Apply yourself

Sept. 23, 2011, 1:56 p.m. | By Alison Kronstadt | 12 years, 8 months ago

I won't do it for you

It's easy to see if you know what you're looking for – a certain slump to the shoulders, a distinct puffiness to the eyes, a trademark weariness that lingers around them like a heavy rain cloud. Watch them as they drag through the hallways. See them waiting nervously outside the teacher offices, and it will become clear immediately: these people are neck-deep in the college application process.

Everyone hears about how amazing senior year is, but – as every junior eventually finds out from their senior friends just in time to burst their bubble – they're referring to the joys of second semester. That first semester, if these five weeks are any indication, involve no sleep, fifty different deadlines and enough forms to resurrect a small rainforest. Oh, and that little homework thing? No, that doesn't go away either. Not that we're not bitter.

All of that might be okay if the process wasn't so confused. Not confusing, confused. The applications process is a centuries-old, wallet-draining system – so why does it seem like so much of it was created by a blindfolded man throwing darts at an idea board? Or maybe like the deadlines were organized by a Ouija board. Or maybe… well, you get the idea.

Thankfully, there is a solution. Your academic experts here at SCO have been whining – I mean brainstorming – about how to improve the process since "Hi-how-are-you-where-are-you-going-to-college?" became the standard greeting from every adult you will ever meet, and we have the answer. Welcome to the application for SCOllege. Is this college real? No. Will its application make you want to dissolve into your computer screen? Also a negative.

Taking the "dead" out of deadlines

Seventeen days. No, this isn't a Ring – Seventeen Again hybrid (but imagine the possibilities…). That's the rule here at SCOllege. Seventeen days for everything – guidance counselor recommendations, transcript request and teacher recommendations. Oh wait, there are no teacher recommendations. Well, there are. We'll get to that later.

Anyways, consistent deadlines are very important to us at SCOllege. See, we want our students lively, excited, full of all those things that make them look so darn good on (imaginary) posters advertising for (imaginary) us. So if your calendar of college deadlines looks like the baby of a crossword puzzle and "The Matrix" with letters, consider us. But really, that's all this application will take. We promise.

This is my resume. Signed, Superman.

This kind of alter ego isn't exactly necessary. But it might be fun.  Photo courtesy of Posh 24.

At SCOllege, we value imagination quite a lot, you know, seeing as we don't actually exist. We want you to apply that to your resumes. What have you invented? The telephone? Did you cure cancer? Great. Went back in time to stop cancer from ever existing? Even better. Basically, this is a truth-optional part of the process. Oh, but if you want to talk about things you've really done, put a little star next to them. You see, at SCOllege, we are capable of accepting the fact that sometimes little things like high school get in the way of saving the world. For those of you who can't deal with the idea of actually having a life – why are you reading this? Fingers back to the keyboards before your circuitry gets configured incorrectly!

For those of you who are on board, we await your applications eagerly. Our robots programmed to read aloud with Morgan Freeman's voice are just about to be turned on, and our Everlasting Chocolate Drawer will be opened in an hour (note the absence of a star).


We hate to repeat ourselves – we find it gets repetitive – but imagination is very important. There are people in this world who read hundreds of applications a day, the poor animals. How many of those applications make them laugh? How many make them smile? At what point do their legs fuse to their desks? We don't have the answers to these questions, but we can tell you about SCOllege's recommendation "requirements." What's that you say? You think those little quotation marks mean we're asking you to make more things up? You're getting the hang of it already!

For those of you that don't already have a Sasha Fierce, now would be the time to invest in some crazy sunglasses and glittery bodysuits. Or just invent a fictional person to write you a recommendation. Think we're going overboard on the fiction? Being representatives from a fictional college, we represent that.

Cookies like these.  Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

If your imagination bone (yes, this isn't real either) hurts from all this make-believe, go get a real recommendation if you want. Those of you who can already hear an old lady's voice in your head rambling on about what a nice person you are… well, you may need to get help. But for those of you who think this sounds like fun, well, your Finger Painting 101 teacher is on the phone, and if you don't get a recommendation from her, it will hurt her feelings. Also, she wants cookies.

Goodnight and good luck

For the rest, write what you want. If you have extracurricular activities, grades, a list of academic honors that reaches from Yale to Stanford, you can put those in. If not, we're fine with it. You should probably write something, but hey, we like doodles. And haikus. Cookies are nice too. Being imaginary, we're allowed to encourage bribery. Oh, and we'll send a singing telegram to everyone who gets in, so put the song of your choice at the bottom. We look forward to reading your applications.

This is not the road we're talking about.  Photo courtesy of Amazon.

As lovely a dream as this has been, here is a small slice of reality: you're going to be okay. There are a million roads to happiness, some paved in leagues of ivy and some paved in money, or online universities, or some school that hasn't been around since before horses as transportation went out of style. We tend to find that most of those roads are paved in regular asphalt, and reading whatever metaphoric strangeness into that, yours is out there. So stop stressing and start walking.

Tags: college applications

Alison Kronstadt. Alison Kronstadt is happiest when she's making you laugh, so tell her her stories are funny or she'll cry. She has a lot of opinions and hopes you like to read them. She wrote her first bio when she was an awkward little junior and … More »

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