Student Blog The blog of William Woods University Undergraduate Students


Surviving Application Season

As November inches closer, so do a lot of application deadlines! As a senior, the million dollar question (regardless of whether you're in high school or college) is: what are your plans after graduation? I have to admit, I dread that question. You get asked that at least once a week and thinking about the future is certainly daunting! Luckily, I have found an answer: I am applying to veterinary school and graduate school programs for microbiology. This is generally a satisfactory answer and they move on, but every so often they ask more like why two different things? and what happens if you get into both? I don't exactly have great answers for those questions, but I have time to figure that out!

For me, veterinary school applications were due quite early. I had them turned in by the September 15th deadline, though admittedly I cut it close! Now I'm working on graduate school applications whose deadlines are in December. Luckily, my professors who helped me with my vet school applications and letters of recommendation have a lot of experience with graduate school applications as well. It might feel like December is a ways away, but it certainly will sneak up faster than we think! I'm not an application expert by any means, but I have applied to college, internships, and veterinary school so I've been around the block a few

Colorado State University Veterinary Teach Hospital entrance

This is the veterinary teaching hospital at Colorado State University! Don't forget to tour any school before you commit to it!

times. Here are some tips about what I learned:

  1. Start Early. Yes, everyone says this, but believe me it is very true. You do not want to be the person who is worried about whether your ACT scores (or in my case, transcripts!) arrive on time. Early means at least a month (preferably several) before your deadline.
  2. Don't Panic. If you didn't start early and you only have a limited amount of time to get your stuff in, stay calm. Yes this situation is a stressful one, but you will survive it! It might involve spending more on shipping, or prioritizing your applications over your extracurricular activities, but you gotta do what you gotta do!
  3. Make a Checklist. Look at every school or program you're applying to and figure out exactly what you need to turn in and whether it is turned in online, through email, fax, or snail mail. Organize it by school on a master sheet and enjoy the satisfaction of checking off a box.
  4. Ask Questions. If you are unsure about a deadline, method of submission, or program requirement, contact your admissions representative or whomever you can and ask! It is silly to stress yourself out wondering if you've done what you needed to do. Send an email, or better yet pick up the phone and call to show that you really are interested! Also get your advisor or teacher to take a look at your application and essays so you can really polish your final product!
  5. Create a Timeline. Remember that checklist? Use it to keep track of the "hard" deadlines from the schools or programs. Make a separate calendar or list for you to have "soft" deadline. Include when you are going to write that personal statement, ask for a letter of recommendation (DO THIS EARLY and don't forget to write a thank you note), and hit the big scary submit button. The key is to give yourself little deadlines so you're constantly making progress and are ready to submit well before the hard deadlines, instead of getting stuck doing your entire application in a day or two.

Of course there are many other things you can do to ensure you have a stellar application, but I find that these five things generally help me maintain my sanity through the craziness of application season. Balancing school, family, and extracurriculars is challenging enough so don't let applications get in the way of enjoying your senior year because you wait until the last minute! I am in the process of setting my "soft" deadlines for my graduate school applications and hopefully will be completely done before Thanksgiving so I can enjoy the holidays with my family.

Enjoy the fall weather! I certainly love it when the leaves begin to change and apple cider is in season.

Thanks for reading!