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As Told by Jackie: 10 Lies About the College Application Process Spewed by the Masses

Being the kind of kid who started researching colleges before I got my braces on, I believed that there was an exact science to getting an acceptance letter from Harvard. The formula was something like 5 percent grades, 15 percent how many SAT prep books I bought, and the rest was becoming a superhuman. I was so brainwashed that I truly believed my intermittent involvement in the Math Magazine and doing the yearly breast cancer walk was going to make it or break it. My acceptance letter from Harvard never came, and I place full blame on the following lies spewed by the masses.

  1. Pretend to be passionate about a cause and start a fundraiser; I thought this was the absolute key to the admissions process. If I had gone through with my fundraiser to build a dog park for dogs with cancer, I would have been the youngest person to attend college.
  2. Visit each and every college in the free world. Leave no freshman hall laundry room untouched. Tell every college how blown away you were by their campus’ Starbucks.
  3. Trip and hurt yourself on the college tour. They’ll accept you out of fear that you’ll sue.
  4. Join every club your high school has to offer. You need to be in at least 50 clubs of varying interests, and you need to have founded half of them yourself.
  5. Honor societies or DIE! So what you have the grades to prove that you’re adept in certain subjects? If you don’t have the pretty rainbow cords to prove it, you’re NOTHING. You have no interest in the Math Honor Society, yet you’ll bake six apple pies for Pi Day. To those that think they can trick everyone into thinking they are truly passionate about honor societies, you’re not fooling me.
  6. Spend upwards of $8,000 to go to Ecuador for two weeks of your summer and volunteer. Your efforts cleaning the village’s water with a Brita filter so you can throw it into your college essay is much more indispensible than donating that money.
  7. Write about overcoming adversity. I don’t know if this is some sort of human defect with our brain chemistry, but this is the only option applicants see fit for a college essay. If you didn’t write about the tragic tale of your third cousin’s battle with acid reflux and how it taught you to not take life for granted, then you’re probably a mutant.
  8. Try out for a sport. Do this even if you have no athletic ability. This way they’ll know you get your blood pressure up on something other than the timed critical reading section of the SAT.
  9. Research your family history until you find out that you are one-sixteenth a minority. Your great-great-grandfather was an Eskimo? Perfect.
  10. Have no study halls or lunches in your schedule. Don’t even bother applying to college if you do because there isn’t a college in the world that wants an underachieving loser who wants a little time to eat their sandwich instead of conjugating in Latin class.  No one I tell you!

Jackie Salo is majoring in journalism and political science since she couldn’t find a job as a froyo taste tester. She has won numerous awards including the prestigious Chai Center Hebrew School Perfect Attendance Award 2004. Follow Jackie on Twitter at @GoodInsanity.

As Told by Jackie is a blog that chronicles all of Jackie’s latest grievances that result from not being able to sleep 28 hours a day.

February 4, 2013

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Jackie Salo


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