Apply yourself

Seniors reflect on the college application process, leave advice for underclassmen

senior wall

Class of 2015 college acceptances are posted along with senior photos on the wall outside of the Gear Up Lab.

When senior Abi Trent started her senior year, she soon realized she wished she had stared her college search process earlier.

“I didn’t start until September of this year, which was a mistake,” Trent said. “That’s the reason I didn’t apply to very many schools. I have this small radius, and I really only knew about a few.”

Starting earlier would have given her a wider range of colleges to choose from, Trent said.

“It’s just really about getting an early start,” Trent said. “I wish I had more time to do more research, but it is what it is. Start looking early and make your decisions. First think about what you want to do, and then search for colleges that have that as an option.”

When senior Nick Yeager applied early to Brown University and was deferred, he wished someone had encouraged him to be strong.

“Prepare yourself,” Yeager said. “Get your ideas together and try to be ready to show yourself to colleges. It’s a lot of work, so push through it. The biggest myth is that it’s actually challenging work, I think it’s just a lot of time-consuming work.”

In her college search, senior Mara Wagnon found that the best way to start the process is by looking for schools that work for you.

“Think about what’s going to work best for money reasons and locations and stuff like that,” Wagnon said. “If you don’t know what college you want to go to, you might start with the ones that are closest to you, but definitely don’t wait until the last minute.”

Yeager said the counselors here made getting help the easiest part of the process.

“I had to talk to Ms. Josephson a lot to figure out what to send in, and she was helpful,” Yeager said. “And Ms. Nitardy was helpful with questions I had and stuff like that.”

Seniors are assigned a college essay assignment in the fall during their English classes.

“It’s really just answering personal questions,” Trent said, “and it’s not hard to answer those because you know it. They’re not that bad. It’s easier than in-school essays because it’s so much about yourself.”

Wagnon agrees that the essays are not as difficult as they seem.

“The essays are the hardest part,” Wagnon said. “And they’re not that hard. To me it was on par with writing an SAT test-type of writing.”

Trent said the light workload of senior year classes makes it easier to focus on college applications.

“As a senior you do not get as much homework at all as previous years,” Trent said. “Personally, I’ve taken it as an opportunity to work more on my artwork and try to do more things that I wouldn’t be able to do if I was doing so much schoolwork.”

Yeager said as his focus is shifted to his future, his class load became lighter.

“I know that I’m into one good school, so it’s a little harder to stay motivated and focused,” Yeager said. “I feel like it’s not good. I definitely don’t care as much. But senior year really isn’t as hard, especially this semester, so it’s kind of like I’m not as motivated and the classes aren’t as motivating, so it’s fine.”

Now that Trent has committed to the University of Texas, she has advice to give to next year’s senior class.

“The biggest myth about applying to college is that you have to be positive and know exactly what you want,” Trent said. “College is college, and I think you’re going to have a fun time no matter where you go. Wherever you go, you can make whatever you want of it.”

As he prepares for graduation, Yeager leaves advice for future seniors.

“Just know that any school would be fine,” Yeager said. “College is what you make of it, so even if you don’t go to your top choice school, be open and don’t take everything too seriously. It’s just college, you know?”

 

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