College Admissions Employees Share Tips For Students Who Want To Get Accepted
Getting into college is nerve racking simply because you don't always know what they are looking for other than great grades and extra curricular activities, not to mention all of the competition. What if you could have someone inside the system who can tell you just how to catch the eyes of the admissions department? Your lucky day is today!
People who check University Applications. What do students tend to ignore/put in, that would otherwise increase their chances of acceptance?
Start taking notes from this ultimate cheat sheet!
No suck ups, it's about you!
Never write about the school you're applying to. Write about yourself. Who are you, what do you have to offer, what motivates you, who will you be one day?
Professional advice from University of Chicago
I read and evaluated applications for the University of Chicago and now, for the last ~6 years, have helped ~300 students apply to college as an admissions consultant, using the insight I gained within a top-5 admissions office.
- I see so many students leave off extracurricular activities because they worry they're not prestigious enough. They leave off hobbies as they didn't realize the 10 hours a week they spent on independent art projects could count as an extracurricular. They don't mention their family obligations, such as having to take care of their 4 younger siblings for many hours each day as their single mom works two jobs. For more insight on what might count on your college app, see my post here.
- They underestimate hours spent on an extracurricular activity. While it is obviously bad to lie/exaggerate your hours, it's not good to underestimate them, either! Last year I worked with an Olympic athlete on her applications. In looking at her original list of extracurricular activities, she had included 15 hours/week as an estimate for her commitment to her sport. I was surprised to hear how low of a time commitment that was, and she remarked "Oh, well, my mom and I have to travel, like, 4 hours roundtrip every day just to get to practice." 4 HOURS EACH DAY!? Add that significant travel time to your activities list, girl! If you, too, have an activity that requires travel time, you can include that time in your estimated hours/week time commitment on your applications. Check out my guide to the activities list for more tips like this.
- Their essays are generic, too, because they fail to include how they think, feel, or view the world differently as a result of their experiences. I cannot tell you how many students' essays I've read that talk about football or piano or their research position and just gives an A to Z guide of their participation in the activity. After a lot of 1-on-1 brainstorming and revisions, the student wrote an excellent essay starting with really cool imagery about the origami artwork hanging from her bedroom ceiling before transitioning into her hobbies. She wrote something like, "Just as distinctly different are the [origami shape 1] and [origami shape 2] hanging above my head are my passions for [activity 1] and [music]---but they both hang in my heart." It was more well-written than that, but I'm pulling from the dregs of my memory. The essay turned out awesome, was super reflective of how the student thought, felt, or viewed the world differently as a result of her experiences and interests, and she's currently at an Ivy League university---in part because she wrote an essay at the Ivy League level.
- Be extremely, extremely specific. Research the school extensively. Find classes that the university offers that you haven't seen at any other school (o-chem doesn't cut it). Mention the curriculum (Core at UChicago or Columbia, Open Curriculum at Brown, for example), and don't just say you like it---really dig into WHY that curriculum exists from a fundamental educational level and what sort of catalyst it will be for your own thinking. Search the school's online newspaper for some cool programs that other prospective students might not know about, talk to current students/alumni (if possible) and incorporate things that you learned. Ask them what underlying qualities the student body possesses (for UChicago, it's a thirst for knowledge, and at Georgetown, it might be some Jesuit value), and evidence your possession of those very same characteristics in your essay. Mention specific professors under whom you wish to study/research, and connect their classes/research back to your own intellectual interests. Better yet, email the professor, have an awesome conversation with them, and incorporate some element of that conversation in your essay. Don't think professors will give you the time of day? This strategy has worked for my 1-on-1 students at Stanford, UChicago, Yale, Princeton, Penn, and many more schools. You can download my guide to emailing professors here. Bottom line: If the essay can be copied and pasted to fit any other university, be more specific.
If you have any questions, I'm all ears. And if you're applying to college or graduate school and want to work with me 1-on-1, check out my website at www.HelpWithApps.com or engage with me on r/ApplyingToCollege.
