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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 Texas chapter.

The most infamous time of year is upon us, and it’s one that brings a plethora of worry, anticipation, and excitement. Deciding what the next four years of life will look like is not a light decision. Some people have their entire future planned out, while others can’t even decide what to eat for breakfast. I was absolutely someone who had no plan in mind for the future. I always had goals and ideas for a college career that I thought would be cool, but I never developed a “dream school” that I absolutely had to go to, and if I didn’t my heart would be shattered. This experience leads me to my personal guide on how to survive the college application season, coming from someone who has lived through it and come out happy on the other side. (Hook ’em!)

I want to start off by saying, yes, it is, of course, great if you have your heart set on one specific school and end up being admitted. I also want to point out that just because a school has been worked up over the years to become your “dream” does not necessarily mean that it’s right for you or that you’re only meant to be there. A person can be happy in multiple places and many different environments, so I would recommend keeping a clear mind and an open perspective. I’m from Chicago, so I never even had UT Austin on my list of schools to apply to. Someone had briefly mentioned it to me, and so I grudgingly wrote the application essays without a care in the world and applied. When I eventually got in and visited, I could not believe how close I was to missing out on finding my home. Austin is now one of my favorite cities in the world, and I would never give up the friends and community I have developed here. It truly ended up being the perfect school for me, but I needed an open mind to discover that. 

I applied early decision to Cornell thinking that it would be the perfect fit for me. I had visited twice and fell completely head over heels for it. Upon my rejection, I was devastated. Little did I know that rejection would redirect my journey and set me on the path I was meant to be on. Early decision applications are a great way to give yourself an advantage and a higher chance of acceptance, but they are not something that should be done just for the act of it. I do not think I ever truly loved Cornell or could actually see myself going there, but it felt like I was depriving myself of an opportunity if I did not apply ED somewhere. If you think you love a place go for it and apply early, but make sure it is somewhere you truly love and not just somewhere you want to love

I’m a big believer in everything happening for a reason. Sometimes the most daunting and treacherous of situations are necessary to properly reset the trajectory of the future. Everyone ends up where they are supposed to be, so try and enjoy the college application process for what it is. I know it can be overwhelming, but having the freedom to discover a new home and expand your education is a gift and one that should be appreciated. You want to go somewhere that wants you to be there and sees you for who you are, so take rejection lightly and immerse yourself in joy with each acceptance. I wish you luck throughout this crazy journey, and I know you will end up exactly where you are meant to be. 

Ryan Levin is a new writer for Her Campus University at the Texas chapter. She is from Chicago, Illinois, and is loving getting to experience southern culture for the first time and explore a brand new place. Ryan loves everything relatable and advice driven, always keeping up with the new trends and offering up her opinions. Beyond Her Campus, Ryan is the Vice President of Marketing for the Kendra Scott Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute Student Board. Within this role, she manages a committee in creating content to be posted on Instagram and publicizes the Institute's upcoming events. She is also a consultant for an organization called Tamid. Ryan is currently a sophomore at The University of Texas at Austin, majoring in Business with a minor in Media and Entertainment Industries. In her free time, Ryan loves playing squash with her dad, binge watching Modern Family, and spending time with her two dogs. She is a sucker for getting a sweet treat after dinner every night, and craves more time to just sit down with a book and read.