My junior year in high school, whenever I would research a university’s cost of tuition, there was a consistent pattern of its elimination from my “apply to” list. I soon realized that the big price tag sticker was quite constant for all prospective colleges/universities. Everywhere I looked there were 5 figure tags that seemed impossible to afford. If that wasn’t devastating enough, college websites discouraged me from applying with their “statistics.” The average admitted student’s GPA and test scores seemed to reflect what I saw as my best work. Even just the word “private” seemed to scare me, as I’d grown up attending pubic school my entire life. Was private better? Was it harder? Every aspect of the admissions process seemed dispiriting.
If it wasn’t for the support of my family, I don’t think I would have powered up the courage to apply, despite the intimidation. My parent, especially my dad, encouraged me to focus on the positive aspects of my application, instead of my setbacks. This came as a huge surprise to me because my father never attended college. The entire application process was new territory for him, and yet, he was not scared. This motivated me to learn from his courage. Instead of applying to only my “Plan B” schools, I ended up applying to seven “Plan A” schools. I called them all “Plan A” schools because I made it a habit to see all the schools as obtainable; I convinced myself that they were all in my reach. From my dad’s inspiration, I blocked out all the fears that came with application process. I didn’t let additional work such as “supplemental questionnaires” discourage me. Ultimately, the outcome and what came to be my college of choice, only became a possibility because I faced those fears. If I had remained a scared applicant, I am 100% confident that I would not be at USD.
If I were to redo the application process all over again (which I will do come graduate school), I would remind myself of my value. I would remind myself that I, as a candidate, will stand out. Everything about an applicant can be unique, and every applicant has potential. Don’t let numbers like statistics and tuition costs hold you back from trying. There is no harm in trying.