How to Make
A College

a Little Easier and a Whole Lot Less Stressful

Your Fears

It’s OK to be afraid, stressed and anxious about the college application process, but don’t let these emotions hold you back. This is new and exciting, which means it’s normal to feel this way.


Think Zen

and remain calm during the
college search:
  • Take care of yourself — hydrate, eat the clean stuff, get outside, take a walk.
  • Pet a dog or cat.
  • Talk, vent, share, celebrate with your friends.
  • Listen to advice others have to offer, but don’t let their voices take over your own (Times have changed since your parents went to college, but it never hurts to listen.)
  • Give yourself deadlines, and if you’re a procrastinator, ask a friend or family member to gently poke you into action.
  • Remember, you’re not alone. Millions of people are going through this same process and millions more have done it before you.
  • If you need help or have questions, it’s OK to send up a white flag. There are people and resources who will help you.
  • Most importantly, BREATHE and remember YOU GOT THIS!

An Inside

from Goucher admissions counselors
who would be reading your application
What counselors are actually looking for in your college essay:

We are hoping to get the true story of you – not of someone else. We want to know what excites you, what your hopes are, and how you’ve grown from any struggles you’ve had/ The essay is an opportunity for you to directly share information about yourself, but it’s one element of the application, which we use to understand your story.

Are test scores really important? Grades? Extracurricular activities?

Scores, grades, and activities may be expressions of you, but we know they’re not all there is to you. You may feel like they show off what you are capable of, or they might not. There are many ways to show colleges who you are – with grades, test scores, and extracurriculars being important – but you can also use other parts of the application, like short answers, the essay, or the “additional information” section to tell or show us what you’re capable of. Remember, too, that many colleges are now test optional, including Goucher College.

How many colleges should you really apply to?

You can apply to quite a few, but we wouldn’t recommend applying to more than eight. You’ll want to work with your college counselor, family, and/or mentors to find schools that would be a fit for you and have a good balance of options.

If it’s just not possible to visit a college campus in-person, don’t worry. There are other options.

You see? It's curious. Ted did figure it out - time travel. And when we get back, we gonna tell everyone. How it's possible, how it's done, what the dangers are. But then why fifty years in the future when the spacecraft encounters a black hole does the computer call it an 'unknown entry event'? Why don't they know? If they don't know, that means we never told anyone. And if we never told anyone it means we never made it back. Hence we die down here. Just as a matter of deductive logic.


Do Your
Due Diligence

A cheat sheet of questions to ask
every admissions counselor you meet

Academic Programs: When do I have to declare a major? Is a minor required?

Curriculum: Will the general education classes challenge me to probe deeper or skim the surface? Is interdisciplinary study encouraged? What score do I need on AP or IB exams to receive credit?

Internships: Is there someone to advise me through this process? Is it required?

Student/Faculty Ratio: (Do I want to be in an ocean, a lake or a pond?) What percentage of classes have 20 or fewer students? What percentage of undergrad classes are taught by full-time professors?

Study Abroad: How affordable and accessible are their programs? Which countries are available for study abroad? How long are the programs?

Location: (Do I want a city, rural or small-town environment?) What kind of social, cultural, and outdoor activities are available off campus?

Campus/Student Life: Is the community welcoming? What’s the vibe? Is it easy to talk with people on campus? Are there clubs or organizations I could see myself being a part of?

Athletics: Is the varsity program Division I, II, or III (and how important is this to me)? What are the facilities and coaching staff like? Are there club sports? What is the relationship between athletes and non-athletes?

Career Potential: Will I receive career advice as I complete my undergrad? Will I graduate confident that I can find a job in my field?

Cost/Scholarships: a What is the sticker price verses the cost students pay after scholarships and financial aid?

If you are able to

Visit A

...make sure to:

  • Talk to students and professors. Ask them questions—even the silly ones.
  • Sit in on a class and pretend you’re already a student.
  • Join a game of Frisbee on the quad.
  • Go to a club meeting.
  • Eat in the dining hall.
  • Explore the area.
  • Stay the night.
  • And finally…Ask yourself – “Can I see myself here?”

This guide to asking the right questions, getting good answers, and finding a college that’s right for you is brought to you by the fine folks at Goucher College.

Goucher College

Admissions Office
Goucher College
1021 Dulaney Valley Road
Baltimore, MD 21204-2794

Contact us