A Guide to Writing College Apps


A visual demonstration of brain activity and Google Doc Version History as you approach submission time.

Srinidhi Sankar, Opinions Editor

“Do you have any advice for college apps,” asks every underclassman.

Don’t you worry, honey buns! I’ve detailed exclusive information that’s so realistic and personal that it sounds like a true story (maybe because it is). So here I am wasting my time instead of working on my applications. You’re welcome.

Start during the summer, they say. Senior year gets too busy, they say. Ignore them. Those losers probably had nothing better to do during the summer. In fact, open your application portal two weeks before the deadline—three weeks if you’re feeling fancy. Everyone around you will be discussing how they are unsatisfied with their seventh draft of essays, while you will be asking people what the prompts are. Simply look through the prompts for a solid ten minutes, and then run a blank. If you’re in the mood, take the extra step to open a Google Doc. But it strikes you there’s a QUEST assignment due on Tuesday, so you don’t have time for this application of yours.

On Tuesday night, you get back to your empty Google Doc, and think back to all the accomplishments from your high school career. Aha! What about that summer when you built homes and taught children in an underdeveloped country? But, sadly, that topic will be overdone by the time admissions read it as two out of three Irvington students probably wrote about it too. Well, what else are you going to do, write about your DECA story that belongs to every other Bay Area teen? Aw sweetie, you thought that you were the only one who did research or an overpriced “enrichment program” over the summer?

Of course, your lackluster resume is depressing and you’ve exhausted your brain power by overthinking, so take a nap for an hour. Get up to get snacks: obviously getting out of bed is so laborious that you deserve a gold star, so you watch a couple episodes of that T.V. show you saved for the second semester. Except those “couple episodes” turn into binging the whole show and waking up to puffy eyes.

With only a few days left to the deadline, it’s time to get your shitake mushrooms together. You start losing hair, breaking out in every crevice of your face, and wake up sweaty from nightmares of you missing the 11:59 PM deadline by two minutes. But your job is to prevent that nightmare from becoming a reality, so you start writing frantically, and type cheesy phrases about introspection or your self-proclaimed leadership skills, cueing a rush of regret: How did I sabotage my future like this? If only I didn’t have QUEST getting in the way… Why didn’t I take easier classes my senior year? Screw it, it’s not like I’m getting into this university anyway…

You send your horrendous draft to be edited, only to have your soul and essay torn apart, like a rotting carcass picked at by savage vultures. Yet you were unaware of your invincible powers that are lay dormant until the “phenomenon of time crunch” takes over. Fueled by a frappe or your mother’s chai, you trudge through an all-nighter, and finally press submit. I’d let you bask in your glory, but darling, you need to restart the process—you have many more colleges to apply to.