As high school seniors eagerly await their college admissions decisions, I’ve been reflecting on the five things I wish I’d known when I started the application process:

  1. Dolphins recognize and admire themselves in mirrors. What?! Who knew animals were so much like humans? If I’d known about this before my family’s trip to Cancun last October, I definitely would’ve treated the dolphins more humanely. Ideally, I would’ve known this when I started the college application process in September, giving me ample time to process the information before the trip.
  2. It is illegal to climb trees in Oshawa, a town in Ontario, Canada. Gee thanks, internet. Would’ve been great to know before my family’s November trip to Oshawa.
  3. When a male penguin falls in love with female penguin, he searches the entire beach to find the perfect pebble to present to her. This is just an awesome fact. It would’ve been so cool if I’d known this a couple months ago. Or even earlier than that, if at all possible.
  4. I’m adopted. My “parents” decided to break this news the day after I submitted my last application. Thanks a lot “mom” and “dad.” This info might not have been helpful in filling out my Common App, but regardless, I would’ve liked to know sooner. 
  5. It is illegal to climb trees in Oshawa, a town in Ontario, Canada. Seriously, I cannot emphasize enough how much time and money I would’ve saved had I known this fact four months ago.

—E. Connors