Your guide to responding to nosy college questions

Martha Fishburne

Redwood seniors, brace yourselves. For many students, spring means slacking on homework, warm weather and freshman girls in booty shorts. But for those who have just finished applications and are anxiously waiting for responses, spring means dodging an endless torrent of college-related questions. 

Cartoon by Kalyn Dawes

Relatives, we get it. College is exciting. We’re excited too! But cornering us in the produce aisle at Safeway or in line at Starbucks has to stop. Most high schoolers don’t even know what they’re doing 30 seconds from now, let alone in a year.

During this difficult time, it is natural to resort to deflection and evasion, but these tactics do little to deter overeager family members. When all else fails, only one option remains: brutal sarcasm. Such comebacks are hard to think of on the spot, so we at The Redwood Bark have you covered. Here are some frequently asked questions and ways to answer them that will surely scare off even the most well-meaning relative. (Bonus points if you say them in a deadpan voice.)


What colleges are you thinking of?

  • I don’t know. There was one with a really cool sweatshirt, but I can’t remember the name. 
  • Right now I’m thinking of going to STFU. 


What parts of the country are you looking at?

  • I’m looking at anywhere Coronavirus will make them cancel school. 
  • The South has Chick-Fil-A, but California has In-N-Out, so it’s a close call. 


What extracurriculars are you putting on your application?

  • I’m not sure yet, I’m still deciding between photoshopping my face onto rowing pictures or football pictures. 
  • Well, my latest TikTok has more than 100 views, so take a guess. 


What scores are you getting on your ACT/SAT?

  • The one that I took or the one my parents paid for?
  • Sorry, I can’t talk. I have math tutoring at 10:00, then English tutoring at 11:00, then a practice test at 12:37, then after that my second math tutoring, then a ten-minute lunch break, then a college counselor meeting, then five hours of tutor homework and then… 


What are you planning on studying?

  • Oh…I’m supposed to study? But you don’t need to study to be a social media influencer. 
  • I like science, so I’m doing an experiment on the effects of alcohol on a college student’s grades.


Are you applying for financial aid?

  • It’s either that or sell my Tesla. 
  • Now that we’re asking personal questions, tell me about your sex life. 


Which college counselor are you working with?

  • My parents hired this awesome guy. Maybe you’ve heard of him? William “Rick” Singer. He worked with Lori Loughlin. He’s great, but he hasn’t been returning their calls lately. 
  • I just ask my Amazon Echo all my college questions. She knows everything.


What are you writing your essays on?

  • I’m writing one of them on the struggles of the time Blue Barn ran out of my favorite salad, and I had to make do with a sandwich. I’m still feeling the effects of the gluten. 
  • I want to be original, so I’m writing about the time I spent $5,000 to go to Africa and take photos with children I was “helping” build a school. They only got 320 likes on Instagram, but it’s okay. The look of joy on their faces was worth it. 


Don’t worry if you can’t think of any good responses the first couple of times. With spring break right around the corner, you’ll get plenty of practice at every family gathering, brunch and barbecue, whether you want it or not. Good luck, Giants.