you can be proud of. You’ve grown a lot, and you need to recognize it.  

To gain further perspective on just how much you’ve down let’s looks at how many parts of the college application there are:

  1. Transcript 
  2. Difficulty of the classes
  3. Difficulty of schedule within the context of your school 
  4. SAT/ACT scores 
  5. SAT2 scores 
  6. Teacher rec 1
  7. Teacher rec 2
  8. Guidance counselor rec 
  9. Supplements for that school
  10. Common app essay 
  11. Common app section 1
  12. Common app section 2
  13. Common app section 3
  14. Common app section 4
  15. Common app section 5 (activities supplement)

After reading through this list, we’re sure you’re going to double check your submission one last time just to see if everything is there. Trust us, it is, but it’s natural to want to look back at your work. However, you might be wondering what happens when you find that one mistake. Are they going to reject you because you accidentally capitalized something or used the wrong word? If you’re looking for a reason to freak out in this moment, or over the next two months, you’ll find one. There is no way your entire application is flawless because nobody’s is. We’ve known students who have forgotten a word or phrase in their app and have still gotten into Penn, Michigan, and Emory. You’ll be fine. 

If you consider how much work you put into all of those 15 parts, it’s only reasonable that you find a mistake within at least one part. Also, when you think about things retrospectively, you will always be able to find flaws in what you did. They say hindsight is 20/20, right? You could’ve spent more time, you could’ve been more creative, and you could’ve had one more person edit your essay. But, these thoughts are unproductive and can lead you into an anxiety spiral. Deep down you know you did enough. Stop fixating on things you can’t change.

Also, the person reading your application doesn’t want you to be perfect. They want you to be quirky, weird and flawed so that they are confident in your ability to grow once you get to their institution. It’s not their goal to find spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and logical incoherency. They just want to find students that fit the community of their school.

With that perspective, we urge you to enjoy this time. It’s a weird time -- you might feel like you’re in limbo, but that’s okay. Get your regular decision applications in order in case you don’t get in ED/EA because this might be a reality that some of you might face. If that is the case, you’ll be happy you prepared for the worst-case scenario.

All in all, we want you be proud of yourselves. If you’re reading this and you’re one of our students, you know how proud we are of you. We know it’s weird to feel proud at this moment of uncertainty, but applying to college is a milestone. So try to be happy! In the end, wherever you end up is where you were meant to be.