It’s become a relatively well-known fact that I’ve been applying to a few schools. Well, more than a few. 23? 24? I’ve begun to lose count… When mentioned, I’ve encountered a mix of surprise, disbelief, and allegations that I’m crazy. (Or in some cases, more than that!) Still, the biggest questions have been why and how.
The why is simple enough: There are a lot of good schools out there, and I could see myself at any number of them. Studying at USC in sunny Southern California sounds awesome, and so does Columbia in the one and only New York City. I couldn’t pick one, so I just said, “why not both?” In addition, I (and we) have the problems of having Turkish transcripts. And not just Turkish transcripts, Aci transcripts.
I’m not trying to say that Aci is a bad school, quite the contrary, but universities don’t know that. So not only are they dealing with foreign transcripts, they’re dealing with a school that has no track record. For all they know, Aci gives out diplomas with a smack on the back at 5 bucks a pop. Now, by the time you start applying, things will be somewhat better as Aci will have some graduates to point to (including yours truly), but I don’t have that luxury. So add to the game of chance that college admission already is and add another game of Russian roulette. Given the circumstances, I’m simply trying to improve my odds.
The how side of this is a little more personal. Do you like to write? Or at-least not find it boring? I’ve always preferred writing an essay to solving 100 math questions, so writing has never been a big chore for me. If it’s the same for you, you’re not going to have much trouble writing the supplement essays. Hell, you may even enjoy them. (Or maybe not…) Both ways, if you’re smart, you may notice some overlap on the essay questions. Be sure to expect a lot of “Why this major?” questions, so be sure to write them well. If you’re really good, you may even find it’s possible to daisy-chain themes and ideas through different questions.
My essay for Princeton on “who affected you the most?” was on my father, who introduced me to the “world of the geek”. By taking parts of this essay on how my father made me like the world of engineering, I was able to write over half of my essay for Columbia on “Why engineering?” This can be hard, so make sure it still fits the topic. But if you’re applying to 10+ schools, this can and will happen if you keep an eye out. Just one quick word of warning: Don’t do this for the same school. I.E don’t use the same parts of your essay for BOTH Princeton supplements. You want to show as much as yourself as you can when applying, and reiterating yourself won’t help you in that regard.
All of this being said, there is one cardinal rule: be sure you actually want to go to the school you’re applying to. If you don’t want to go, your essays will reflect that, and you’ll be rejected faster than you can say “My bad, dude!” Not to mention it would be a giant waste of time. So if you, like me, could see yourself at a variety of places and are willing to invest the time and effort to write a good essay, go for it. If not, you need not apply.
So now you know why and how I applied to this many schools, but was it worth it? To be honest, I have no [censored] clue. It may result with me getting acceptances from more universities than most even apply to. It may also result in me getting 23 rejections and a distinct feeling of epic fail. I guess we’ll find out around March. I’ll keep you posted.