Your College Application Playlist
In honor of application season, I have taken it upon myself to make a playlist just for you, prospective college student! Here are fifteen songs for five very specific moods you may encounter at various points of your senior year and during college application process. I hope you enjoy listening to this playlist as much as I enjoyed making it!
For when you’re writing THE supplement about a woman in history
“Praying” by Kesha - I found a strength I’ve never known / I’ll bring the thunder, I’ll bring the rain
Fun fact: Did you know Kesha planned to go to Barnard and study psychology prior to starting her music career? Aside from almost being a Barnard woman, I think we can all agree: she is a strong, brave woman, and this is the kind of song to accompany your brainstorming session on who you should pick for this supplement.
“Run the World (Girls)” by Beyoncé - I’m rapping for the girls who taking over the world / Help me raise a glass for the college grads
Do I even need to further explain this one?
“Fight Like a Girl” by Zolita - I will sleep when I’m dead, a revolution’s waking up in my head / You want to listen what a real girl said? It’s a woman’s world
This song was released in 2017, but it truly is my anthem of 2018, The Year of the Woman. Just listening to it makes me feel like a powerful woman. Other great lines from this song: “My body, my choice, my rights, and my voice.”
For when you get all those feels because it’s your last year of high school
“Change” by Lana Del Rey - There’s a change gonna come, I don’t know where or when / But whenever it does, we’ll be here for it
I must confess, this song also hits me especially in my feelings because it came out around the time I graduated high school and Lana Del Rey is one of my favorite artists. Yes, the future, including this entire process, is a big question mark, but that doesn’t mean you’re not ready for it. There’s a special kind of beauty in this uncertainty.
“Vienna” by Billy Joel - You’re so ahead of yourself that you forgot what you need / Though you can see when you’re wrong, you know you can’t always see when you’re right
Aside from being another nostalgic piece of my childhood (the first time I heard this song was in 13 Going on 30), it makes me think: I’m just a teenager who had lived roughly one fifth of my life when I applied to college. Things that seem like a big deal when you’ve lived one fifth of your life don’t seem so big once you’ve lived through a little more.
“Good Goodbye” by Lianne La Havas - All these memories, too much to lose / No one ever leaves you
High school is the end of something, but it also a beginning. T.S. Eliot said it better than I can: “To make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” As bittersweet as this ending might be for you, it’s also going to be a good goodbye.
For when you get all excited because IT’S YOUR LAST YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL!
“Plans” by Oh Wonder - We’ll be scraping the sky with our fingertips / Screaming, “This is the life, we were born for this”
One of the biggest differences between high school and college is the amount of choice and freedom you’ll have that you’ve probably never had before. It truly feels like the world is at your fingertips, which is exactly the kind of feeling this song gives me.
“Prom” by SZA - Fearin’ not growin’ up, keepin’ me up at night / Am I doing enough? Feel like I’m wastin’ time
You might notice this song does not have the most uplifting lyrics, but I think it addresses a feeling that I (and many of my high school friends) had while we were going through high school and felt like what we were doing wasn’t enough. I included this song because feeling that way is common and okay. And it’s SZA.
“Seventeen” by Alessia Cara - My mother said, “Don’t forget where you came from, where you’ve been / Always keep your closest friends, they can’t slip away”
This idea of savoring the time you have now with friends and family is something I can’t emphasize enough. Another pearl of wisdom: make new friends and keep the old; one is silver, the other is gold.
For when you inevitably say to yourself, “Why am I doing this?”
“What Do I Know?” by Ed Sheeran - The future’s in the hands of you and me / So let’s all get together, we can all be free / Spread love and understanding, positivity
When I got to college, I had never felt so incredibly small before (pretty incredible, since I’m literally five feet tall). However, I quickly learned that yes, I am surrounded by people with so much more knowledge and experience and wisdom than me, but that’s exactly what college is about: sharing, collaborating, and learning with each other.
“Heroes (We Could Be)” by Alesso & Tove Lo - Everyday people do everyday things but I can’t be one of them
At the same time, everyone wants to be exceptional and to stand out in some way. You can be…
“A Girl Like Me” by Rihanna - A girl like me is just a little different from all the rest / And a girl like me never gonna settle for second best
. . . Because at the end of the day, you are your own unique person. And if you don’t believe me, believe Rihanna. (When listening to this song, you should think of yourself as Rihanna. You’re welcome.)
For after you’ve hit submit on your application!
“Thank You” by Kehlani - Thanks for the love every step of the way / With no support, this wouldn’t be as great
This will hit you right in your feelings. If you are a highly emotional person, like me (confession: I cried off my waterproof mascara at my high school graduation), prepare to cry when you listen to this song. Don’t forget the people who have helped you get to where you are—and don’t forget everything that you’ve done for yourself to get to this point.
“Doing It” by Charli XCX & Rita Ora - Waited so long just to be here, now we’re bringing this back to life / Want you to know how I miss you, now I got you right by my side
This is just the kind of song you can dance along to with all your friends. Enjoy all the time you have together this year. Soon you’ll be at different colleges, maybe in different cities and different states. Celebrate getting through this year together.
“Be Alright” by Ariana Grande - In slow motion, can’t seem to get where we’re going / But the hard times are golden ‘cause they all lead to better days
I was in your shoes once. I know it seems like everything is changing so quickly and maybe you feel unprepared for it. As someone who’s been through the process before, trust me—you’re going to be alright. (This is another GREAT song for doing your post-submission happy dance.)