The dreadful process of applying to college


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High school students are stressed by all the details of college applications.

Grace Swisher, Staff Writer

Every year, high school seniors have to deal with a big part of finishing up school: college applications. Submitting applications is a time-consuming and painstaking process for most teens, but can also be exciting as it resembles a new phase in life. While there are many hardships that come with formulating the perfect application, most seniors cannot wait to feel the relief of being finished. 

Senior Lily Wu believes the biggest stress-inducing factor are the surprise due dates and the essays that are crucial to most college applications.

The most stressful part is keeping up with all the deadlines. There are parts of the process like recommendation letters, financial aid and standardized testing that aren’t always obvious before you start applying, and each of them has a due date,” Wu said. “I think I also feel a lot of stress about the essay. It’s easy to put a lot of pressure on it, like I catch myself thinking this is the most important thing I’ve ever written.”

There is much to think about when writing a small essay as it could have an impact for the next four years or even longer.

I wish I knew how much work it was going to be to apply to colleges. There are so many little details in each application that needs to be included, and remembering everything is a lot,” senior Gabi Popov said. 

With all of the intricate and specific details varying from college to college, it is best to start earlier. However, not all parts are viewed as completely dreadful, and senior Emma Bax found some things easier than others. 

“Contacting various instructors at different schools was less stressful than it seemed.  I thought college instructors would be reluctant to talk to students that aren’t there but it was quite the contrary,” Bax said. 

Amongst the stress, being able to look back on all things one has achieved is a plus when making one’s application. 

Even if the entire process is stressful there are also moments when I just feel proud of myself and ready for what’s next. It feels like an accomplishment,” Wu said. 

There are many things to look forward to at college, one of them being Greek life. It allows students to connect with one another and is definitely an exciting part of the experience. 

“I am most excited to Rush. I have always wanted to be in a sorority and it seems like an amazing experience where I will hopefully meet many life long friends,” Popov said. 

Cutting down the list of colleges to attend is also a big factor in the process. Applying to every college isn’t an option for most due to cost and other factors. 

“Location, size, and scholarship opportunities have been driving forces of my application process. Since sophomore year, I’ve received emails and brochures from hundreds of colleges, and I immediately disregarded those in the South and West, mostly because the climate is unbearable in my opinion,” Bax said. 

Picturing oneself at the campus can also be helpful to imagine what is the best fit. For Wu, it’s all about the environment of the college. 

There are so many great schools, it can be hard to differentiate them by anything else. I know I want a medium-sized school, not in the South, and that isn’t too rural or urban. I’m also making sure I apply to a mix of selective and less selective universities,” Wu said. 

Applying can bring a sense of excitement for the start of a new chapter in adulthood.  

The most enjoyable aspect of applying is researching schools and seeing what they have to offer, especially in terms of student life,” Bax said. 

Even though the application process is tedious, students can take the time to look back on all their high school achievements and look forward to the liberating benefits college has to offer.

Contact Grace Swisher at [email protected]