The Stress of College Applications, Seniors Reflect on a Difficult Process.


Betel Mekonnen, Staff Writer

Picture this: it’s one o’clock in the morning and you’re scratching your head and asking yourself “Who am I?” “What do I wanna be when I get older?” “Oh my gosh, how am I gonna get this done?” 

This experience is one a majority of high schoolers are going to have and one that most of this year’s seniors have already had as they navigate the college application process. 

College applications are known to be a stressful process that takes time, and a lot of patience. They are also a process that causes you to think about some of the most influential and important parts of your life.

Seniors who have been through this so far this year express feeling overwhelmed and stressed by the college application process. One senior, Ruth,  said of the whole process, “It was stressful; it was overwhelming.” As for how they felt after the application process was finally done, they stated that they “felt relieved but felt old and almost cried.” 

This kind of response wasn’t coming from only this exhausted senior as others had the same experience with the process.

One senior, Sophia, found her college essay to be time-consuming and tiring, and found the process to be “overall stressful but [an] impactful experience.” She adds, “After the applications, it felt refreshing and like a weight had been lifted off my chest.” 

“It was kinda terrible and I put off schoolwork.,”said another senior, Madeline. “The closer the deadline got, the more stressful it was because teachers kept adding work and the counselors weren’t able to help,” she added. As the due date was early, it caused a lot of her school work to pile up because she put all her time into the college applications. 

Emmanuel, another senior, said that his application experience was, “very stressful; the more schools you apply to, the more work it’ll be. I applied to about six so it wasn’t that hard; I wish I had started earlier.” 

As for how they felt after their college applications were finished, the general feeling could be summed up by Sophia’s reply: “oh my gosh it felt so nice; now all I have to focus on is schoolwork.”  

 One reason why this year might have felt more rushed for seniors is because this year’s deadline was moved to November first – a full two weeks earlier than last year’s deadline. This earlier deadline brought some strong advice from seniors such as Abel, who says that applicants should “start a little earlier, like September” and adds, “Start earlier and pace yourself; don’t procrastinate.”

All these seniors had pretty much the same plan and they all learned that putting your application work off too long just causes more stress. This made them all realize that it is better to try and start on your application work as soon as you know what colleges you want to apply to. 

One group that can offer some strong advice for seniors is teachers. Not only have they gone through this process themselves, but they also work with students each year as they navigate this process. One of these people is PB science teacher Mr. Zaleski who says that “it’s better to start writing the college essays for your colleges at the beginning of your first semester.” 

Another couple of areas that Mr. Zaleski wants all students at PB to know about the college application process relate to completing the application and finding your way in high school itself. He advises students to “do what you like to do. Do something that is special and important to you. Schools like to see that you care about something and that you did something with it.”

Mr. Zaleski notes that students’ college applications should be made up of things that make them stand out and things they want to pursue as they get older. He also advises PB students not to just randomly plan activities to write in their college essays. 

Mr. Zaleski ends with the thought that students should consider: “What’s important to you? What have you taken on as a very significant role? And how have you made a difference?” 

Though some seniors are still working to submit applications by the final January deadline for regular admission, those seniors who are done can now focus on their school work, getting to graduation, and wait to hear from the schools they applied to. For all the juniors, sophomores, and freshmen, this year’s seniors want them to know that they should not let the stress of college applications consume them. One thing they can do though is to begin thinking and asking themselves: “What do I want to be when I’m older?” From there, the last bit of advice is to simply do the things that make you, you.