References and confidence are everything for grad school
Wow, I can answer this since I work in American higher education! For graduate school, recommendations are absolutely crucial, so be very careful with who you pick. It's normally the first thing universities look at. I recommend someone who will write passionately but honestly about you. It can sometimes be helpful to send your writer your resume and essay submissions as well (and if they're willing to look at and incorporate those documents, they're probably a good writer for you).
Also, self-advocacy is key for your essay submissions, so don't be afraid of coming off as bragging. A lot of students try to be humble (or even vague), which hurts their application since admissions doesn't have time to interpret their essay.
If you have any specific questions about applications, feel free to ask me!
For those applying abroad
The strongest bit of advice for students applying to a European (particularly UK) University course - don't send a US style personal statement.
Applications in the US tend to be handled by admin staff whereas in the UK/EU by academic staff. These academic staff do not want to read several pages on your non academic interests and skills, it's a waste of their time - focus entirely on your subject based interest and experience. It's often not even worth saying why you want to attend that particular Uni on a UK application, unless it's due to the strength of the department or the teaching staff on the course you are actually taking.
Remember the basics!
Spellcheck, and check your grammar.
People often forget to answer the most important question: what do you want to study, and why? You'd be surprised how many personal statements I read that are full of fantastic achievements etc, but none of that matters if I can't tell what you're applying for!
No sloppiness, only specificity
I work in the admissions office of my school. Improper emails, misspellings, terrible handwriting all make us critical of whatever you're going to say next. The thing that agitated me the most however , and probably the people that the actual decisions is your level of research on your career. "Elementary school math teacher" is not what you put in the blank for major, "Education" is a major. It's astounding how many potential students don't do research before applying. Last week we had an applicant that wanted to go to the NFL.... we don't have a football team.
Submit everything online
Submit your application online. I work in admissions and getting paper applications is not only annoying but it slows down the whole process. For one the amount of spelling errors is alarming and we end up having to call people to see how the correct way to spell their first name. Second as much as it sucks, sometimes paper apps get lost. Get lots in the mail, doesn't get filed properly. Things just move a lot quicker online.
A list of undergrad and graduate tips
I've worked in admissions to an undergrad honors program.
- Humor is fine, but morbid humor is generally hit or miss.
- I'm scanning your recommendations for actual examples of your awesomeness, as everything is generally going to be boilerplate "best ever!" so if your recommendations have a particulary example "he wrote an essay that made me cry"/"he was the fastest at (whatever)"/"he always stayed to help after" it's helpful. Remind your recommenders of these moments before.
- Also on recs: I've read some REAL BAD ONES. Every once and awhile there is a person who asked the wrong teacher. If a teacher seems reluctant DO NOT TAKE THEIR REC ASK SOMEONE ELSE.
- I'm expecting you to have reasonably good grades, so I'm probably scanning your grades for "mistake" grades that you need to explain elsewhere. Why did you get that D? What classes are your weaker classes? if you got below a C- in a class, you probably need to explain that to me.
- Let someone read your essays for cringe. Please don't write an essay about how a 2 day volunteer trip changed your life unless you actually started volunteering everywhere else/created an NGO for that cause after. I'd rather hear more about your life and activities/hobbies as a whole. Please, if you're going to exaggerate, don't make it something which is basically a lie.
- If you choose to write the diversity essay, be careful and sensitive with what you say.
For graduate school (I've sat on an admissions board here/field specific to social science):
- The rec thing above TIMES A BILLION MORE. Don't just go for a big name if they don't know you, s/he will write you a 1 paragraph s*** rec.
- Your statement of purpose should display (1) your research interest (2) how you've previously done work with it (3) who EXACTLY you will work with. Depending on the school, you can and should reach out to professors to discuss with them, especially in smaller schools.
- Rewrite your statement of purpose over and over, with outside eyes. If you are in undergrad, the career office will and should help you with this.
- Submit everything on time!
- Yes, your GRE counts. Yes, that sucks. If your GRE is below a certain threshold, if your GPA is below a certain threshold, if your recs were less than glowing, or if your SoP was less than well-matched, any of these alone can disqualify you depending on the school.
