You would hope that each college is unique and when you visit the college for you, you’ll know it immediately.

No.

Every college tour has the same routine:

One: Every college is the most diverse college.

Two: Colleges have hundreds of clubs, and there will be plenty of activities for you to choose from.

Three: Liberal arts colleges emphasize that they are small.

Four: Research institutions tell you that they have money for you to do research, even if you’re not majoring in the sciences.

Five: They look at all parts of your application. They throw around the word “holistic review.”

So now it’s senior year, and students have to pick which ones to apply to. Some arbitrary decisions later, I have a college list.

But then we are faced with the task of coming up with the supplements. The schools themselves cannot tell you how they’re different. But in order for them to accept me, I must tell them why each is perfect for me.

Here it goes.

Dear (insert name of college here),

I want to attend (insert name of college).

The diverse population will provide me an environment to thrive in.

The (insert name of a club at the college) is a perfect fit for my interest in (insert what the club is about).

Since (name of college) is located in a large city, I will have access to a wide variety of internships and research opportunities. At (name of college), more than half of the undergraduates have the opportunity to work on a research project. I fully intend to make use of that opportunity.

Working with (name of professor) in (what the professor teaches) will equip me with the knowledge I need to further my research in engineering.

It goes on longer, but you get the idea.

Each college has its own personality, but so much of that is intangible.

When I asked for advice on supplements, I was simply told, “You shouldn’t be able to replace the name of the college with the name of another college.”

Yeah, right.

Honestly, there comes a point when making the decisions about which colleges to apply to becomes whimsical.

It scares me to think that I might be throwing out the college where I would be the happiest.

But here’s what I figure. If there are countless colleges out there that have everything I look for in them, there has got to be more than one college where I would be happy.

So even if I don’t get into my dream college, chances are I’ll get into a college pretty close to it.

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