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Application hell

Worst Case Scenario

Ruchi Asher

Issue date: 10/2/09 Section: Worst Case Scenario
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The problem with being at Case Western Reserve University, an institution with a powerful pre-professional emphasis, is that everyone is expected to know what their future plans are at any given time. I am one of the few who chose not to occupy every second of my life with three or more prestigious internships, but come fall senior year, we are all playing the same grueling game, a sort of application roulette. Regardless of what future plans may be, somehow graduating university requires surviving application season in one piece.

This is easier said than done. First comes the moment where we realize that this whole university experience was supposed to teach us something. Perhaps we should have remembered a thing or two after getting through finals week instead of throwing book-burning parties. Then, after that flash of panic comes a long summer of wading through acronyms: MCAT, LSAT, DAT, GMAT, OAT, GRE…it seems like a poorly constructed word search, but standardized testing is an inevitable part of application season. Months of memorizing logic rules, organic chemistry, and high school math are supposed to add one more weapon to our arsenal of graduate qualifications. A good test score is supposed to be the ticket to a top-notch graduate program, copious bragging rights, and a future of studying even harder in an increasingly competitive and hostile academic environment. At the least, standardized testing is a great excuse to stay in and catch up on much-needed sleep without sacrificing a Friday night to anti-social tendencies.

Once the battery of standardized tests has been exhausted, it is time to begin the mass production of personal statements, resumes, and cover letters galore. Technology is a wonderful thing, so fewer trees are harmed in the process than in years past, but trying to find a useful purpose after graduation requires more applications being sent out than ever before. That means that more of us are at risk for extreme paper cuts in the interest of finding an alternative to serving burgers at McDonald's - a common threat from concerned parents. However, the application process isn't always a completely awful experience. In a sick and twisted way, it can actually be a massive ego-booster; after all, it is pretty wonderful to write pages about one's greatest accomplishments, wax poetic about challenges overcome, and compile endless lists demonstrating superhuman leadership abilities. The end product is an exhaustive portfolio of how unnaturally wonderful a student is.

On the other hand, for many of us, filling out applications is just a reminder of how inadequate our myriad accomplishments may be. For example, spending summers working with the night staff of a retail call center won't get me into graduate programs, let alone impressive, world-saving, high-earning employment.

Being at a competitive, cutthroat institution such as CWRU definitely multiplies the tensions circulating around campus as us upperclassmen panic about what the future will hold and how to get there. For those complacent freshman freshly relieved from application anxiety-don't get too cosy. You'll be back in the grind soon.
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In This Issue


  • Can you name this place?
  • Have you heard about Case Western Undergraduate Bioethics Society?
  • Homecoming at CWRU
  • Preparing for 2009's local and state elections
  • President Barbara Snyder engages the student body in first-ever student State of the University address
  • RAD classes aim to protect students
  • Six CWRU students test positive for H1N1
  • Students celebrate sustainability at campus-wide GreenFest


  • At least Anderson keeps it close
  • First round robin puts Spartans in driver's seat
  • Football Gameday: Case vs. Wooster
  • For Denison QB, first test is daunting
  • Judges bring Spartans down to earth

Fun Page

  • Combo Scramble Solution
  • Crossword Solution
  • Maze Solution
  • Sudoku Solutions


  • Drastic healthcare reform unnecessary, wasteful
  • Editorial: USG must take action, stem abundance of resignations
  • Moore's Capitalism: an undeserved bully pulpit
  • Recycling: getting to know your plastics
  • State sex education legislation provides needed overhaul
  • State your case: what do you do on a rainy day?


  • Acappella for Africa successful fundraiser for Global Medical Initiative, showcases CWRU's multiude of a cappella talents
  • Baker-Nord Center to hold student-run Flip Camera Film Festival
  • Botanical Gardens, Baker-Nord Center present compelling afternoon of poetry reading and composition
  • Cleveland Museum of Art opens Paul Gauguin: Paris, 1889 exhibit
  • Eldred Theater season opens with Heidi Chronicles
  • GLTF season opens with gut-busting Edwin Drood
  • Hitting the Spot: Cody Wood
  • Kid Cudi brings introspective musical perspective to Case Western
  • The Buzz
  • Thinking about summer jobs and real-world employment can never start too early

Cross Country

  • Women emerge from "mud pit" with title


  • Nicely catches 3 TDs in win

Sex and Dating

  • The real reason to get a flu shot


  • Streak snapped: Spartans get first UAA win since '06

Spartan Spotlight

  • Spartan Spotlight: Brian Evans

Worst Case Scenario

  • Cold season
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