Explains the holes or deficiencies
If there are problematic areas in your application (for example, some bad grades or weak extracurricular activities), give me some context. I want to understand why you're still a good candidate. I really want to admit you. As a college, we need the tuition and financial aid money you can provide, and we can't get that unless you're admitted and enroll. So explain those bad grades or other problems that might make me think you would struggle in college. Be careful not to shrug off responsibility for your own actions, though. Ideally, I want to see you take ownership of your struggles and that you've learned from them, with evidence that you've improved.
Always do more
Show your effort, in any way you can. This doesn't mean to try those gimmicks or to pester the school with unsolicited materials, but do take advantage of every single opportunity and option they offer. Don't just do the standard or minimum amount of effort if you can do more.
Update your info, yikes!
You'd be surprised how often people use a copy and pasted response to questions, or even their entire admission letter. You can have the best application ever seen, but your chances drop instantly if your admission letter for University X still says "for these reasons and so many more, I believe University Y is the perfect fit for me."
Ok, so go to University Y. Application rejected
Depends on the school...
I guess this is just at select institutions. I worked in an admissions office for a 8 years and the institution I worked at just cared if you had the correct high school credits, GPA, test scores, no criminal record. If you met that you were admitted and many times even if you did not you still get in. Funding was based on numbers so they didn't give a rats a** about you or your ambitions.
Some specific advice on sharing your dreams
Hi there, I'm a former Admissions officer for a private liberal arts college.
If the school(s) you're applying to take the Common App, try your best to make it stand out with unique stories or big dreams you have. Admissions offices receive tens of thousands of Common Apps every year, and many of these admissions offices are bored of reading about your 4.0 and involvement in 17 different leadership groups. Our office wants to know why you should get a chance at a stellar secondary education, not why you're already such a smart cookie. We want to put the best and brightest people in a position to succeed for the rest of their life, and as most people know here, GRADES AND CLUBS MEAN NOTHING AFTER GRADUATION.
A good way to address this within the Common App essay: "What have you experienced in your life that made you try to enact a change, better yourself, or cause deep reflection?" Some examples that I read about include, a woman who used her popularity as homecoming queen to organize a school-wide flood cleanup effort, a former athlete whose career-ending injury made him look into his true passion of astronomy, and a programmer who at age 23 wanted so badly to start his own company, but wanted to take management courses to round himself out.
Oh, and of course, spell check, spell check, spell check. Have someone else read your essay for you. Read it out loud in front of a mirror. Make sure the grammar works verbally too.
You're going to be okay. Best of luck to everyone currently working on their applications! :)
How to stand out for the right reasons
Finally something I can answer about my work.
I assist with admissions for a graduate program at a large University (40,000+ student population). Our program sees over 400 applications per year, first an online application, and then we do in-person interviews. You're probably doing most things right when applying, spell checking your submissions, make sure your references are strong, meet all the requirements, etc..
Things you DON'T want to do - make yourself stand out in a negative way. Any applicant who doesn't submit docs on time, whose interactions with staff are rude/negative/pushy (including reception) - we note and keep track of all of that and you will not be getting an interview, despite what your GPA may be. If you waited until two weeks before the submission deadline to ask a referee to send a letter and they didn't get around to it? Don't call and ask for additional time, there's a deadline and it was your responsibility to meet it. Didn't like the answer you got to an emailed question? Don't come in after seeing our note that we don't do in-person advising, and try and pressure staff into giving you a different answer. Don't, for the love of god, have your parent call or come in on your behalf. There are privacy laws for a reason and we don't want a student who can't ask their own questions. Unsure if your documents reached us? Don't call or email to ask about them; read the instructions we listed that stated to check your online application as all updates will be made there and that we won't take call to confirm. Don't ask to speak to the Department Head or an Admissions Committee member because you have a 'unique' situation. We note everything. We receive enough applications from students who exceed all of our minimum requirements that we can afford to be extremely picky.
The people who do stand out are the ones who did everything that was asked of them; submitted all documents on time, met and completed all requirements, didn't come in when we said not to, didn't make a fuss, were passionate, enthusiastic and had a positive interaction to everyone they interact with.
