Don’t Ask Me (Where I’m Applying)

Dana Rappaport ’11
Web Managing Editor

Graphic by Constance Chen '12

Like many other seniors, much of my first semester will revolve around applying to college. And as if that isn’t stressful enough, I am subjected to the inevitable questionnaires that, apparently, come along with this process.

No, I am not referring to the Common Application. I am talking about those strangers, those distant family friends you run into in the grocery store, the ones who ask that painful question: “Do you know where you’re applying to school?”

First of all, it is October, so yes, I do know where I am applying. But how is it that anyone else’s business?

Although some of my friends do not mind divulging their information, I do.

Maybe I’m superstitious, or maybe I’m just plain nervous, but this infamous question has resulted in a major pet peeve.

It’s not that I’m afraid of helicopter parents forwarding falsified information to my schools, in the hopes that their child will take my place on an acceptance list. But the constant questioning has really begun to irk me.

One evening while I was babysitting a family I had first met that day, the parents asked in an innocently curious manner, “What colleges have you seen?” Although they were trying to generate small talk, to me, there’s really nothing small about this conversation.

By this time I had recently completed my week–long odyssey around the Northeast with my family– a record breaking 10 schools in seven days. So, in hopes of averting more foreboding questions, I answered saying, “Oh, just a bunch in the Northeast.”

At this point I had hoped they would not ask for specifics due to the fact that there are tons of schools in the vast area between Pennsylvania and Maine, however they asked the expected– “Like…?”

I had just met these people, and as nice as they were, I didn’t feel like they should be a part of my college process.

Even friends of my parents ask them what schools I have visited and what I liked the most – most times I am not present for the conversation. In all honesty it is somewhat sad that this question has truly been thrown at me from all angles.

So to all you strangers who have asked me this question: Yes, I understand that the college process is exciting. You may ask only in hopes that I am planning on applying to your alma mater – then you can tell me how wonderful your four years were. But trust me, I’ve been on college visits galore and by now, I think I know what schools are the best fit for me. Your enthusiasm becomes overwhelming, information crowding my already crowded and confused thoughts.

I’ve found that keeping my college considerations to myself has helped put me at ease throughout this stressful process. After all, I don’t need the rest of Westport analyzing my application decisions for me – because trust me, I do enough of that on my own.

I understand that people are just trying to make friendly conversation, but to be honest I’d be better off if they asked me about the weather.