Together through the college process

Together through the college process

Illustration by Alexa Druyanoff

With the end of first quarter approaching in early November, school is officially back in full swing. As the community settles into its normal routine, students’ workloads pile up higher and higher. Every year, seniors are forced to quickly adjust to courses and classmates as the endless wave of assessments and homework assignments flood their minds. But above all, seniors feel the intense pressure to produce a flawless transcript before the Early Decision deadline. This is because a significant aspect of our senior experience is dedicated to building interesting resumés and trying to cram in good grades as the year is getting started.

Currently, sophomores are adjusting to life at the upper school and learning how the new AP limit, which will be implemented next year, will affect their applications. Juniors are in the midst of standardized test preparation while gearing up for the intense year ahead of them. Finally, seniors are rushing to finish supplemental essays and personal statements as the Nov. 1 early application deadline sneaks up behind them. Wherever students are in the process, it is necessary that everyone remains honest with both each other and themselves. While this ideal may seem simple enough, the importance of maintaining positive attitudes and interactions during what is seemingly the most stressful few years of our education cannot be stressed enough. Negativity will only bring about more unnecessary anxiety.

When looking at the positives, the most obvious one is that no student is alone. Every student is involved in this seemingly never-ending application journey, and everyone understands the stress and anxiety associated with the process. Since the community is more sympathetic to these stresses, it is important not to take advantage of the trusting and supportive environment by being hyper-competitive.

Since practically every one of our peers is overwhelmed by the stress of first quarter, it is unfair to lie about the process in order to mislead classmates. We are all aware of the genuine fear that comes with choosing the college that fits us best, but we should not allow the fear of competition and college-related stress to negatively impact our student-to-student relationships.

If students are honest with how they feel during the process, then they will be supported by their peers in return. It is important that friends help friends by staying positive, regardless of whichever school they are interested in; just because one college does not appeal to a particular student does not mean the institution is lesser than another. Being supportive of other people’s choices and decisions is key during this stressful time in our lives.

This is most important when friends are applying to the same schools. When two students are both looking to be accepted into the same college, the outcome is not a reflection of someone’s capabilities or worth. We should ensure that we lift each other up in this process and not compare statistics, grades and extracurriculars for personal peace of mind. The college process should not be about going to a university featured in the U.S. News Ranking but about finding a school that is the right match for each individual.

We understand that it is hard to maintain a positive and supportive attitude during this stressful period, but in the long run, this mindset will foster stronger relationships as the application process comes to a close.

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