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MIT admissions officer DJ Rock

An Astrological Guide to the College App Process by DJ Rock

We all know astrology isn't real...or is it?

Anyone in the admissions office knows that I have an unhealthy obsession with astrology. Scientifically speaking, there are tons of reasons why we shouldn’t believe in astrology (anyone in the EAPS Department would cringe seeing this post), but I find it fun to read an analysis of my sign and see what parts I do or do not relate to. Plus, I’m constantly asking my fellow admissions officers and student tour guides for their sun, moon, and rising signs so that I can give them an “astrological reading.” Thus, I’ve decided to share my secret talent with you all in the hopes that you find something to relate to (and perhaps help you procrastinate if you haven’t submitted a Regular Action application by January 1st yet!).

In all seriousness, I’m not really an astrologer, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. However, whether you agree with what I predicted for your sign or not, the pieces of advice for every sign in this post apply to all applicants, so have fun reading and don’t come for me in the comments!

Capricorn

My capricorn friends are some of the most ambitious people I know. And during the college application process, this can be great! You aren’t afraid to throw in an application to a school that seems unlikely, because why not shoot for the stars? However, at MIT, we often receive applications where its obvious a student has only applied to us because of the prestige of MIT and doesn’t actually know what this institution is like. College is a place where you’ll be for the next 4-6 years, perhaps living on their campus. It is so much more important to do your research and find schools where you’ll be happy than just applying to a school because of its name.

Aquarius

A trait that I’ve admired in all of my aquarius friends/family members is their ability to not internalize what other people think about them. They’re often known as the cool, calm, and collected signs. While I wish I was able to develop this skill earlier in life personally, during the college application process the opinions of your teachers and counselors will matter, as letters of recommendation are vital. It’s a great idea to chat with your recommenders and think about what you’d want them to include in your letters and gauge how they perceive you.

Pisces

Where would many of us be without pisces in our lives? One of the most empathetic signs, pisces are known for their excellent listening skills and abilities to be a great friend. Don’t forget that applying to college is a time where you need to focus on yourself! Be a good friend and support your community through tough times, but make sure you’re preserving some emotional energy to get through your own applications and the emotional rollercoaster of this college application process.

Aries

As a leo, my Aries friends are the only ones who are able to take charge in a group setting as much as I do. As a fire sign, they are known for being bold, taking charge, and leading the way. Utilize these strengths while completing applications, but also rely on your community. This process is tough for everyone and its hard for anyone to get through it alone. Have adult mentors review your essays and listen to the advice they give you.

Taurus

I know you’re used to it, but the hallmark sign of a taurus is their bullish stubbornness. Hold onto your values, and trust yourself when getting advice from others because not all advice is good advice. However, the best way to navigate the college process is to be open-minded. Perhaps that means adding a college to your list that you initially didn’t think you’d apply to, or being open to the way financial aid may influence your final decision. Very few people go through the process exactly as they expected, so try to be open as much as you can.

Gemini

Many in the astrological world refer to geminis as the two-faced sign, and I think that’s overly simplistic. Geminis are incredibly concerned about the way people they interact with are feeling, and are experts at adapting themselves to different social situations. In a college application, we strive to view the most authentic version of yourself as possible. We try to gauge your fit with MIT by learning about who you are and seeing we think you’d be happy in our community. Don’t try to tell the admissions officers what you think they want to hear – just put as much of your personality as possible on the application!

Cancer

As a water sign, cancers have lots of emotions that are often in flux. The college application process is emotional for everyone going through it, but cancers definitely feel those emotions much more intensely than others. One skill that makes a student very successful in college is learning how and when to rely on your support system. Know the resources and people in your life who you can utilize when you might face good or bad news or when your cancer ways impact your ability to continue working on applications.

Leo

I may be biased as a leo myself, but we are the most loyal sign in the zodiac. Without our friendships, we wouldn’t be ourselves. When I was last home in NJ for Thanksgiving, I hung out with two of my best friends who have been in my life since the 4th grade (talk about loyalty!). I remember applying to my undergrad institution with one of those friends back in high school and thought about how much fun it would be to go to college together. This is going to be really hard for you leos, but where your friends (or significant others) are applying to college should not impact your list. If you happen to have similar interests and apply to similar schools, that’s awesome, but be sure that you are applying to colleges where you would honestly be happiest yourself.

Virgo

If you need to overthink something in 30 different ways, look no further than your virgo friend who has probably already done that before breakfast. Your analytical ways are both a strength and a weakness in this process. I expect that your essays will be strong because you’ve proofread them 5 times and that your college list is well-balanced and well-researched. However, there is no such thing as a “perfect” college essay, and you definitely should not apply to 100+ schools because you can’t decide on a college list. Try your best on everything in your application – and then be OK with hitting submit!

Libra

Libras are represented by balancing scales in the zodiac because they are truly the most well-balanced sign of the zodiac. They’re great at thinking through things from all possible viewpoints and angles. Utilize this strength during the process! Perhaps that means dropping an extracurricular activity in 12th grade to prioritize your college applications, or maybe that means having a college list with a mix of colleges that you’re really excited about, some that seem to be affordable for your family, and some that you feel more or less confident about being admitted to. You’re already great at balancing a lot in life – keep it up during this challenging and stressful time.

Scorpio

Without control, scorpios panic. Your strong ability to read a social situation and understand power dynamics is very helpful in many aspects of life. However, during the college application process, there are often many things that happen that you can’t control, especially after you hit the submit button. One of my friends from college and current roommate was a part of the Posse Foundation. Her group’s motto was “trust the process” while they were applying to colleges, and I think that especially holds true for scorpios. It’s not easy, I know, but it’s important for mental health!

Sagittarius

Sags are known for their adventurous personalities and excitement for new experiences. Although this process can feel daunting, lean on your adventurous side! Apply to fly-in programs to explore different universities in new settings, don’t cross off schools from your list just because they’re really far away or in a place you don’t know a lot about, and throw in your application at schools that seem very selective if you think you’d be happy there. I know feelings of stress and anxiety are normal during this process, but imagining what your future will look like and who you want to become during college can also be exciting and get you through the slug of senioritis.