Devote yourself to something, it will pay off
Don't just be a resume filler. One year in the environmental club, one year in the history club, one year in the robotics club, etc. shows your just trying to con your way in. Find something you really enjoy and stay devoted to it. Show you're willing to put in work for something you care about, not just go through the motions.
A job looks great!
Part-time jobs. In this day and age a lot of kids go to college never having held a job. If you did have a part-time job and can get a letter of recommendation from your boss (responsible, hard working, gets along well with others, reliable, honest), it goes a LONG way.
Always submit as much as you can
I'm a student who works for admissions, so I don't technically decide whether or not you get in, but I do have a good tip.
I'm from a state (hint, it's Delaware) where there is a heavy emphasis on "test-optional" submissions, especially for in-state students, and lots of people think that they will just ignore the test scores and judge you without them.
While this is true, this puts you at a HEAVY disadvantage with the admissions team. They look at test-optionals last, so if they've already gotten close to their admissions quota, they will be much more scrupulous, and it'll be harder to get in. Their logic is that if you don't submit your test scores, you either don't test well, or "aren't smart enough" for the university, which is unfortunate.
So if you want to submit test-optional to a certain large university in Delaware, please please PLEASE only do it if you've got a great GPA, a large amount of extra-, and recommendations from teachers/administrators. Even mediocre test scores are better than no test scores, it seems.
Think about what they are looking for
Put yourself in the place of the admissions reader. Just imagine how many apps you have to read. Imagine how boring they are. Imagine how many sound like clones. Imagine how many times you have to see the same adjectives. Imagine how happy you are when an original one comes along! In other words, personalize your app. Make it serious, but fun. Show how distinct and creative you are.
Basically, what you want to demonstrate is that you are smart, creative, and above all else, that you will contribute something positive and unique to the University Community.
Grading thousands of college papers each year, I cannot tell you how happy I am when I see someone who thinks differently, who takes the assignment seriously, has fun with it, and who doesn't just offer up the routine stuff.
There is a process
I used to work in the admissions department of a university in Florida. One thing I learned about the admissions process there: although you're required to submit an essay, it won't even get read unless they can't make up their mind on grades alone. So the best tip I can give is to just not f*** around in high school.
I used to work in an Admission office and it was remarkable how many students used text language, i.e. LOL, BTW, etc. Just embarrassing
We often find ourselves having to guess how to make things work and make things fit--in our lives, but also just in our possessions. Will these pants fit me? These shoes?
Will this screw fit my table? Will this charger fit my phone?
If everything was somehow standard, wouldn't it all be so much easier?
Here were some of those answers.
No More Vanity Sizes
Sizes for clothing.
Especially for shoes. How hard would it be to just list the sizes in centimeters (or inches if you're American)?
WHY DO WE USE STANDARD MEASUREMENTS FOR OUR CLOTHES, BUT THEY ARE DIFFERENT SIZES IN DIFFERENT BRANDS???
Calvin Klein's men's slacks: 32'' waist
Bar III men's slacks: 32'' waist
Perry Ellis slacks: 32'' waist
THEY ARE ALL DIFFERENT WAIST SIZES. WHYY?!?!?!?!
Ah Yes, Three Chilis
There's a standard for chili heat levels (the Scoville scale), but food manufacturers never use it. Instead, they use a varying number of chili icons which mean nothing at all.
It's always fun going to like a Thai restaurant in Canada and trying to figure out whether the chili icon means Thai spicy or Canadian spicy.
Ah Yes, This Could Kill Me
Household electrical voltages and sockets.
Interestingly enough, there was an attempt: since 1986, there is an international standard socket, IEC 60906-1. However, only South Africa has implemented it so far.
And it is unlikely it will ever be implemented in other countries, as the EU is even advising against it since 2017:
REFIT found that "the harmonisation of plug and socket outlet systems in Europe, by introducing changes in national wiring legislations (would have) important transitional periods (above 75 years)", and that the cost to "replace the old socket-outlets (and the corresponding plugs of the appliances being used)" was estimated at 100 billion Euro, "generating a huge environmental impact, producing some 700 000 tons of electrical waste". REFIT does not recommend harmonising the plugs and socket-outlet systems in Europe.
Can we just get a little consistency here? Please?!
