Hello, prospective Olin applicants. This is your admission counselor friend, Pete, and I'd like to share a bit of advice with you regarding your application to Olin:
Let it go! (That is…take a deep breath and submit it!)
This is easier said than done; I know. I remember. Fewer than 10 years ago, I was in your shoes.
It was late in December of my senior year of high school. I had fine-tuned my Common Application, and I had revised my personal essay and supplemental question responses over and over (and over, and over, and over…). It was complete. There was nothing left to do. And still I couldn’t bring myself to submit my application to the colleges I had selected. I sat in front of my parents’ desktop computer in our basement, the image of www.commonapp.org reflecting off my glasses, the distant sound of Christmas music playing upstairs as my parents prepared the house for the holidays, and I wondered: Could I improve my application still? I thought: What if I submit it and then I realize I made a mistake? And of course, the worst thought: What if I submit it and it’s perfect, and these colleges deny me anyway?
This is what my parents’ computer monitor looked like 10 years ago, for those of you who may have been wondering.
Putting yourself out there is hard. When I applied to colleges, it was the first time I ever worked that hard on presenting myself to be evaluated by people who didn’t know me. Letting go of my application was difficult. But I had to do it, and I did submit it.
And now, almost 10 years later, I work in college admission! And I have some thoughts I’d like to share with my high-school-senior self. Hopefully these will help ease your mind, too, and make it easier to hit that Submit button!
Thought #1: You can relax. The hard work is done. There is nothing else to do that will dramatically change your application.
At this point in the year, your experience is your experience. Your grades are your grades. Your story is your story. As long as you’ve completed all the sections of the Common Application and shared what makes you YOU, then you are all set. It’s done! The admission counselors are excited to read your story, so submit it to us soon!
Thought #2: Revise, but don’t agonize.
As long as your application is not riddled with misspellings or careless work, one small missed error is not going to be a big deal—it probably won’t even be noticed! And if it is noticed, it won’t break your application. I promise. When we read applications at Olin, we are not scrutinizing them for perfect grammar and keyboarding and formatting—we are too busy digging into the stories shared through the applications. We are looking for students who we feel are capable of doing rigorous, hands-on engineering work and fit with the mission and values of Olin College. So do your best work and check over your application before you send it, but don’t let endless revisions prevent you from letting the application go!
Thought #3: All you can do is put your best foot forward and hope for the best. Everything might not turn out the way you hoped, but it will work out in the end!
Maybe you will be admitted to Olin (!!!), and maybe you won’t (sad face). BUT you have to submit your application first to find out. And whether you end up at Olin or not, I’m willing to bet that you are going to have a great future, in college and beyond. You’ve worked hard to get this far, and you will make the best of your educational opportunities no matter where you go to college. But you owe it to yourself to put yourself out there and see what comes back!
So trust yourself and let it go!
And then enjoy the rest of your holidays!