Seniors, This Is For You


Cayley Ryan, Staff Writer

The first semester of senior year is undeniably a stressful time. Students are bombarded with deadlines and requirements for college applications and scholarships. To assist the student body, we spoke to three Green Hope alums for their advice on how to make the application process as enjoyable as possible.

What’s the best unique advice you have for making the college application process easier? (Small thing or habit)

Emily Ryu, Princeton ‘21: Find someone, or multiple people, who can help you through the process. This doesn’t just mean reading over your application essays; it also means encouraging and emotionally supporting you the whole way through.

Conor Ryan, Elon ‘21: Be yourself through all of it.

Suniti Mohan, UNC Chapel Hill ‘21: This is so weird, but right before I would start working on my applications I would watch an episode of Grey’s Anatomy because I want to be a doctor, and watching an episode reminded me what I was doing it all for.

Tell me about writing the essays. How did you approach it, and did it work? What would you have done differently?

Emily: I wrote my essays by brainstorming a big list of ideas, and then picking one to run with and seeing how fully I could develop that idea. One thing I would change is that when I got stuck, I just sat and stared at the computer screen for a while. It probably would have been really helpful to take a short break and come back to my essays after being refreshed. I also got feedback on my essays from several different people, and it was really helpful to receive various perspectives.

Conor: I was myself; I found topics I felt really strongly about, and wrote about those. It worked, I got into the college of my choice.

Suniti: It’s hard to just write out all of your thoughts at once because we’re hardwired to remember format and grammar and all that jazz, but with college essays get in the grove and don’t stop. Just get everything out and you can fix it up later.

What’s the best way to ask teachers for recommendations?

Emily: Don’t choose a teacher just because you did well in their class, but because you formed a close connection with them over time. Also, be sure to ask early!

Conor: Find a teacher who you have a really strong relationship with and just ask them. It won’t be their first time.

Suniti: Make sure the teacher likes you, first of all. Then go up to them and tell them why you chose them to write you a recommendation. Make sure you actually did something in that class too so it’s not a generalized letter. Do it early, especially with popular teachers.

How many colleges would you say is the maximum someone should apply to?

Emily: It really depends on the person, but I would say that 10 is a good upper bound to make sure that you have enough time and energy to do your best on all your applications.

Conor: As many as there are colleges you really want to go to and can get in to. Don’t apply anywhere where you’ll easily get in but won’t be happy.

Suniti: Go for your four to five favorite schools. One to two should be ones you know you’ll get into, 1-2 should be ones you should get into, and one to two should be harder to get into but you love them enough to try and see. Any more is just extra and y’all know those cost like $70 each.

Is it worth it to apply early?

Emily: Applying early can definitely be helpful, but I would really wait to make sure you’re completely ready first. If you feel like you need more time on your application, then it’s worth it to apply regular.

Conor: Yes.


What’s something you wish you had done senior year?

Emily: I wish I had participated in more activities (senior car parade, gone to more football games, etc.). These experiences and the friendships you form from them are some of the best and most important parts of high school.

Conor: Spent more time with friends.

If you could go back a year and give yourself advice, what would it be?

Emily: Make the most of your senior year! It passes by so quickly, and you’ll really miss the moments and the people when it’s over.

Conor: I would tell myself not to worry, everything was going to be okay.

Suniti: Stop stressing so much, stop crying so much, and stop being so scared. You are good enough for that school, and it’s scary right now but you’ll end up where you need to end up. You’ll be fine.

Enjoy your year class of 2018, it will be over before you know it.