The Tension of Applying

Michelle Lega, Copy Editor

Many seniors are feeling the stress as college application deadline dates approach. These applications require a list of extra curriculars, sports, classes, transcripts, and one or more essays. Though the application process may seem straightforward, it’s full of confusing questions. Most colleges are switching to online applications to streamline the process but unfortunately, this can complicate things. It’s hard to sort through the different sections of the application without it all laid out in front of you.

Each section of the application asks for the applicant to fill in many details without being specific about what exactly to write. I’ve had trouble filling out my GPA and such because the application isn’t specific whether it’s the cumulative GPA including this year so far, or just last year’s GPA. It also asks for a class rank, which West does not have. I’m worried that by leaving that blank, application reviewers will think my application is unfinished.

The most confusion comes with the secondary school report along with teacher recommendations. The Common Application online allows the applicant to e-mail his or her counselor to fill out a recommendation form. This also includes a way to attach transcripts digitally. I’m not sure if the school has this capability or if I still have to turn in transcript request forms. Also, the application does not say whether the transcripts should be official or not, or whether the college requires an end-of-the-year transcript.

The essay is the most important aspect of the application and it is also the vaguest. For the Common Application, which is accepted at many colleges, the essay prompt is broad. In fact, the applicant can essentially write about anything. The prompt gives a general list of six things the applicant could write about, but it also gives the option of writing about anything of importance. This makes it hard to narrow down the exact topic and to create an acceptable essay. Because I have no experience writing college essays, I have no clue what to write about or how academic my essay should be.

These problems can make any senior go crazy. The added pressure of extra-curricular activities, senior research paper and AP classes can make for a hectic senior year. Whoever coined the phrase “senioritis” didn’t know what they were talking about; senior year is the busiest and most stressful year.