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College application and essay stress

Ali Lo, Editor

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College applications— the two most stressful words that someone can say to a high school senior. In addition to representing a new chapter in these students’ lives, college applications are synonymous with hours of hard work and— many times— tears.

Kane Vu, senior, said, “The most stressful part for me is just knowing that I have to live alone next year, assuming that I even get into college.”

Students often attend classes and hire tutors before taking either the SAT, ACT or both. Furthermore, students often take the tests multiple times, trying to boost their scores to allow their college wish list to transform into their list of college acceptance letters. The stress from these tests often culminate in tears and panicked finsta posts in ungodly hours of the morning.

In addition to spending endless hours studying for the SAT and ACT, students must spend months writing the perfect 650-words-or-less essays that capture who they are: their personality, their obstacles, their dreams. One may believe that they are worth more than 650 words, according to the college admission gods, he or she is very wrong. If that was not enough, the student has about 3.2 seconds to capture the gatekeepers’ attention before they are skipped over.

Christine Na, senior, said, “I wrote eight different essays, and they all suck. College apps suck.”

Students must be charismatic AND capture their personalities in 650 words: a truly Sisyphean task!

Rayli Foley, senior, said, “I’d say the hardest part of the college applications is making sure that you’re including details that represents who you are as a person.”

Furthermore, most colleges require applicants to respond to supplemental essays and short answer questions. Colleges can have one, two, up to 11 (thanks, Stanford) short answer questions.
A very hopeful student may believe that colleges would be nice enough to all use the same application mediator. Well, the college admissions gods do not like to make it easy. Although many colleges are on the Common Application, a few such as the University of Washington are on the Coalition Application. Furthermore, some schools have their own application.

Sarah Chow, senior, said, “I’m so stressed. I’m too scared to even start.”

But perhaps the gatekeepers have a good reason for making the application process so difficult. If a student puts in the hours of sweat and tears to complete their school’s application, the school can be sure that the student is devoted to attending their institution.

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College application and essay stress