Reflections: The Anxiety of College Application Season

A Glimpse of the Life of a Senior

Sydney Peet, Staff Reporter

Fall and winter of senior year – notoriously a time of writing application essays and deciding on which major to apply to. All around the country, high school seniors are grappling with the seesaw between adolescence and adulthood. These students have been preparing for this time since entering high school, so what’s the endless anxiety for?

Well, I can’t speak for other students, but I can testify to the assault of emotions I have been feeling since senior year began. I thought I was so prepared to apply to schools and take off running from high school, but as my deadlines are fast approaching, I am left feeling listless and unsure. How do I know if my countless hours studying for the SAT will pay off? How can I know if the classes I took were rigorous enough to get into competitive schools? How do I know if my GPA is high enough? Like so many others, I am left wondering if I prepared myself enough to be accepted to an elite university. As a middle schooler, I pictured the admissions process quite simply: tell the school you want to go there, show them your grades, and wait for the scholarships to pile up. Now that I am actual applying to schools, I can see clearly how wrong I was.

The application process is not a click and you’re done – it’s days writing and rewriting your Common Application essay, scrapping what you have and starting again, spending weeks revising and editing your supplemental essays. Not only do you have to challenge your writing abilities describing why you’d like to go to a certain school, but you also have to sum up who you are and what drives you in less than 500 words. I can now appreciate the efforts of all the years of studying and choosing challenging curriculum, as they prepared me for the grueling process of applying to colleges. But, to put it simply: applying to college is not a breeze.

At this point in my college admissions process, I have yet to find a place I feel truly called to. I have toured a few schools, and spent countless hours researching others and conducting online tours, but still have not decided on a place to spend the next four years of my life. Every day that passes only adds to the sinking feeling in my stomach: one less day to find the school and to apply. I feel like my head is stuck underwater; each passing day I can briefly look up to recognize that, yes, my head is in a toilet bowl, before the next round of endless swirlies onsets.

However, one thing I have learned through this process is to trust your training. Afterall, I have been preparing for this since day one of high school. In times where I doubt myself, I no longer delete my in-progress applications, I tap into my confidence. Yes, I can write a killer essay. Yes, I can show the colleges I’m ready to attend their prestigious universities.

I have spent years dreaming about applying to college, but now that it is happening, I sometimes find myself distraught. Soon, my fondest memories of high school will slip from my grasp, joining the coterie of elementary memories – playing in the grass at soccer practice, chasing my friends through the school gymnasium playing Halloween Tag. And it is hard, but I am learning to accept this fact. I am soaking in every bad joke my friends make, every incident we almost crash the car, and every bad movie we watch. After all, high school is just a few short years of our lives, the “good ole days” we will tell future generations about. Applying to college has helped me work through my problems, find the best online proofreading systems, and learn to appreciate the time I spend with my peers. This is our last chance to make mistakes, to take risks, and to spend time with one another.

Our futures lie just one application away…