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College application process begins early

By Anthony J. Campise
Special to The Texas Catholic

The experience of preparation for college is one that I found includes many tasks, challenges and hurdles to overcome.

However, with the proper guidance and assistance, the process of gaining information, finding schools, taking entrance exams, and applying, can be unique and full of self-discovery.

The process has been an adventure to say the least. And it begins early.

My first step was in October of my freshman year at Jesuit College Preparatory School when I took the PSAT in preparation for the SAT. I took it again as a sophomore and that same school year, the counselors at Jesuit introduced us to a Web site called Naviance, a great tool for organizing myself, my test scores and the information for colleges that I was interesting in applying to. 

Last year, everything about college seemed to get closer and closer, and it was time to kick up the process. In late September, Jesuit hosts a College Night, in which hundreds of representatives from colleges around the country display information about their schools. This was a good time for me, and I know many others, to narrow down my list of colleges.

Did I want to look at state schools, private schools, out-of-state schools, small schools, large schools? These were all questions that I had to ask myself while browsing the various booths at College Night.

I took the PSAT again and then registered for the SAT. I have never been fond of entrance exams and test-taking is not necessarily my strength, so this was perhaps the most difficult part of my college search journey. Last May, I took the SAT for the first time, and although daunting, I actually pulled through with decent scores.

A few days ago, I registered to take the SAT again to try to boost my scores so that they are in the right position for colleges.

Recently, the college counselors at Jesuit have started to insist that we begin applying for colleges. I was expecting to have the postage stamps and envelopes ready, but to my surprise this is done all online now. The Common Application (commonapp.org) allows students to apply to many out-of-state and private schools, while ApplyTexas.org can be used for all Texas public institutions. 

I have started to write my résumé for college, as well as essays, which are to be sent along with my applications. I was expecting the essays to be difficult. Actually, because the topics are meant to tell a little about oneself, there are a few quite interesting experiences that I can relate in my essay so that college admissions officers can learn a little bit more about me.

Of the colleges that I am applying to, such as Texas A&M University, Benedictine College, and a few other schools, I have found that the process is different for each school. It becomes a rather reflective experience, allowing me to look back on my high school years at Jesuit and see the progress I have made.

The only thing left to do, with the guidance of the Lord, of course, is to take the SAT one more time, finish my applications and turn them in.

And then, wait for a decision from the schools on my list.

Anthony Campise, a member of The Texas Catholic Youth Advisory Board, is a senior at Jesuit College Preparatory School.