For this blog, I went through all my materials and notes that I took back in my senior year of high school, and put it all on this blog for you readers to use as a guide for your busy times ahead. Enjoy!


First, I had all my essays and spreadsheets all on google drive in a folder titled “LOIC’S COLLEGE APPS GRIND”. In the folder, I had a spreadsheet of the colleges I decided to apply to and a different doc for every school I applied to.

The first thing we have to consider is what college’s do you want to go to? Things you need to consider are:

What kind of location do you want to be in? East Coast, West coast, Midwest, South, international, etc

Consider the cost per year AND scholarship programs of each college! Sure a sticker price might be 80k, but if the school is good at giving money, a private school might be cheaper than an in state public school.

Do you want to attend a massive school sporting 40,000> students and a massive sports program and hundreds of clubs? Or maybe would you prefer a smaller liberal arts school with 2,000 students spread across all years? This is all personal preference of course, but this is crucial for the enjoyment of your future college experience.

Sure academic prestige is nice, but how comfortable would you feel in a cutthroat competitive environment? This is something you should reflect on before you decide to attend a school that might burn you out if you don’t handle stress

Now that you know the type of college you want to attend, its time to pinpoint some school’s you want to attend:

Make a big list of colleges and narrow down schools that fit your criteria.

Make sure you apply to reach schools, match schools, and safety schools, and base these off of academic stats that are available online.

Don’t go overboard and apply to too many school’s! Those application fees can rack up extremely quick so don’t drain your or your parents wallet with applying to schools for this sake of applying.

This especially applies to reach schools, don’t apply to a school simply because it’s top 20 in the nation! You might not like it there even though its prestigious and that is a dangerous trap to fall into.

As you’re narrowing down each school, take into account things such as study abroad, potential clubs you want to be in, sports and spirit, student testimonials (take each one with a grain of salt, just because a disgruntled junior is having a bad time, that doesn’t represent everyone’s experience).

Now that you know the school’s you’re applying to, it’s time to decide what major you’re going to apply to.

Every school has different majors and programs, so you should research what would be the best fit for you.

For public schools, keep in mind that some majors are impacted and much more competitive than others. Would you sacrifice applying to an easier major to get help you get into the University as a whole? I personally wouldn’t (and didn’t) take that risk, but that is something for you to decide.

Apply to safety school’s first to get them out of the way early. Don’t be too cocky and put no effort into those apps, just make sure you do a strong and concise job.

Next, it’s time to organize and strategize you’re essays.

Take note of what each school looks for in students and essays, and make sure that aligns with yourself, and make sure you think you can show that in your essays.

Make sure you don’t bullshit you’re essay because you want to frame what you write to what you think the readers want to hear. The best essays are the ones that are truly authentic and show who you are as a person. The readers read so many essays that they know who is bullshitting and who is speaking from the heart.

Start thinking about who you want to write letters of recommendations, and ask them way ahead of time!

Brainstorm topics to write about, like personal challenges you’ve been able to be triumphant with.

Don’t write a depressing story for the sake of being depressing, so many admissions officers probably read sob stories and you don’t want to just make your reader sad.

Don’t just recount, reflect…

Make sure you get your essays proofread, but don’t go overboard or else you’ll lose your voice when too many people make changes to your essay
Make sure you submit on time! Try not to submit in the last hour that its due, the site might crash and you’ll be screwed lmao.

What do you do after you finish all your college apps!

I spent my time doing two things:

I kept myself busy by applying to as many local scholarships as possible. As soon as you finish college apps, you’ll still be in the college app grind mode, so you might as well utilize it to make some money. Don’t forget to recycle essays from your college apps, it’ll save you so much time
There are generally no application fees for scholarships, so you literally have nothing to lose by applying. Even if you’re essay is last minute and BS, submit it anyway!

Try to talk to your school counselor or career/college center to get information on local scholarships that you can’t find online.

Also, hang out with your friends! You have one semester of college left. Do something! Go somewhere! Hang out in the city, or go to a concert! Join a sport for the fun of it, or go try wild foods in your area. Make some memories with old friend before you go to college and make new ones :).

And that is my rundown on how I applied to colleges. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below, message me through Instagram, or fill out the Viterbi Voices contact box. Good luck on your college app journey!

Loic Alini

Loic Alini

MAJOR: Mechanical Engineering YEAR: Class of 2021 HOMETOWN: Dublin, California PRONOUNS: he/him/his INSTA: @loic.alini On campus I have worked on the SC Racing team, and I'm currently involved with the 3D printing org '3D4E'. Outside of Viterbi, I am involed with volunteering in the community through JEP, and I have interned at Intel.