After working in a grocery store, can diameters should only come in a maybe 4 sizes. And they should all stack.
But they don't. They never do.
I feel your pain. I hate those narrow jars and cans that are slightly narrower than 3 wires of the shelf so they tip over if you don't place them perfectly.
A Computer Mouse, Not A Little Baby Mouse
Modern rechargable batteries.
We spent years with standard size batteries. We are now stuck with proprietary batteries which aren't designed to be user replaceable and often dictate the life of the device.
Yes absolutely. I found this fact especially annoying when looking for a mouse. Most of the more expensive mice come with rechargeable batteries, and it seems that modern tech reviewers are claiming this is better than some standard double A.
All Standard, Yet None Standard
I worked in a hardware store long enough to learn that apparently everything is standardized.
"I need window screens."
Okay, what are your dimensions?
"It's a standard size window."
"I'm looking for a replacement ceiling fan."
Okay, do you want small blades, large blades? A modest 30" span or a robust 56"?
"Just standard size."
"Do you think this large, bulky, cumbersome commodity will fit in my vehicle?"
I don't know. How big your truck?
"It's a standard one."
protip: it's a sedan. it's always a sedan.
Welp, Here's Your Problem
Based on years of helping my Dad in his shop, doing bodywork on vehicles - fastenings. Bolts, screws. rivets, clips... the sheer amount of specialized fastenings and required tools is insane. Even the variety of types in single vehicles is excessive.
Not to mention many of them are so cheaply made that there is no reusing them.
So Many Sign Languages
Not necessarily something that should be standardised because it would affect many cultures negatively, but I've always wondered what it would be like if every country just spoke one language. Sign language should probably be standardised, but re-learning sign language for people who use it may be difficult and time-consuming
Perhaps We Need To Rethink Policing
Police responses to missing persons across the nation, and the information requirements for police reports to be filled out with specific and complete information at the first point of contact by the person reporting the missing person, regardless of the age, status, or suspected reason for disappearing.
Police should NEVER be allowed to decide a case isn't valid at the first point of contact.
A Recipe For A Lint Fire
The laundry exhaust receptacle in homes should be centered exactly eighteen inches (45.7cm) from the floor with eighteen inches (or 45.7 cm) of clearance on both sides.
The exhaust duct of a clothes dryer should be in the middle of the back of the machine, and centered eighteen inches/45.7 cm from the floor. The dryer should have adjustable feet to allow for slight errors in measurement.
Once this is done, a laundry dryer can be pushed into the wall and we won't need to craft a length of ducting to connect the two.
Just a little bit of sameness and consistency could really go a long way here.
Some things ought not be tried again.
Sure, they made sense the first time. It may have held charm, at least some sense of purpose on the second go around. But eventually, surely, an essential truth became clear: never again.
Reddit is apparently crawling with people carrying around that permanent grudge towards some thing they've done in the past.
Lucky for us, we can learn from their mistakes.
senorllama57 asked, "What is something you will never do again?"
There were, of course, plenty of people who discussed horrible jobs they've held in the past. They may have had little choice at the time, but now that it's all in the past they feel free to share how they really felt.
The Customer Always Seems To Be Wrong
"Work retail. I think every kid fresh out of high school should work a retail job for a year. It builds character." -- ProfessionalTheme415
"How did you get out!?! Lol. It's like a black hole where I work. Everyone that tries to leave comes back." -- threebillion6
A Lot Going On
"Work in a nursing home. The sights, screams and pleas Will haunt me forever." -- M_Lamora
"Honestly working in a nursing home was one of the most weird jobs I ever had. I've never been threatened so many times in my life. I once had a memory care resident ask me if I would help her jump a caregiver."
One After Another
"Work in a call center." -- Evilsmurfkiller
"Sucked the soul right out of me within a year." -- Bandana-mal
"I was at one for 2 and half years and it was not until I left I realized I had work-related depression. I was overeating, not eating, sleep deprived, slept all the time, I had such rage that would come out at times...
