Conor’s Column

How to apply to college in the modern era

So you’ve decided to apply to college. Whether you’re a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior, it’s never too early to start building up your applicant profile. It’s a complicated process, to be sure. There are so many variables to manage and schools to research. At times, it can be overwhelming. But don’t worry, I’m here with a set of helpful tips that will help you get into any school you want to attend.

First, let’s talk about demographics. We all know that colleges care about diversity, so you better start leveraging whatever you have right now. White? Ancestry’s 1 percent Hispanic DNA test begs to differ. Rich? You just want to use your resources to help out the less fortunate. Straight? Maybe you realize you’re bisexual the week you’re filling out your application. Remember, all of these are guaranteed boosts to your chance of acceptance, regardless of your experiences, so put down as much as you possibly can. They aren’t lies if they’re 12 percent true.

Next, academics. They’re important, so take as many weighted classes as you can. Work hard to find the easiest AP classes in the school and take all of them. The ultimate goal is to make your transcript look as hard as possible while challenging yourself as little as possible. It doesn’t matter how much a class interests you if it won’t help your GPA. For your art credits, never go past the first level of a subject. It’ll get too hard. Most importantly, if you have any free periods with no weighted options, never fill them with a class. You don’t want an unweighted A dragging your 4.6 down. 

Finally, we arrive at extracurriculars, the cornerstone of any successful applicant. When it comes to activities, it’s all about building that resume. Why take charge of a struggling club and elevate it to new heights when you could just be president of three other ones? Join as many different teams as you can so you can fill up those Common App spots. If you can make varsity, even better. Just don’t work too hard or you won’t have time to study for your 4th try at the SAT. (trust me, those extra 10 points are worth it). Then again, getting injured and wearing a cast for two months would provide a perfect opportunity to write your essay about fighting through adversity. Leadership opportunities are also invaluable, so apply for as many as you possibly can. Passion or investment isn’t important as long as you get to put the position on your application. Then all you have to do is coast and let the other leaders do all the work while you get to enjoy that sweet, sweet resume builder. For volunteer service, remember that it’s quantity over quality. And if you can’t remember how many hours you have completed, maybe just round up to the nearest hundred. There’s no way they can prove you didn’t get them. 

And that’s all that I have. If you follow those directions, you will be the most prepared college applicant around. Bonus points if you’re a well-rounded human being, but don’t worry too much about that. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask the college counselor that your parents paid four thousand dollars to ghostwrite your essays. And if you really, really can’t get in, I’m sure there’s a rowing coach who can help you out. I hope you found this guide helpful, and I wish you the best in all of your college endeavors.