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I have never imagined that the time to apply for colleges would be so soon. The college application process is so hectic and demanding. You have to ask do so many things: ask for letters of recommendations, chase teachers, meet counselors, research colleges, worry about SAT, ACT, IELTS, and other test scores, write compelling personal statements, and think about special applications and essays.

Now, I have reached the stage, where I have to research colleges. It is a very tedious process to research colleges among the 331 colleges in California alone. You have to narrow down your searches. Thus, my first advice would be to choose your most desirable cities. Take into consideration aspects such as weather, social atmosphere, size etc.

Also, luckily, there are many people, who you can ask for help such as teachers and counselors. In school, there are so many teachers from myriads of colleges. You can talk to them about their college experiences. Particularly, the counselors are a great asset to our school, as they can help you find the best matches. Thus, my second advice would be to seek help.

Furthermore, I asked my two older sisters: one graduated from USC, and the other is a student in UC Long Beach. When I talked to my younger sister about applying to colleges, she said, “Aim for the moon, so that if you do not reach the moon, you are likely to land on a star.” I thought this was brilliant advice. Thirdly, I would advise to have a dream college in mind, and other colleges would serve as backup plans. Just remember that some colleges are very selective, so having more than one backup plan is a good idea.

For example, if you are applying to ten colleges, one college, should be your dream college, six should be your second choices, and three should be safety colleges. However, you should “aim for the moon” first.

Finally, after you have selected your choices, you have to worry about the application processes, keeping in mind that some universities have distinct and unique application forms.

My last advice would be not to be demotivated. Even if you don’t get accepted to your dream college, remember that college transfers is always an option. Finally, have a set goal, and don’t stop till you reach there.

Good Luck!

By Youssef Ramzy