"I did not care what happened to me, I left because they were gonna fire me over something dumb because they just fire people for being there long. I left over a year ago, and I have not been this happy to wake up every day in years, my life is so much better now." -- UnusualLight0
Others discussed past struggles they've encountered within the romantic realm. Unfortunately, these lessons came with plenty of emotional struggle.
"Get married. It'll be 19 years this August and my marriage is my marriage. I reserve the right to have a girlfriend at some point if she passes away before I do, but she's the one and only wife, end of story."
"Ignore red flags when talking to someone I want to date. I've done it twice now, and both times sucked" -- YareYareYandere
"Listen to your gut. If something feels off, you're probably not imagining it." -- SurealGod
Don't Forget About You
"Okay first off I'm sorry if this might sound cringe :D . . . That would be hmm become too attached/codependent on a person. Whether it may be of a lover, friend, or just acquaintance."
"Idk if it's coincidence but they either end up gone one day or become total di**s when you least expect it and I'm forced to cut ties."
And some people chose to recall the things they were so certain would be fun and enjoyable, but turned out to be so not.
A Bad Ratio
"I made a super elaborate meal once. It was ... okay. Certainly not worth the effort involved." -- Astramancer_
"Take an hour to make something, only takes 15 minutes to eat. It's bullsh**." -- SurealGod
Hours and Hours
"Times Square on New Years' Eve. It was fun once, never need to do it again." -- AnswerGuy301
"I was going to answer the same thing. It seemed like it would be so much fun but now that I know what it entails — never again" -- hi_its_me
"I have never been and never understood the attraction of waiting for hours and hours in the shivering weather." -- amrodd
Think of Grease Splatters
"Prepare steaks when drunk" -- Kiaulunne
"Not for your reason, but same here. Cooked one at 2am after half a bottle of rum. Quickly ate and passed out after. Woke up around 8am dying for water and realised I left the gas stove on... So glad nothing burned down..." -- schofield101
"I will never get drunk again. Tipsy, buzzed, sure. Thats fine."
"But when I was in front of that toilet for an hour, being so weak I couldn't even sit up, having people constantly come in to check on me, worrying that I might have alcohol poisoning, that is exactly not a fun time"
So take some notes! Or maybe there were some true horrors you went through that this list seems to be lacking.
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You know what they say, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions". Because the people who have our best interests in mind typically have good intentions when they give us advice, but there's a chance that that advice can go horribly wrong.
Try not to follow the bad advice given here, because you don't want to get the results that these guys did.
The workplace can bring a cornucopia of terrible advice. Don’t follow these unless you want to get fired.
Bad jobs are usually not worth it.
Stick with a job no matter how bad it is. I stayed with a terrible job working retail, dealing with horrible customers and sexual harassment. I was told I wouldn't find anything better.
"No, no, you misunderstand. I said you wouldn't find anything better at making you feel like complete garbage."
This gets really creepy really fast.frustrated workplace GIFGiphy
"After you put in a job application, you need to call them at least once a day every day until they hire you."
Note: this did not get me hired. It got me called out by the HR person I was calling and forbidden to ever contact their facility again.
I work for a law firm that employees over 1500 people in the home office alone. Once I received a call from the building security saying, "Insert Name is here to speak with the owner." Well we are run by a committee so that's odd. Found out they just applied for a job and wanted to talk directly to the person that would potentially hire them. Told him the firm will contact them to schedule an interview. They refused to leave without "talking to the owner." Had security escort them out of the building.
This is absolutely not true.
"Sleep is for people who do not want success" great words from my uncle, it almost killed me.
Now I may be oversleeping.
Interpersonal relationships are also a big breeding ground for terrible advice. Don’t listen to any of these.
My father always tought me and my brother that "having friends is bad and in the end they will never be there for you" so everytime I told my father about my friends he would get kinda mad and give me the advice to stop talking to them.
Now I am afraid of people and have several trust issues, thanks dad.
This won’t end well.A Christmas Story GIF by filmeditorGiphy
In the fifth grade my teacher was talking about bullying, then she said "if anyone tries to bully you just agree with them." So the next time I got bullied I agreed with the bully and they bullied me more.
