I can vividly remember six or seven years ago submitting my Common Apps to fifteen colleges in total (oh boy). I had colleges in Boston picked out, colleges in Virginia and of course a few randos like Denver, San Francisco, and San Diego; and life just kind of sorted itself out for me.
Recently I’ve gotten questions from younger readers asking to break down my experience with applying to college and deciding on a major, so this one goes out to you guys.
Also before we start, you can read more about my college experince here.
Applying to college was a process I LOVED. I enjoyed touring the schools, I loved taste testing the food in the cafeteria, and I especially loved buying my college gear at the end of the tour. I was 100% on board with the entire process.
So, being type A, I was prepared way ahead of time. When I applied for college there was a check-list and mine was checked off across the board. My SAT’s were done (I took them three times, once I even took them behind Matt when I had a nasty sinus infection and let’s just say…it was interesting) my essays were written and my Common App was all filled out.
When November 7th came, I was ready in advance so submitting my applications for college, was basically stress-free. In hindsight, I was very lucky to have applied to all fifteen schools because in total I only got into, seven of them…so just under half. My number one school at the time was Wake Forest, which didn’t play out for me but my second choice was San Diego for obvious reasons.
The truth is, you don’t know what’s going to happen. So it’s ALWAYS better to apply to more schools to give yourself the OPTION of choosing. I’ve seen way too many peers crushed when they only applied to schools they were ‘guaranteed’ to get into but didn’t, and I too experienced that.
I can also remember applying to a ton of schools, all different ranges and the day before the deadline for Babson (which by the way is a very prestigious business school for entrepreneurs) my dad said just apply. So I wrote a mini essay about my love of New England and Red Sox and didn’t think twice.
After getting a few no’s from schools that I ‘qualified’ for I got a letter from Babson saying I was in. I was shocked, I was under qualified, put zero effort into the mini essay, because I thought there was NO WAY I’d get in, and bang I did.
So the one thing I took away from applying to college is ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN, so give yourself options and apply to a range of colleges.
The other popular question I’ve received recently, from those of you looking to pursue a college degree is how to pick a major.
I’m going to come right out and say, I was very lucky. I always knew I wanted to do marketing/business, to be honest, I think I decided on it way back in fifth grade and from then on it never switched.
For me it was as easy as picking a topic that I loved and wanted to learn about, however, there are what feels like thousands of majors to choose from today, so don’t get discouraged if nothing catches your eye right out of the gate.
Your first year of college can be dedicated towards core classes, so use that time to meet with teachers, department heads and prospective mentors in fields you’re interested in.
I’d also recommend keeping the following in mind when deciding a major:
- What do you want to do post-college?
- How will this degree/training help you get there?
- Is this something I’m interested in?
The questions above should help you pick the right major for the right reason. I can’t tell you how many friends went to the school of business of accounting, for the sole reason of a large paycheck. In the end, many of them had to switch majors, because going into something for the idea of money…isn’t the best plan.
So keep your ears open and your motives pure and you all will be fine.
Okay, I’d love to hear what college you guys went to and which major you picked! I love learning about you guys, xx Aubrey
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