“Overwhelming.” That is one of the first words that senior Josh Adan could come up with about college and the application process, adding, “So much to do, so many requirements.” Adan described juggling between clubs, classes, family obligations, and work. As a “first generation immigrant, my parents expect a lot from me.” Adan says his mom especially pressures him to be good in school. Adan is a part of the Leo’s club, helping to organize the senior prom through ASB, a part of 10,000 Degrees, and an employee at Starbucks where he got employee of the month- to name a few of his extracurriculars.
Paula Nichols, the college and career adviser in the CCC, chuckled and described how when she was a senior she only applied for one college. Apparently this is probably true for most in her generation. “Ask your parents; most people applied to one and got in.” Janet Abbott, the Heads Up College Consultant in the CCC, agrees that the process of applying for college and the process leading up to that has changed since she applied for college. Abbott went to Stanford and then Berkley for her MBA . “There were no AP classes in my school of 4,000 students. Students are way more stressed… It’s more competitive with more people applying and lower acceptance rates.” Nichols described that a popular decision among seniors is taking the transfer path. This means taking a year to go to a public college, community college, or just not the college on the top of one’s list, then transferring into another college, private or otherwise, after freshman or sophomore year. Nichols even described that “the public school system is built to help transfer students” who take this path. Another senior who is applying to college, Alexa Honsberger, is “already committed so I was dreading it more than stressing.” She applied to three UCs and three private colleges and said the application process was definitely difficult because “the resources are out there you just have to be self motivated to utilize them.”
Additionally, Adan says the CCC was very helpful, especially Janet Abbott who was “a great resource because of all of her experience.” At the CCC, they lend out practice SAT tests, SAT books, and practice application questions. Abbott’s advice to keep your sanity while applying to college is to start early, really early. “Start touring as soon as you can and don’t leave all your applications to the last minute.”
Adan also mentioned the “well rounded student” when talking about college: “Colleges are looking for straight A’s and all this extra stuff to be ‘unique.’” The idea that as students, we should aspire to meet specific requirements to be the perfect student so that we can get into the perfect college and have the perfect family is becoming less prominent in modern america. Because really what is success? It is different for everyone. Most students who were asked immediately answered “to be happy” as a goal for later in life. Yet most also had “completed college” as part of their ten year plan. It’s funny how we always think of college as a given. However, for some students it is not.
Senior Nathanael Hanken hasn’t taken the SATs and has not visited the CCC, but that does not mean he doesn’t have plans. After high school his plan is to have a job in music production after attending COM. Hanken admitted he felt some stress from others to apply for college but not from his parents who are very supportive. To all of the college applicants out there, Hanken says, “college is important but don’t stress too much about it.”
Finally, whether you are going to college or not, no matter what decision you make, “don’t feel pressured to go to a college because of it’s popularity, don’t let others influence your decision too much.” articulated Honsberger. Abbott also stressed this point; “You have to find the best college for you not your parents or anyone else because ultimately, you are going to that college and it will be your college experience.”
All in all, students need to realize that the college path is definitely beneficial, but is not necessarily the best choice for everyone. However these are the types of decisions you learn to make in adulthood; ones that are in your best interest and are completely your own. So seniors, don’t stress too much- no matter what you decide, try to make the decision that makes you happy. Remember to breathe and good luck!