Excess Stress

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Seniors need to stop worrying about the wrong things when it comes to college applications

The University Prep college counselors think that seniors are stressing about things they shouldn’t be.

According to college counselors Britten Nelson and Kelly Herrington, students stress about their dream school incorrectly. “The focus shouldn’t be so much about ‘getting-into’ college, but instead about enjoying the journey along the way. This time in a senior’s life should be exciting and fun, not stressful and overwhelming,” Nelson said.

All UPrep students go through the college process and get into at least one school. Students often forget that they will get into college. There are reasons that the counselors have every student apply to reach schools, likely schools and safety schools.  The counselors make sure every senior will be accepted to college, even if it’s not necessarily their dream school.

Senior Julie Huang is extremely focused on one school. She finds the process challenging because she isn’t planning on applying to a lot of schools. This is because she knows that there isn’t a lot of opportunity to get into her ideal school. “I think I’m different because I have one main college I want to apply to and everything else I don’t give a crap about,” Huang said.

It’s understandable that students have a top choice, but it is not the end of the world if they don’t go there.

“Kelly and I recommend colleges to students. A lot of the time, students have never heard of them because they’re small or not in a popular location. Because of that students think, ‘Well I’ve never heard of it and because of that it must not be good,’” Nelson said.

Students focus on the top one percent of colleges, the most prestigious and popular schools in the nation. They get overwhelmed about things that the counsellors say they shouldn’t be. Students disagree, saying that their stress is legitimate considering how massive the process is. Some seniors even believe that their stress has overshadowed their excitement in the college search.

Seniors such as Hannah Klein don’t know where they want to go and have found that the task of creating a list has been one of the more challenging parts. “Difficulty comes from finishing the applications of the schools that you don’t know you are applying to. Especially those added to your list in October or November; that’s when things get challenging,” Klein said.

For seniors it’s not only about deciding where they want to go. They also complain about being constantly overwhelmed with balancing school work while still finishing their applications. Senior Jennifer Wen says that the stress of completing her applications has become unmanageable. “The process is super stressful. Preparing for the tests and getting the test scores up high enough. Not to mention writing supplements are horribly time consuming. I’ve had to choose between school stuff and college stuff, which results in college stuff getting left behind,” Wen said.

However, Herrington says that if seniors work on their applications for just two hours a week they’ll be just fine when the application deadlines come around. Seniors all over the country are applying to colleges in record numbers. It’s clearly not an impossible task if nearly 20 million students across the United States are applying every year.

Seniors who are really overwhelmed might have not done enough work over the summer or may have procrastinated too much. “I think seniors stress out about the sheer volume of tasks that need to be accomplished. Although it can quickly get overwhelming, it can also be very manageable if handled appropriately,” Nelson said.

Students love to complain about workload, Herrington believes that the perceived reality and the actual reality of the college process are different beasts. “It’s common for students to complain about college applications just because it is something that they are all going through, whether they are worried about it or not it’s just a common part of conversation,” Herrington said.

The College Counseling office is working hard to minimize stress and keep students on track to finish college applications. They strongly believe that students need to trust that the process will all work itself out in the end. “It is mine and Kelly’s job to make sure that we find a home for you next year that is a good fit and if you follow our advice we will make sure that you do,” Nelson said.

By Melissa Funes