My college list? I’d rather not say

My+college+list%3F+I%E2%80%99d+rather+not+say+

Kiranmayi Methuku

In a college-crazy atmosphere, seniors keep their college choices hidden.

“Do you know where you’re applying to yet?”
“Nah. I’m not really sure. Probably some UCs though.”

“How is your college list coming along?”
“It’s okay, I guess. I’m mostly just applying to privates, out-of-state I think.”

“Man, I really need to start college apps soon. Where are you applying?”
“Oh, you know, same as everyone else.”

Seniors are secretive people. Especially when college application season comes around. It really does not matter whom you ask or how persistent you are. Ultimately all you will receive is some pathetic excuse for an answer: an abundance of deliberately vague responses spoken in an attempt to thwart your attention away from the real deal.

All this secrecy arises from one of three seemingly understandable reasons — none of which hold much ground upon further analysis.

Maybe-my-list-is-too-long-o-phobia
No one wants to appear desperate. Whether it be in an attempt to score a date or to gain an acceptance letter, it is of utmost importance to appear confident.

There are always those of us whose college lists well exceed the acceptable three safety, three target, and two reach length. And there is no denying the growing desperation that comes with an infinitely expanding college list.

But desperation does have its advantages. It gives us options — the luxury to change our minds at the last minute. Come decision time in spring, the desperate among us are free to respond to a wide array of acceptance letters. Had they experienced a change of heart, chances are their ridiculously extensive college lists contained a few extra choices.

Sadly, the rest are committed to their earlier decisions with little room for second thoughts.

So go ahead and flaunt your colossal college list. Let the others mock your desperation. It will all be worth it.

Maybe-I-shouldn’t-apply-there-o-phobia
There is always that thought gnawing at the back our minds that tells us, “You’re just not good enough.”

Most of us can set this thought aside. Most of us will apply to Harvard or Stanford despite the slim chances of acceptance. But this confidence vanishes the moment an outsider enters the picture.

“Do you honestly think you’ll get accepted into Stanford? What a joke!”

“My GPA is way better than yours and even I’m not applying!”

They might not say so but they are definitely thinking it. You can see it in their pitiful glances, self-deprecating comments, and insincere words of encouragement. And before you know it, that gnawing thought begins to resurface —this time with a lot more persuasion.

It would be a waste, though, to let some cheeky remark keep us from taking a chance. No matter the criticism our dreams receive they are not made to be left abandoned. Our attempts may appear silly to an uninvolved outsider, but to us they are bets worth making.

Nothing is ever certain. Perhaps an admissions officer will be moved to tears by a poignant essay and overlook a mediocre transcript. Or perhaps not. It is definitely worth a shot.

Answering-the-dreaded-question-o-phobia
In April, the questions start pouring in.

“Oh my gosh, I got into Brown! Did you?”

“Man, I really had my heart set on Rice. You applied there, didn’t you? What happened?”

For those of us showered with acceptance letters, these questions give us a chance to brag shamelessly and enjoy the looks of envy. Then there are the rest of us. How are we to answer their questions?

The answer really does not matter. We can admit to the truth or skillfully weave around it. If we do choose to tell the truth there is no denying the temporary embarrassment, or at least uneasiness, to follow. But ultimately counting college acceptance letters is just another phase (like SAT scores).

Numbers like these ultimately — and inevitably — lose their significance.

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My college list? I’d rather not say by Kiranmayi Methuku is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.