by Ivy Wang
Like a lot of other people, TikTok has somehow taken over my life and honestly, it’s not very good for me. The other thing that’s taken over my life now that I’m a senior, is college. Now I finally understand why seniors did not like it when I, as a naive freshman, asked about college, because the application process is stressful and not fun to think about. Usually, I go on TikTok as a break from writing essays and listening to information sessions. However, recently, college has also taken over even my TikTok page.
For those of you who are lucky enough to not see any college Tiktoks, let me describe to you the kind of TikToks that I see. There are some cool TikToks about people‘s campuses or montages about the amazing times and memories that they have in college. Then there are TikToks about what schools people are applying to or their results from previous years. There are also tons of accounts run by college prep services and companies that give application tips, reminders, essay help, and other advice.
There is definitely a wide range of college-related videos on TikTok. For me and many of my friends, some of these TikToks are cool to see but others make us even more stressed than we already are. When college-related TikToks first started showing up, I was actually kind of excited and watched almost all of them. Then as I saw more and more, it started to be kind of overwhelming and I disliked them. I even got to the point where I wanted to throw my phone out the window because I could not stop going on TikTok even though it was not good for my mental health. I know many of my friends usually swipe past college TikToks unless they’re really in the mood to see them because honestly TikTok should be a break from thinking about college.
I have purposely looked up certain colleges to see if there are TikToks that show what campus looks like or what the vibe is like since we aren’t able to visit colleges right now. The audio featuring the song “Campus” by Vampire Weekend has some of my favorite college TikToks because they feature pretty clips of people’s college campuses. TikTtok accounts run by actual colleges themselves are probably some of the best ones because they show the day in the life of a student, cool places on campus, or share other fun information about what is happening at their school currently.
The worst kinds of college TikToks are the ones where random students who got into a subjectively good school brag about their GPA or the hundreds of extracurricular activities they did. In the comments of these videos, other students write about how they feel bad about themselves because they don’t have those extracurriculars or a perfect SAT score. These TikToks and comments definitely irritate me because sometimes I feel we are too obsessed with statistics when it comes to college. Yes, stats are a part of applying to college but students should not be comparing themselves to some random person they see on their “for you page”. The TikToks showing results often make me stressed because it’s evident how selective many colleges are and that very few people actually get in, which is daunting to think about.
The college prep guides I’ve seen on TikTok are typically current or recently graduated college students who always list all the top schools they got into to show that they are qualified to be giving advice. Sometimes these people annoy me because every single TikTok I see from them, they reiterate this list of schools. Once in a while, they actually give helpful reminders or relay new information about the application process. The TikToks about writing essays are also not my favorite. In my opinion, everyone’s essay writing process is unique and sometimes I feel that the advice given in these TikToks on how to write essays, make students think they have to write about a certain topic or write in a certain way, which should not be the case.
Being a senior this year basically means your life is dominated by TikTok and college, so when the two worlds collide it is not always the best. Don’t let TikToks about college stress you out and remember that social media is not always the most reliable source. If you’re not a senior, I suggest to not even watch college TikToks and if you have, do not let them make you think you to certain things to get into college, because everyone’s process is different.