My name is Jane Doe, and I am a current high school senior in search of the perfect college.
I think this seems wrong, because if you are still looking for the perfect college you aren't necessarily serious about this college.
Here is another compound sentence, so it needs a comma:
I fully understand that only a small percentage of appeals are made, and I have...
and another one:
The University of South Florida was always at the top of my list of my potential schools, and I was--- whenever you put 2 sentences together as one long sentence, use a comma before the conjunction.
You say a lot before you really say anything. I think it would be a good idea to use this as the attention grabbing first sentence:
In the beginning of m
My high school years
started off with low grades and procrastination,
and I have learned from my mistakes. (now continue the intro paragraph by telling them about your purpose for writing. End the paragraph with an assertion about how focused you are because of your recent experience of inspiration. Tell them you now have what you did not have during the first half of high school.