Between your common application, your list of prospective colleges and the number of schools you get accepted to, no two college application processes are alike. Though there is no typical way to handle this phase—you may be having mental breakdowns during fifth period while your BFF is as cool as a cucumber—there are some types of college applicants you’re bound to encounter. Whether you go to a huge public school or a prestigious, private academy, these 10 people are bound to be in your senior class.
1. The Crier
We’re going to be blunt: applying to college is very stressful. Between freaking out over your GPA and tracking down your teachers’ letters of recommendation, it’s only natural to have a minor emotional breakdown at some point.
For some applicants, that’s a daily occurrence. Meet The Crier: she can be found wailing to her guidance counselor about her SAT scores, and she’ll always have puffy, red eyes.
The first time she cries at school, it will be the gossip of the week. You and your classmates will want to know where it happened, why she started crying and who was there to console her. After a couple weeks, however, watching this pre-collegiette’s panic attacks will be as normal as homeroom or seeing that annoying couple’s PDA before third period. So over it.
At first, her friends will rush to her side as soon as the tears start flowing. After several in-school meltdowns—not to mention a few at dinner, the movies and last weekend’s huge house party—they roll their eyes and reluctantly follow her after she dramatically exits math class. Sounds harsh, but can you blame them? There’s only so many times a girl can tell her BFF, “You will get into at least one college.”
Now, for the million-dollar question: why is she crying all the time? Did her she and her boyfriend break up? Is she dealing with family drama? Not exactly. Initially, she’ll be freaking out about getting into her dream school and taking the SATs. Eventually, anything college-related will set her off. Choosing a major is a tearjerker and whether or not she wants to grab some college apparel after that campus tour will be a major dilemma.
Though your first instinct is to stay far away from this type of applicant, offer her a shoulder to cry on every now and then. If you feel the waterworks coming, we’re sure she’ll happily offer you tissues and waterproof mascara. Because isn’t that what friends are for?
2. The Applicant Who Asks a Few Too Many Questions
Since every university has its own set of requirements and supplemental questions, applying to a bevy of different schools can be confusing. Luckily, you have several people to turn to: your guidance counselor, campus representatives, your teachers and current collegiettes, just to name a few. Asking a question every now and then is completely normal, and it’s a great way to impress college representatives. However, this applicant is probably spending more time inquiring about the application process than actually applying to school.
She probably knows all the college representatives by name and probably has her guidance counselor on speed dial. From asking for advice on her college essay to inquiring about a school’s dining options, she’ll ask questions about anything.
So where can you find this type of applicant? Brace yourselves, because she is everywhere. She’s feverishly taking notes at the college tour—she may even raise her hand and ask particular questions about her test scores and potential major. If you mosey down to your school’s guidance counselor department, she’ll probably be lurking by her adviser’s door. Or even worse, she’ll be sitting in your guidance counselor’s office when you’ve already scheduled an appointment. Um, rude. We wouldn’t be surprised if every guidance counselor at school knew her by name, GPA, test scores and list of potential schools. College meetings are this collegiette’s hunting ground. Though the university’s representative may be impressed by her questions, you and your friends can’t help but roll your eyes. There she goes again.
You may scoff; but this type of applicant isn’t bad news; we’re sure she can answer some of your questions!
3. The Overachiever
You know exactly who this pre-collegiette is: she’s the president of the debate team, the class treasurer, the founder of the photography club, the captain of the varsity field hockey team and a multi-AP-class-taking student. Whether or not she’s passionate about each extracurricular, one thing’s for sure: she has a very padded resume. Oh, and let’s not forget her blouses are ironed to perfection, her makeup is flawless and her hair is frizz-free. Ugh, don’t you just hate her?
She’s always too busy to hang out. “Sorry, I can’t go to the movies tonight,” she’ll say. “I have violin lessons.” Since when did she start playing the violin?! She’s so perfect, playing an instrument probably comes with the territory of being an overachiever.
