No matter how you look at it, college is the only gateway to success.

Every well-paying, respectable job requires you to have a college degree, so deciding which college to attend is the single most important decision that you will make, that is if you care about becoming a successful, respectable person. Choose the wrong college and you will be one of the worst kinds of people living on planet Earth–a loser.  

I hate to break it to you but if you haven’t figured out what college you’re going to apply to by the end of junior year, you’ve got a lot of catching up to do since most of your private school peers are already drafting their college essays. And for once, your parents are right: you have to go to college if you care about your future well-being. And in case you didn’t notice, HBA is a “Christian college-preparatory school” so from the moment you were enrolled, you were being prepared for college. 

Every single high schooler should be familiar with the Niche College Rankings or the 2022 Best Colleges Ranking U.S. News. At this point, if you have never seen the list, there is little to no hope left for you. For those of you in the know, I’m sure you’ve been keeping tabs on the rankings, at least weekly if not daily. Now you might be wondering, why do I need to check it daily? The very fact that you are asking that question tells me that you’ve lost focus on what should be most important to you right now as a high schooler.

Of course, you may be thinking, there is more to life than college. I agree–that is the point I’m actually trying to make. Life is all about happiness and the truth is, you have to get into a good college to be happy in life because a good college pretty much guarantees a good job, which in turns guarantees you money. Money is the only way you’re ever going to be able to afford happiness. In order for you to have happiness you need a well-paying respectable job. Contrary to what people may say, employers still go starry-eyed over Ivy League applicants.

Choosing the best college also increases your chances of meeting your dream partner. The fact that someone qualifies for a high ranking college means they probably have good character. Plus why marry someone who doesn’t dream big when it comes to quantifiable life achievements?

Once you’ve set your sights on your dream school, buy all their merchandise. Shirts, stickers, joggers, mugs, hats, license plate borders, lanyards—everything you could possibly buy. Buy it and wear it with pride. Only talk about college and let it wholly and completely consume your very being. Paint your nails their school colors, wear a necklace with their mascot as a pendant, let their university T-shirts overtake your closet and wear it to every function you can. Manifest your success and happiness. Manifest your dream college. Manifest your future you.

Finally, if you’re anything like everyone else, you’re not that special. But colleges want someone who is special so take all the extra-curriculars you can. Who cares if you’re tired? That is not an excuse. Catch up on sleep later in your college dorm room. You HAVE to excel in school and befriend your teachers for that glowing recommendation letter. To guarantee success, you have to push yourself to your very limits. Nothing more and nothing less. 

As you prepare for college and college applications, my hope is that you find these tips helpful, and start implementing these strategies immediately. And don’t forget to check those college rankings later today.