Wake up, juniors, to the realities of the college admissions process

Sophia McLain

Inspired by Suzy Lee Weiss’s article, “To (All) the Colleges That Rejected Me.”

Sure, high school is a stressful and (sometimes) confusing time for many, teens are figuring out what they are passionate about, who they are (and who are not) their true friends, and, oh right,  I almost forgot the most important one: deciding what they want to do with their lives. Yeah, so I guess high school is rough but add that to the fast-approaching college admission process for the juniors and you’ve got yourself burnt out, overworked, anxiety consumed, and caffeine dependent adolescents. That’s super healthy.

But as much as it sucks to deal with *literally* life changing issues at 17 it is just a part of the high school experience. So here is a wake up call for any junior, or for that matter- underclassperson, who wants to get ahead of the chaos. This is coming from a senior who has a major case of senioritis mixed with perfectionistic tendencies which creates a beautiful concoction of procrastination and anxiety. Hear it from me, folks. Do not get behind, you really want to listen to these tips for a smooth senior year.

  1. Get involved: yeah, yeah- we have all heard this before but trust me this is important. You can come up with the best essay ever to send to colleges but if that is supported with little to no service or extracurricular activities then you can kiss your Ivy League dream goodbye (I am sorry but honesty is what will get you far). Preferably you will be involved long before your junior year begins but it’s never too late to pick up that ball and head to the court, or maybe even right down to your local animal shelter to volunteer with the animals.
  2. Come up with the best essay ever: all I will say is if you need help with this then do yourself a favor and jump right on over to my friend Allison Berg’s article. She’s got you covered. https://bellarminelion.com/features/2022/11/16/calling-future-and-current-seniors-lets-talk-college-essays/
  3. Don’t stress (too much): Yes. I know. I am contradicting everything I have just said but listen it’s all about balance. You should be concerned about your future because it is important, but also take the time to breathe because you have one shot at high school and should enjoy the times spent with friends and family. There are more productive ways of spending your time, and stress is not one of them, which leads me to my fourth and final point.
  4. Take a deep look at yourself and reassess: All your years of schooling have led up to this point and all the hours studying, taking tests, and writing essays have prepared you for your biggest academic adjustment yet: college. Be honest with yourself, are you applying to a college for bragging rights? The cool school colors? Maybe even the name? I cannot say I am not guilty of one or two of these things *shhhhh,*  but it takes an honest assessment of your goals, how you learn best, and what you wish to get from college to truly know where you are supposed to go. “You will end up where you are meant to go.” Said my mother and every other parent of a senior ever. But the sentiment is nice to remember. Yes the reality of being rejected by your dream college is scary but the fact is that you will end up gaining so many life experiences, bits of knowledge, and life long friends at the college you end up at, so enjoy the process (easier said than done).

So yes while this might be a bit harsh, it’s true. Get involved, be present in your schoolwork, learn to accept the realities of the college admission process, and thank me later, you future presidents, teachers, and maybe even aerospace engineers.

Photo courtesy of:http://www.milwaukeeindependent.com/syndicated/college-admission-scandal-reveals-fundamental-crisis-american-society/