While applying to any college is stressful, applying to college abroad may seem even more daunting. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be. Elli offers some helpful tips on how to keep calm while applying to college in Ireland.
1. Pick a course
Picking your major, also known as your course, is probably the toughest thing you’ll have to do for the application process. The course you pick now will decide what you study for the next four years and beyond, but don’t let that scare you. Picking your course is also the most exciting part of the process and will benefit you loads in the long run by giving you a much more in depth education than you would get in the US. The most important thing to remember about choosing a course is to pick something you genuinely enjoy, don’t pick something just because you think it’ll get you a job. You’ll be happier and do better in a subject you truly like. Think about the classes in high school you liked the most or even your favourite extracurriculars. Trinity has a huge range of courses to choose from with options from acting to zoology, philosophy to medicine and so on, so there’s something for everyone. If you’re unsure about exactly what you want to do there’s many broad courses like PPES, BESS, or Science that start out with classes in lots of different subjects and get more specific as you figure out what you like and don’t like. If you really like two different things there’s TSM, two subject moderatorship, which is like a double major where you can combine two subjects like English and History or Math and Psychology. Before you start your application take some time and look over the options. It may seem overwhelming at first, but you’ll definitely find a course that’s perfect for you.
2. Get organised before you apply
The Trinity application for undergraduates from the US is a lot like the common application. It’s all online and designed for American applicants, so you can use your SAT, ACT, AP and IB scores to apply. All the requirements for US applicants are listed here. If you don’t meet those requirements right now make sure you get yourself organised and figure out what you can do to reach them. It’s definitely doable, you can take the SAT or ACT again, study hard for midterms to pull your GPA, and ask a teacher and guidance counselor for a letter ASAP so they have enough time to write you one. While the application opens in November it works on a rolling basis and doesn’t close until June (for most courses) so don’t rush into your application before you have all the things you need. You’ll have a much better chance of getting in if you meet all of these requirements.
3. Focus on the academics
The Trinity application asks for a short essay, like a lot of the US colleges. The topic is always the same: ’Why do you want to go to Trinity?’ It seems pretty straightforward, especially compared to some of the weird essays you have to write for applications, but it’s also very broad and short so you have to be concise with your response. Unlike a lot of the US applications this essay is not meant to be a place where you talk about your struggles and how you’ve grown from them, your volunteering, or how visiting the campus inspired you. When talking about why you want to go to Trinity be practical. You can still include some things about how much you love Ireland and the campus, but primarily you should talk about the academics. Discuss the course you’re applying to and what makes you want to study that course at Trinity. For example, you could write about how you had a class on it in school and want to continue it further at an institution that is well regarded worldwide in that subject and that studying this in Dublin will help you gain an international perspective. Of course be genuine with your response, showing real passion for your course and knowledge of what Trinity has to offer will help a lot. Most importantly, don’t stress too much about it, while it’s important to try your best it’s only one part of what they look at and as long as you are honest and stay true to yourself you will do great.
4. Talk to your counselor
The college application process is confusing at the best of times. It’s hard to know if you’re doing anything right while so much of the process relies on you doing everything right. You’re sending a small sample of who you are out to a stranger whose job is to judge you. It’s stressful and scary. Keep in mind though that you’re not alone, as Professor Dumbledore says, help will be given to those who ask for it. Your high school most likely has a college counselor whose job is to help you through this confusing and stressful process; all you have to do is ask for their help. They are experts on applying to college, so meeting with your counselor can only help you. Also, you are required to have a letter of recommendation from a counselor, and that letter will be much better if they know you personally. It’s definitely worth the time and effort it takes to make an appointment.
5. Beware of senioritis
It happens to the best of us, it just seems so easy to stop trying in second semester. After 4 years of very hard work you deserve a break, but don’t take too much of a break. All of your college acceptances will be contingent on you keeping up you grades throughout senior year. Colleges can easily rescind an offer if your grades plummet after you’ve been accepted, so be careful with your second semester. There are too many horror stories of this happening to ignore it. However, all is not lost. You can find a good balance between work and enjoying your last year of high school. Just like you can’t spend all your time having fun, you also can’t spend all your time studying, neither one is sustainable. So go to prom, keep up all your extra curriculars, spend time with your friends before you all leave for college, but also don’t stop doing homework, studying for tests, or going to class. You can definitely have it all you just have to keep your priorities straight.
Applying to college isn’t as bad as it seems, all the stress will be worth it in the end. You can definitely do it! If you have any more questions or concerns about applying to Trinity look at the FAQs page or contact the academic registry here. Keep calm and good luck!