By: Elizabeth A., Teen Blogger
With the start of this school year, many teenagers are beginning their senior year of high school, which often brings up different thoughts and emotions.
While some people are counting down the days until graduation, others are hoping that the remainder of their high school days will go by slowly because that means more time for college applications. Senior year is definitely a busy year that helps to transition into a new and exciting stage of life. One thing is for sure, the application process can be daunting and stressful for many people.
As my older sister was in the middle of the college application process two years ago, I remember her spending many late nights working on her application and countless essays for the 11 schools she was applying to. Going into my senior year, I’m hoping that my college application process is not as exasperating as hers was, and I hope that by being the second child in my family to go through the application process, it will be less daunting. Like many of my friends and other incoming seniors I’ve talked to, I’m looking forward to the college application process, and I’ll be excited when I start to hear back from the schools that I’ve applied to. I’ve gone on a few different campus visits, including Notre Dame, Miami of Ohio, and Northwestern, and I am just beginning to seriously work on the Common App and the essays that go along with the application.
Looking back at the various campus tours I’ve done, I would definitely recommend that you start touring colleges relatively early in your high school career. I think end of sophomore year or junior year is definitely the prime time to begin college tours because that way you can look at schools with an open mind that is not too overwhelmed with ACTs and other standardized tests. It’s also important to make sure you visit different sizes and locations of campuses because that will allow you to get an idea of what you actually want by seeing different options.
I know for me it is important for schools to be strong in academics, and being a competitive figure skater, it is a requirement that any potential schools have an ice rink that is easily accessible or on campus. By making a list of my priorities, such as these, which I have for colleges, I feel that it’s easier to pick schools to look at and apply to. After visiting schools, I would recommend making a list of the pros and cons of the different campuses because it’s often difficult remembering specifics about schools when you’ve visited lots of various colleges. Even perusing through books and college websites can help to begin the college search process for those wanting to start early or anyone looking to work on the college process from the comfort of home.
As you get started with the application process, it’s extremely important to be proactive in asking questions to the right people, so you have time to get the right answers. Don’t procrastinate in filling out applications and writing scholarship essays because you’re going to have to do them eventually. In fact, your senior year will probably be more enjoyable and slightly more relaxed if you’re proactive and zealous with the entire application process. After completing the applications and waiting to hear back from schools, take the time to think about and prioritize what you’re really looking for in a school. Talk with current students or alumni of the various schools you’re looking at, and work with family, friends, and teachers to help you make a decision once you’ve heard back from all of your schools.
To sum up, I believe that the college search and application process can be stressful, but it’s important to prioritize your time and reflect on what you envision for yourself in the future. Although I haven’t had the perfect moment on a college campus, I think it’s exciting to realize that all of us will have that moment where we discover where we will spend the next years of our lives. Take the time to enjoy your application and searching process while having a successful and fun senior year of high school.