What I Wish I Had Known

Hi All! I hope you had a wonderful winter break!

For this post, I’m going to speak to any high school seniors out there. If you are anything like I was at this time my senior year, your life might be a little chaotic, nerve-wracking, and maybe even scary, especially if you are still in the process of applying to schools. Looking back on the experience now, there are a lot of things I wish someone had told me about applying to college. With this in mind, I have made a list of some important details to remember during the process:

Stop obsessing over test scores

Seriously, just stop. Stop worrying about your friend’s score, your boyfriend/girlfriend’s score, and your own score. Of course the ACT and SAT are important factors in college admissions, but they are not the only aspect of your life that admissions counselors consider when deciding whether or not to admit you. Schools like Hope look at your entire high school experience. And once you go to college, scores don’t matter anymore. Something that I had to remind myself of often is that everyone is different. We are all born with such diverse gifts and talents that to base your self-confidence or self-worth on how you performed on one test is doing a disservice to yourself. You are more than just a test score!  

Don’t listen to too many opinions

Opinions are like fingerprints; everyone has one and all of them are different. While you should listen to the thoughts of others, don’t make any concrete decisions based on what someone else thinks. At the end of the day, this is your life. Don’t let someone else take the driver’s seat of your car. You live with the choices you make, and one as important as where you will spend the next chapter of your life should be made by your consideration.

Start Financial Forms Early

Documents like the FAFSA are a lot more time consuming than you might think, so starting early gives you more time to finish, and once you have it completed, you will have better consideration for financial aid. Someone once described federal financial aid to me by comparing it to a pie: there are only a certain number of pieces available, and the longer you wait the less pieces there will be. The same goes for other financial aid sources. Scholarships through individual schools and organizations may have approaching deadlines; check the websites of the schools to stay on top of them. Information about financial aid for Hope can be found here.


It’s the second semester of your senior year!!! It is more than ok to let loose a little bit (but not too much) and enjoy the time you have left in high school. Make sure you are spending your last semester celebrating all of your hard work and getting ready to transition into a new phase of your life. You only get one senior year; live it right!

I hope you find this helpful! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to tweet me or leave a message here!


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Published by Rachael Kabagabu

Hi everyone! My name is Rachael Kabagabu. I am a junior studying secondary education with a major in French and minor in biology. I am currently involved in Nykerk, Hope College Student Ambassadors, WTHS (Hope radio station), and the Kappa Beta Phi Sorority. My previous activities include Orientation, leading a spring break immersion trip, the Black Student Union, and orchestra. Feel free to message me if you have any questions. Go Hope!