By Li Yam ’22
The college application process can be very intimidating and overwhelming. With so many options and decisions available, a guiding hand throughout makes everything more comfortable and organized. Harvard-Westlake walks you through the application process throughout the upper school, with the help of deans, writing counselors, and teachers.
Towards the end of tenth grade, the scary word arises: college. Stepping into the unknown, I started learning more about how the next phase of my life would go. Would I take a gap year? Would I attend a University abroad? Would I study in California? East Coast? Do I want a big school? Small school? Urban? Countryside? What even would I even study!?!?
Thankfully, I had the guidance of the school throughout my process. Every cycle, each student meets with their assigned dean groups, often times talking about our future beyond high school. My dean would assign different research forms, and I began establishing an idea of what I was looking for in a school. I then created a list of what I saw to be my top schools, and after many adjustments, I had a set list. I met with my dean frequently to go over my list, seeing where I stood in the applicant pool, how I should balance my list more, and other decisions I had to make.
When time came to begin writing the applications themselves, Harvard-Westlake helped guide me as well. We were told when to contact our teachers for recommendations, when to create our CommonApp account, when we should start working on our personal essay, what target dates we should be done by, and when various deadlines were. HW also provided a wide range of college representatives who visited our school, both via Zoom and in person, where we could attend informational sessions and show our interest in dozens of different institutions. Each dean also provides their students’ counselor recommendation, and provides support and advice when looking over application essays.
My dean consulted me with many different decisions: what teachers I should ask for recommendations, what programs I should look into, what classes I should take that would best support my application, and helped me edit my essays. With her help and the support of my school, I was able to go through the process confidently and be admitted to my dream school.