So where is this pre-collegiette applying? Oh, the usual suspects: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth and Stanford, just to be safe. Would you expect anything less?
With this superstar attitude, it’s likely that she’s very organized when it comes to applying to college. Common app? Completed. Personal essay? Only needs a little tweaking. List of potential colleges? Narrowed down and categorized by location. Though you may roll your eyes at this pre-collegiette, you have to give her credit: she’s been working her butt off!
4. The Mysterious Applicant
For many seniors, talking about the application process is a great way to bond with friends or break the ice with fellow classmates. (Yes, pre-collegiettes, you now have the perfect excuse to talk to your hot lab partner!) But every now and then, you’ll come across a student who is very tight-lipped about her application process.
When you ask her where she’s applying, she’ll respond, “Oh, just a bunch of random schools.” Um, what? She’ll always have an excuse for being busy, everything from visiting family to having the bubonic plague (you’re a bit late for that), but then you’ll see that her Instagram is filled with artistic pictures of different college campuses. At this point, you have more questions than just why she chose Kelvin as a filter.
Though everyone has the right to keep things private, being too secretive about this situation can cause a rift with your friends. “One girl in my friend group blatantly lied about applying early decision to her top choice,” says Caitlin*, a recent grad of Boston University. “It was pretty awkward when she was accepted, because she and her best friend applied early decision to the same school, and he didn’t get in.” Applying to college is dramatic enough; there’s no need to make senior year as catty as Laguna Beach. So skip the drama and tell your friends the basic, important details.
5. The One-College Girl
A plethora of pre-collegiettes have several top choices, or even a number one choice if they’re applying early action or early decision. However, this type of applicant only has one choice, period. She’s been pining after this school since she was in middle school, she can tell you all her dream school’s statistics and she already wears the university’s college swag.
There’s a good chance the pre-collegiette in question is an application monogamist if she says something like, “When I go to [insert prestigious college here]” or “I can’t visit you during fall break because that’s when [insert prestigious college here]’s homecoming is.” She’s on the verge of choosing her classes, selecting a residence hall and purchasing her textbooks… but she has yet to hear back from her dream school.
Being enthusiastic about the schools you’re applying to is important, but it’s also imperative to apply to a variety of safety, target and reach schools. If you’re rejected from your dream school and you don’t have any other options, you’ll magically turn into The Crier. And, if you didn’t get the hint earlier, nobody wants to be that type of applicant!
6. The Competitor
Even though everyone has different lists of potential colleges and top choices, you are technically competing against your peers for a coveted spot at a great school. Though most pre-collegiettes don’t view their friends and classmates as direct threats—after all, you and that girl who sits next to you in Spanish could both be accepted to your number one school—some applicants view this process as their own version of The Hunger Games.
She’s the one who will ask you about your GPA, test scores and common application essay… during class. No matter what your answer is, leave it to her to try to one-up you. “Oh you’re only applying to schools in the Northeast?” she’ll ask. “I’m really adventurous, so I’m also applying to schools in California.” Or maybe she’ll say, “Oh, you applied to 10 schools? I applied to 15.”
In a couple months, you’ll notice that she’s constantly trying to justify her final decision. “I’m going to [insert small, obscure school here], but it’s a really good school,” she’ll say. “It’s probably better than most Ivies.”
More likely than not, her competitive nature is a defensive mechanism. It’s only natural to be a little self-conscious about your test scores and list of potential colleges, so this applicant feels the need to justify her choices to everyone. Instead of feeling bad about your college choices, remember that her obnoxious behavior comes from an insecure place. Trust us, it’ll make handling this pre-collegiette a million times easier.
7. The Sabotager
Though one-uppers are usually harmless and wrapped up in their own insecurities, beware of one particular type of competitive applicant: The Sabotager. (Cue the dramatic music.) While many people are ready to support you during this process, she is out to bring you down.
There’s forming an educated opinion about a college, and then there’s actively plotting against your classmates. Sounds pathetic, right?
