Applications are hard. I remember grappling with the challenge of college applications the fall of my senior year, and the stress it brought me. How do I pare myself down to the bare bones of test scores and scholastic awards without losing what makes me myself? My GPA didn’t tell admissions counselors that I had a killer drive on the basketball court. My SAT score couldn’t portray my ability to strike up and sustain a conversation with just about anyone, or my knack for getting people to open up. I threw my application at a handful of Ivy League schools and was disappointed, but not altogether surprised, when I received only small rejection envelopes in return. It was a game of numbers and fast facts rather than a genuine interest in who I was and what I could bring to a community.
Applying to Notre Dame was different; I felt like I was holistically evaluated. ND’s acceptance rate is highly competitive, yes, but its not becacuse the admissions team is sifting through applications and skimming off the top 20% with the highest test scores. They’re looking for students – whole students – who are more than just the numbers they can put on a sheet. They want depth and diversity and backgrounds and new perspectives. They don’t want your GPA: they want you.
Flash forward to the present: I’m in my junior year here at ND and wrapped up in the internship hunt that has also consumed most of my classmates. I’m faced again with applications and the challenge of squeezing all of myself on to just one side of an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper. It’s so easy to get caught up in the pressure to secure an internship at a big name company in a cool city for the summer; I often have to pause to think back to the lessons I learned as a high school senior to keep myself on track. The place I want to work is the place that fits "the whole me" best – the place that sees me for who I am as a person and the experiences that I can bring to the table. In short, I need to find my “Notre Dame” of companies. The process isn’t always easy, but I know from my experiences that it is well worth it.