Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Jefferson chapter.

Late March and early April is a universal time of stress, happiness, and tears as it is when decisions for applications come out. College or any other higher education applications are a rough process to go through and require much research and a level of commitment that almost feels scary. Recently, “Ivy Day,” revealed to prospective students worldwide about their acceptance to an Ivy League in the United States. This day is especially unforgiving with rejections and acceptances flying in. This goes for Master’s programs as well. Students have been receiving rejections and interview invitations on a rolling basis until very recently, where they were faced with placing, or ranking, their top graduate programs of interest to match with them. They have until April 9th to submit their “Rank Order List” and await a response during the middle of April. Big decisions that will change lives are happening in such a short period and as a Rambassador giving tours to an influx of high school juniors, it makes me reflect on what I should have done as a junior versus what I did. 

First, I’ve noticed in my tours as well as during my outbound calls that many juniors are unsure – even some incoming freshmen are undecided. And this is normal. While I do think that I had everything planned by my junior year, this is not true. I went through so many options in my junior year going to my senior year! These juniors may have an idea of which college or field to go into, but not necessarily the major or program, which is a great first step. And going on a tour and visiting the facilities and classrooms of each different major is a great way of sharpening a potential future. Asking the tour guides questions and requesting to see specific events or even settings are some of the best ways to milk a tour of a college. Even if the college is not a college that you would even consider, just visiting and asking about majors is one of the best ways to learn. Going to open houses is also another great way of learning about different programs. 

I unfortunately did not do any of this – which I regret. I had my first tour after I committed and it was a self-guided one! No one to talk to and definitely no access to any of the buildings either. It was abysmal. Luckily, I knew that the major I had picked was one that I am passionate about, but I worry about this happening to juniors who are a little more unsure. 

Second, during my tours I have also noticed that juniors who visit colleges seem a little less enthusiastic than their senior counterparts, which is to be expected. I know that many parents “force” their children to visit colleges and are very on top of their child’s college application process, but this gets on my last point, of milking a tour of what it’s worth. You are already here and while you may not want to go to this school, I suggest that you at least make a list of the most common questions asked on tour to gain more “intimate” knowledge of a campus that isn’t normally a part of the script that your tour guides try to follow. You are in your junior year and while you may feel like you have all the time in the world, time creeps up on you. This is not to scare juniors – I would even ask for them to relax over the summer and not to stress about writing the perfect common app essay or essays to specific colleges. Essays, while important, are not anything that you need to lose sleep over. Write something that is easy to write about – after all, it reflects you. These essays shouldn’t take more than a week to write so stress less about your essays and more about building a relationship with your teachers. 

I stressed about many aspects of the application process as a whole, but looking back on it, I wonder if it was worth it. Could colleges see the amount of time I worked on an essay and appreciate my work, or do they just want to see my writing style and make a judgment based off that? I’d say picking a topic is more important than the quality of writing. Also, the feeling of regret once it was time to ask for letters of recommendation and not having attempted to build a deeper connection in the years prior bit me back. I had wished that I took the time after class to talk to a teacher – either for help (even if I didn’t need it) or simply to comment on some activity they were working on in their club. I look back and realize my peers were much more personable than I was and connected to specific teachers more than I ever did, which was unfortunate. Another part of it is that you might not get to see those teachers again, so again the connection is important even if fleeting.

Xiaoxin Li

Jefferson '27

Hello! My name is Xiaoxin and I'm currently a sophmore at Thomas Jefferson University studying health sciences and eventually medical lab sciences and biotechnology. I love cats and birds (weird combo, I know), k-pop, art, writing, and volleyball! I dabble a little in astrology and fashion, too. ʕ •ᴥ•ʔゝ☆