“When I was applying to UChicago, a girl I knew at the time tried to prevent me from applying by pointing out all the bad things she could think of about the college,” says Amelia*, a recent graduate of University of Chicago.
From dissing the dining hall to constantly bringing up the school’s scandals, pointing out the negatives of your top school is a major red flag. So what’s a pre-collegiette to do if she’s faced with a competitive applicant? Be just as competitive with them? Though stooping to this applicant’s level sounds tempting, take the high road and continue to be supportive. If you feel as if the competitor’s words are sinking in, don’t be afraid to change the subject.
“Be careful of students who do that,” warns Amelia. “Sometimes they are well-intentioned, but a lot of the time they aren't. You should be the only one to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of a college you really want to go to, not someone else.”
Chances are she loves meddling with more than your college application process. From hooking up with your crush to stealing your prom dress, this pre-collegiette is usually bad news.
Though this type of applicant drives you crazy, don’t forget that nobody’s going to tolerate that backstabbing attitude in college. So instead of getting even or starting a catfight in the cafeteria (Mean Girls-style, naturally), just ignore her. It’ll be worth it.
8. The Carefree Pre-Collegiette
Do you have a friend who’s late on approximately every college deadline? Or what about the one who has no set list of potential colleges? Ladies, meet The Carefree Pre-Collegiette. The true definition of “a free spirit,” this type of applicant is more than calm, cool and collected about the application process. In fact, she hasn’t put much thought into her future. She’s usually the girl who is texting her BFFs instead of taking notes during the college meetings. Or maybe she’s the one who hasn’t even looked at the common app yet.
So where is she applying? “Not sure yet,” she’ll probably answer.
Perhaps you haven’t talked to this pre-collegiette about applying to school, but you can spot this type of applicant from a mile away. Whether she is late to first period every day, forgets to do her Spanish homework or always cancels on plans last minute, she’s not the most dependable girl.
We’re all for not stressing yourself out about school, but it’s important to take this process seriously.
9. The Indecisive Applicant
There are a lot of decisions you have to make before you apply to schools: your potential major, whether you prefer a city school or a college with a quad and your ideal student body size, just to name a few. Unfortunately, making decisions (and sticking to them) isn’t this pre-collegiette’s strength. In fact, she has a different vision of her future every time you talk to her. Currently, she wants to be an advertising major, but didn’t she want to become a doctor a few days ago? Her list of potential college is long and constantly changing.
This type of applicant isn’t only unsure about college-related decision; she changes her outfit at least three times before leaving for school and can never choose a movie to watch. Let’s not forget that deciding what she wants to eat takes, oh, 45 minutes—don’t get us started on how long it took her to pick a restaurant!
Unless this type of applicant enrolls in a decision-making course pronto, we have a sneaking suspicion you’ll encounter a slew of indecisive pre-collegiettes once you’re at school. From choosing where they want to study abroad to deciding if they should live off-campus, this collegiette will drive you nuts.
10. The Legacy
Who needs to stress out about college when Mommy and Daddy have donated thousands of dollars to their alma mater’s newly renovated library? Sometimes this type of applicant is very humble. If it wasn’t for the bumper stickers on her mom and dad’s cars or those tweets about how bored she is during alumni weekend, you wouldn’t know that she hails from a long line of [insert college here] graduates.
But, of course, there’s the pre-collegiette who brags about how her grandfather, uncle, aunt, dad, mom and second cousin (twice removed, of course) all attended the same school (you didn’t ask). This breed of legacy applicant is so pretentious about being a legacy, you secretly hope there’s a glitch in the system and she doesn’t get in. Harsh? We don’t blame you!
Though this type of applicant loves boasting that her legacy status essentially makes her a shoe-in, remember that most college students don’t care if your parents are part of the alumni committee; you have to earn your admission!
Have you seen these college applicants at your school? Which ones? Sound off below!
*Names have been changed.