Long journey to college starts here


Ian Feld, Staff Writer

Senioritis usually begins to kick in around the beginning of second semester as the calendar turns and the next graduating class starts to count down the days until they’re out of high school. 

For many, the next step is college. Throughout their final year, students spend countless hours applying to schools and for scholarships in hopes that they’ll get into the school they want or get the financial aid they need. The only issue with this is that the amount of work required for applications can be overly stressful for seniors. 

“It takes a long time,” Cabria Shelton, senior, said of the process. “It’s definitely very demanding.”

Shelton applied to 15 schools and has been accepted into at least 10 of them, including her top choice, Rhodes College. Part of the reason she found the process so difficult was that it had to be completed around the school work she already had on her plate.

“I had a lot of long nights and early mornings,” Shelton said. “It’s hard to balance school work and applying to college.”

Leah Zukosky, senior, filled out applications for 13 different private liberal arts colleges. She, like Shelton, found the most challenging part of applying was balancing it with the responsibilities of school.

“I think that entire time of year is really difficult in general,” Zukosky said. “If you’re taking a lot of AP classes you have to do that work on top of applications.”

Simiarly, Folly Dotou, senior, found that the requirements for applying to college were stressful and time consuming. Dotou, who will be attending Rockhurst University in the fall, applied to six schools, including Calvin University, Missouri S & T and Westminster College, and was accepted into five of them.

“I probably could have applied to more,” Dotou said. “But the process is exhausting, especially when you start applying for scholarships.”

Many times the requirements for scholarships are even more demanding than the college applications. Most require essays or community service or other time-consuming activities. 

For instance, Andrew Immer, senior, applied to three colleges and will attend Kansas University. Immer also applied for seven scholarships and had to write essays on topics ranging from his reasons for attending the school to describing his goals.

“I thought the essays required a lot of time and effort to be put in,” Immer said. “It’s your first impression to the school; it can make or break your application.”

The competition between schoolwork and applying can make the process difficult to approach alone, especially since so much can rest on one essay. Madeleine Gibson, college advisor, is tasked with helping guide seniors through the whole ordeal, but with well over 100 seniors, the extent of her assistance can be limited. 

“I meet with every senior at least once during each semester, but I won’t walk anyone through the process unless they explicitly ask for it,” Gibson said. “I try to help equip people to fill out their applications, not do it for them.”

Applying to colleges is an undoubtedly stressful process, but the additional factors of schoolwork and in some cases, little help, makes it especially daunting. One solution would be to have time during the school year where seniors could take a break from their work and focus on this important aspect of moving on from high school. This could make applying to college more accessible for more students who might normally be intimidated by it.

“It would only be a couple days to a week,” Dotou said. “That alone could improve the process and make it less stressful for us.”