Dude one time I saw an anti bullying video that told the victims to just BE NICE TO THE BULLY. Like the bully was hurling insults and the victim was smiling and complimenting him. My first thought was about how much I hated the mere thought that this would work. My second thought was of how the people who came up with that method had clearly never been bullied.
When I met my now wife at the age of 19, one of my coworkers said that it's very important to start at the bottom with presents and work your way up, she still has the socks I gave her on our first anniversary on the wall over our bed as a reminder...
I'm still trying to teach my boyfriend about good presents and bad presents. Biscuits from the supermarket = bad present. Cheap unbranded laptop battery from China as my only present = bad present (and only lasted 2 months). Anything off my 7-page wishlist = good present. It's literally a list of things I want to receive as presents.
Can tell you from experience that this is a bad idea.
Had a falling out with some friends. My husband recommended I reach out to an old friend who ghosted me suddenly in a manner that induced some pretty severe abandonment trauma. Went for it anyways because "it's been so long, surely they changed". Am now experiencing the same things as last time.
When you follow bad advice, it can lead to mistakes that you just can’t come back from.
Buying a house is tricky.for sale dancing GIF by Lisa VertudachesGiphy
"Buy a home now before the prices go up!" -my FIL in 2006.
We bought in 2007 and paid $259,500 for our 1,300 sq ft house (we really couldn't afford it and had an 80/20 so we had 8% interest for one loan and 6% on the other) and in 2008 it was worth $97,000 so refinancing wasn't even an option. We watched all of our neighbors walk away or get foreclosed on but we kept paying our bills and as of this very moment our house is worth $462,000. I'm so happy we stuck it out, we both worked our @sses off and the house will be paid off in 2 years.
It worked out for us, it's a horrible idea. Especially since 1300 sq ft houses are $460+k
My heartbreaks for future generations, I honestly don't know how people are going to afford housing in the future.
It’s there for a reason.
"Never apply for any government assistance."
Cue years of suffering trying to work full-time with a painful disability. Quit a particularly terrible job, and wanted to apply for food aid until I could find another gig; a friend with lots of DHS experience recommended I apply for Social Security "just to get in the system." Turns out my disability was bad enough to get accepted the first time, which I wasn't expecting. Really could've used that support, oh, the 30+ previous years of my life.
Credit is important to have.
I was told to not get a credit card until after college. I was super fortunate to have my college paid for so I had no loans, car paid in cash, no credit card or anything to start building credit. Found myself out in the world at 22 years old with a credit score of 0.
So while a lot of this bad advice came from trusted people, oftentimes they were too misinformed to give that advice in the first place. Don't trust the word of one person--do your research, and make decisions for yourself.
It'll be way better in the long run
Every once in awhile, somebody comes along, enters your life, and catapults themselves to that awful, unique position at the top of your list of the worst people you have ever met.
Sometimes, the person's blindingly terrible behavior and overall essence is actually impressive. We ask ourselves, "how could a person like this actually exist on purpose?"
Alas, they do. And you have to deal with them. Or, if your lucky, you can carve out some distance.
Redditors shared descriptions of the worst people they've ever had the misfortune to meet. Some have escaped the relationship. Some are are still stuck in the clutches.
LoneStar202 asked, "Who is the worst person you have ever met?"
Some chose to talk about the acquaintances they simply couldn't help but encounter. External circumstances beyond their control made the stars align in the worst way possible.
Keeping the Peace
"There was this guy who used to come into the McDonald's where I did security overnight (yes, that's a job), and he was the biggest ahole I've ever met in my life."
"Ginger, 5'6 or so, named Colby, had a perpetual scowl on his face, looked for any reason to start a fight with anyone. He and his friend would come in when it's super busy, not order, and then yell at the staff that he paid and wasn't given a receipt in the hopes that they'd give him free food rather than deal with him."
"I kicked him out for six months on two separate occasions for coming in drunk and throwing things, drinking beer in the restaurant, starting fights, you name it. Only got in my face once and I never had to fight him, but I'm much bigger than him and the law is on my side."
"Not that I would necessarily have won. I'm big and strong, but I have no idea how to fight and he did. I called his bluffs because I was pretty sure he wouldn't attack me and he didn't."
