Im sure many of you here are in the process of applying to school, whether it be undergrad, grad, trade school, med school, etc... Would anybody care to vent their stress and anxiety? After procrastinating for way way too long, I'm in the midst of a mad rush to get all of my materials together and send out the first of my apps. Im a 4th year undergrad, trying to get into a PhD program. S**ts scary. All of the stress of applying to undergrad, but without the preparation and assistance from teachers and guidance counsellors and whatnot. It freaks me out thinking about how the next couple months will determine exactly how I spend the next decade and beyond.
Does anybody want to share their experiences? Success or Horror stories? Get some advice? I would be happy to give out some tips if anybody is interested. Consider me a comprehensive guide on what not to do. Heres a few to start off:
-DO visit the schools you'd like to go to. Don't just take the tour, meet with some professors and some admissions people and have a conversation with them. It shows dedication, and the people making the decision will know that you're not some wierdo psychopath.
-DONT procrastinate endlessly (like i'm doing right now), give yourself lots of time to really perfect your essays
-DO make friends with your teachers/professors. Even if you just meet and talk with them a few times about the course material, they will know you better than 90% of the class, and will give you a good rec. if you ask them.
-DONT rule out any schools due to cost. The most expensive schools also give the most financial aid. Nobody pays the full price. Yes, student loans might suck the life out of you for a few years after you graduate, but an education is the most valuable thing you can buy, and it cant be re-possessed if you default on your loan, which tons of people do, so dont even worry about it. Even better, get gen-ed requirements out of the way at a community college where classes are inexpensive and easy to ace, then get your degree from a more prestigious university.
-DONT jump straight into school if you don't feel you're ready. If you think college is going to be all fun and parties all the time, you're not ready. Its a huge commitment and a lot of work. I went in thinking that I could party all the time and still do well. Turns out you cant, and my GPA took an unrecoverable hit. If you want to party it up, get a job and live in/near a college town for a few years. You'll still make tons of friends and go to lots of parties, and you won't have the responsibility of mountains of coursework. Start once you've got the partying out of your system and are settled down and ready, possibly with some savings to carry you through while everyone else is stuck eating ramen and being broke.
I've got tons more, ask away if you're interested.