Seniors vs. College Applications

Senioritis is a popular term for when seniors in high school slack off, usually during their second semester. Before seniors can relax, however, they have to face one of the toughest semesters of school they will ever go through. During their fall semester, most seniors have to balance regular schoolwork, often with difficult classes to display academic rigor, with the added work of applying for colleges. That makes the fall semester of senior year one of the most stressful parts of a student’s high school career.

Applying to colleges takes a lot of extra time and effort on top of the school work that is already being given, and it can be extremely hard to balance both. This can cause some students to have to choose between the quality of their applications and the quality of their school work.

“Towards the end of first quarter I had so much missing work I didn’t even know how to begin completing it. I told myself that my future was a bigger priority, but it was stressful seeing my grades suffer as a result.”- Evie Shapiro

It is also difficult to try and keep up with all of the different deadlines and requirements that colleges have. Not every college is the same, especially when it comes to out-of-state schools, so deadlines for each school can vary. Some schools offer early action, others offer early decision, and some offer neither. Not only do students have to keep track of the dates that each application is due, but they also have to understand the terminology used by each university. Early decision means that the application is binding and that if they are accepted, they will not go to any other school. This is a big decision and commitment, and it takes research to make sure that the college a student is applying to is right for them and that they know the implications of applying there. Other colleges may require extra information that needs to be submitted, such as a portfolio for an art major or an audition for someone who is going into a music major. These may have separate deadlines as well and can cause even more stress or confusion for students.

“It has been fairly challenging to balance applications with regular school work, especially since I am submitting a visual arts portfolio in some of my applications.”- Ada Bartels

Another big source of stress comes with not knowing what to do when applying. Few seniors have someone guide them through the application process, and most are going into the process completely blind. The added stress of figuring out what needs to be done before the deadlines and then actually doing those things takes up a lot of time that many students do not have. Seniors are busy with classes as well as applying, and that means the workload is more strenuous, so factoring in having to learn how to use application portals, such as CommonApp or CFNC, and then actually filling out applications, leaves very little room for a break.

“I had absolutely no clue what I was doing throughout the application process, and I’m not sure I know if I have everything correct now. I’m running around like a chicken with its head cut off, and I am completely in the dark on whether or not I am doing anything correctly.”- Ada Bartels

“I was definitely lost for some of the applying because I’m an only child, so this is the first time I’ve seen the website.”- Isabella Vlach

“I felt a little lost with making sure I had every single form I needed completed. There was so much information coming at me from so many different sources and even schools, and I didn’t know what to prioritize.”- Evie Shapiro

Applying to colleges is a major stressor for high school seniors, and the seniors at Apex High School are no exception. It can be a difficult and confusing process but a rewarding one come spring semester when applications are in, and many students have heard decisions back from the schools they applied to. Until then, however, the most important thing for seniors to do is to try their best and know that one way or another, a break is right around the corner.

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