"Funny, I just realized I've finally forgotten his last name. Not that I'd mention it. He might be less of a @ss now and he's no longer my business."
You Know 'Em
"I work with a real life, archetypal, Karen. She's two-faced, mean, anti-vax, and just generally the whole nine. The first interaction I ever had with her she had to make fun of me behind my back for being a dude with earrings."
"Recently kicked up a stink by making an 'anonymous' email address and emailing our HR department saying people were discriminating against folks not getting the covid vaccine.
"Luckily she's burned too many bridges for anyone to really take her crazy anymore but man is she frustrating to deal with."
Others discussed the family members that, for obvious reasons, they were forced to put up with for years and years. But even family isn't enough to keep a person like that around.
Marrying Into It
"It sounds cliche, but my ex-MIL. What made her the worst is that she was a covert POS."
"We always lived about 1k miles from them, so I didn't pick up on it for far, far too long, but goddamn, I've never met anyone with as much unacknowledged hate and cruelty in their heart."
A Thing of the Past
"My father. Cheater, never paid child support, verbally abusive to my mother, sister and I. Just all around bad dude."
"Haven't talked to him in about 15 years and am 100% ok with that."
So Many Problems
"My brother. He's like a cross between Kramer (Seinfeld, 'my newest thing' and mannerisms) and Frank from Its Always Sunny (illegal activity and completely illogical 'logic')."
"He's ripped me off for thousands of dollars (getting close to 5 figures). Constantly stealing anything he can, but claims 'borrowed' if caught with it. Been to jail 3 times and is currently on house arrest after over a year of probation violations. "
"The epitome of 'easier to say sorry than ask permission' (but the apologies are hollow) and 'what's yours is mine and what's mine is mine.' No consideration for anyone or anything. Manages to break virtually anything he touches. Hasn't had a job in over 1.5 years, but has been trying to fraudulently collect unemployment."
"Constantly thinks everyone is out to get him and people are stalking the camper he lives in (has security cameras that he watches frequently and often 'patrols' the area). Tries to break into locked doors and safe, and pulls the 'why don't you believe/trust me' line."
"I'm just scratching the surface here. He'd use your clippers/razor to shave his family jewels and not clean up the mess (something he's done multiple times)."
Finally, there were the stories of classmates. Whether it was high school, college, or even graduate school, there were enough people there all in one place that one or two rotten people were never far away.
"Guy from my high school was a wannabe thug. He ended up going to juvi junior year. After a year of juvi. He became a true criminal. Broke into people's homes. Stole from stores and got heavy into drugs."
"Then he eventually died after robbing the wrong store at gunpoint. The owner came out the back and shot him with a shotgun."
Wait for the Twist
"My gf's college classmate. Narcistic. Thought of himself as very important so he came into the church where we were graduating, on his HORSE. He damaged a 1000 or something-year-old church floor in Leiden. He thinks he didn't do anything wrong."
"And the weird thing is, we were graduating LAW SCHOOL"
Ride Like Lightning, Crash Like Thunder
"I had a classmate who wanted to become a stock broker and a millionaire. He said more than once, with absolute pride, 'When I'm rich I wont donate a single penny to the poor!' I asked him why and he said 'I have my own problems, and the poor being poor is not one of them.' "
"He opened his own business when he was 23 and was pretty successful, but suddenly a fire burned the place down while he was in it and he suffered from third degree burns all over his body."
"He later confessed setting the fire himself and was found guilty on insurance fraud. He's only 24 now and his professional life is basically over."
A Sudden Shift
"A teacher I once had. Didn't know me. Never spoke to me much."
"One day just randomly snapped at me. Yelling at me telling me that I had no future, that all the awards I got were to go to waste, that I the article I published which I spent hours working on and submitted didn't matter. That even though I was 14 and had many great achievements, I would end up just like that said teacher."
"Worst person I have ever encountered. Did collateral damage to my life as now I am a high school student with no more ambition. Wanna be a journalist? Wanna be a writer? A lawyer? Not anymore buddy."
Hopefully, you don't have too many of these people in your own life. But, let's face it, there's one or two people on your mind right now.
Here's hoping you managed to let go and get away.
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