Application Process

My name is Katie.
I’m not on the varsity soccer team, I have yet to land the lead in the winter musical, and I haven’t logged any community service hours throughout all of high school. I probably look astonishingly similar to the bulk of your other applicants.

I have received above average grades in honors and AP classes and my SAT scores are at the minimum for your university. All things considered, I know for a fact that I probably don’t stand out. But last night, in the process of writing my application essay, I was visited by my former self.

Freshman Katie stands next to my bed, two feet shorter, seventy pounds heavier, wearing a sweatshirt in June, and her skin is three shades paler. She avoids signing up for any and every club, she avoids her three siblings, she even avoids herself. Her curtains are always drawn. Lying in her top drawer is a Swiss army knife that no one knows she uses on a regular basis; no one will ever find out. There is a stack of books in the corner of her room that is taller than she is, but she will never get around to reading them.

So I may not look incredibly impressive on paper, and I won’t be able to write you an extraordinary essay about the animal hospital that I work at on the weekends and what I’ve learned from my experiences there, but I have made a hell of a lot of progress during my four years. I have cut and cried, argued and fought, stayed up until 3am to finish homework and still woke up at 6am to get to school on time until I became the person I am today. I’ve learned why a bullet shot from a gun will hit the ground at the same time as an identical bullet dropped from the same height, but I’ve also learned that sometimes you’ll have to throw away your Swiss army knife for yourself because no one else will. I learned that being your own hero is your best and safest option. I learned that you can work your ass off and smile through every day and still have the lowest class rank out of all of your fellow honors and AP friends. I learned that no matter what the letters of recommendation say, nothing you will see on the other side of this is going to tell you who any of us are. We are all so much more than our GPAs. I am not an SAT score.


  1. Dear Katie,

    This was great. For me at least, high school was the hardest thing I have ever gone through. It wasn’t a bad 4 years, just a difficult 4 years. But in every hardship, every failed Chemistry test, every time a person hurt me enough to make me cry, every play that I got cut from, I grew. Then last year, writing my college essays, I realized something; I grew up. We all did.

    I didn’t get into my first choice school- or my second or third choices either. But that’s okay. There’s no place on the common app to put “I learned how to handle rejection”, or “I’m honestly just proud of the fact that I made it to senior year, with people who love me and a smile on my face.” But that doesn’t make it any less true. And at the end of the day, we all end up at a decent college with a lot of wisdom and a lot of excitement for our lives ahead.

    Chanche love,



    1. Thanks Shannon! I just hit this point in writing my essay where I just got really frustrated, because no college wants to hear about what I’m really proud of. Every time my parents even bring up the SATs or college I start having this panic attack and I just want to cry lately. I’m sorry you couldn’t get into your first few choices but it probably wasn’t meant to be. You don’t want to be at a college where they don’t understand you well enough to want you there. Good luck to you and the rest of the Chanches in college!!


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