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Seniors Stress Over Time-Intensive College Application Process

Throughout fall semester, seniors are plagued with the stress of college applications. In addition to the standard coursework, many seniors are bombarded with essays, interviews and emails regarding their next step in education.

As the school year gets started, seniors have their last chance to take the ACT and/or SAT in Sept. or Oct., respectively.

Senior JP Liban said, “In order to create my list of 11 colleges, I did some research and went on the East Coast College tour.”

Many of the seniors create their list after attending one of the various college tours offered by Loyola in their junior year.

Senior Cesar Melendez said, “My counselor pushed me to have a good balance between schools, and I went on the California College Tour. I saw more than half the schools on my list when I was on the tour.”

Seniors have the option of applying to their colleges of choice through early action or early decision. Most of those applications were due in early Nov., and the results are currently being released.

Early action, or EA, is a non-binding application, meaning that seniors may apply to as many other universities as they want.

Seniors who apply early decision, or ED, can only apply to that one university. If accepted, that student must attend that university. There are three possible results of ED: accepted, denied, or deferred. If deferred, students are automatically put into the regular pool. Students who are accepted to their early decision college must attend.

Early decision, early action and regular decision all have set deadlines. Some universities have rolling admission. In rolling admission, colleges have about a 6-month admission period in which the sooner the students submit their applications, the sooner they get their response.

A major source of stress for seniors is college essays. These essays often take countless drafts and revisions. The Common Application, which hundreds of colleges use, has one essay. The Common App essay is 650 words and allows applicants, regardless of background or access to counseling, a chance to share themselves and their stories.

Liban said, “I started the Common App essay in the session over the summer, which really helped.”

Many students choose to plan ahead and spread out their time when working on and editing their essays.

Melendez said, “I spent a solid three nights on it. In general, do everything ahead of time because you will regret not spreading it out.”

Seniors stress about personal essays and leaving an accurate depiction of themselves. Students find that making a good first impression is difficult without sounding arrogant.

Senior Jesse Hernandez said, “Don’t be afraid to show people your essays. Get the exposure and get eyes on it because it will only help. Be open and don’t be embarrassed about what you write, it’s your story. Listen to your counselors and make sure they read it.”

In addition to the Common App essay, many schools require supplemental essays. These essays only add to the college application stress.

Another stressor in the college application process is the interviews. Many schools, mainly the highly selective ones, require interviews from the applicants. These interviews are used to get to know the prospective students beyond their essays.

Liban said, “I had an interview for Georgetown. I was really nervous for it, but I think it went well.”

To accommodate for the lengthy, rigorous college application process, many seniors sacrifice sleep.

Senior Tommy Sanchez said, “On a good night, I would get about five hours of sleep. For the most part, I would get around three hours of sleep each night this year.”


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