The College Process


As the year winds to a close, many seniors have been making college decisions and reflecting on their experience with the college process.


Starting midway through their high school experience,  it is recommended that students start visiting colleges in order to find schools they might be interested in applying to.


“The best piece of advice I was given was probably to visit the schools and just pick what felt like the best pick for me, and not just to focus on where other people wanted me to go, but where I wanted to go,” senior Ansley McCoy said.


In the summer before senior year, students are required to write their Common Application essay, finish the Common Application and fill out their resumé. It is also recommended that students write any other essays and finish other applications, but few actually do, which creates a hectic school year.


“I spent the summer really concerned about my Common App essay,” senior Emily Edwards said. “Don’t get me wrong, that’s important, but there were so many more essays that I didn’t realize I needed to write. I would definitely say to look up the supplements you need and to look up the scholarships if you’re applying for scholarships.”


Many schools require additional essays, which found many students writing upward of 10 essays.


“There seems like there is a lot of red tape; a lot of stuff that is unnecessary. I didn’t like writing the essays,” senior Jack McClain said. “I thought that was kind of dumb, especially when the applications would require like three essays, it seemed kind of silly.”


Throughout the whole college process, students recommend taking advantage of the support of the College Guidance Office.


“I wish I had known how helpful Mrs. Crawford was at the very beginning,” McCoy said. “I didn’t build that close of a relationship with her until this year, and she’s been really helpful throughout the process.”


Another important part of the process is picking teachers to write teacher recommendations. It’s important to note that most teachers have to write several recommendations, so students should ask early and be kind.


“I think it surprised me to know that with the teacher recommendations how it’s not just us who have to do a lot,” senior Jacqueline Cline said. “The teachers who write our recommendations are having to write all about us and trying to sell us too. I didn’t really know that they had to do just as much as we did because we had to write essays and they had to write our letters.”


But it’s not just the actual applications that cause stress. Applying for scholarships and financial aid also place a lot of strain on seniors.


Spring of my junior year, as I was getting ready to fill out college applications and write my essay, I thought the entire process would be simple and revolve only around the direct applications for the schools I chose to apply to,” senior Ishani Desai said. “However, as I entered fall of my senior year, I came to learn that there were a lot more essays and applications beyond the basic application within each school because of various scholarships and programs that were offered separately. Though these added a lot of time and work to the process, I am really glad I gave all of them a shot because they all offer great benefits that are definitely worth trying for.”


It is also important to remember that things might not always work out like expected, so students should think of a Plan B and apply to many colleges that they are interested in.


“Deciding was really hard because where I thought I wanted to go, it didn’t all work out, so I had to come up with a Plan B,” senior Mary Anna Fricks said. “It was the plan that I didn’t think I would like it to be.”


Though the whole college process take a lot of time and causes a lot of stress, students are typically satisfied by the end of it.


“Choosing a college was stressful, especially because my schools let me know their decision a lot later than most people’s,” senior Anna Kate Roberts said. “Now that it’s over, I’m relieved and happy, very happy.”