Students stressed amid college application season

The best websites to use for college applications. (Graphic by Julissa Frausto)

As a result of the coronavirus, many colleges have had to make changes to their admission process including the adoption of a test-optional policy. Although this has been a game-changer for many, the college process on its own can be time consuming and stressful, especially in the midst of a pandemic. Students are constantly having to adapt to the new way of doing things. While the school continues to do its best to provide students with the resources necessary to make the transition from high school to college as seamless as possible, some students continue to struggle with the college admissions process.
With college application deadlines just around the corner, many students have begun to feel overwhelmed. For many students, they are the first to be attending college in their family, which makes it more difficult because they don’t have someone to guide them through the process. For instance, senior Herson Amaya, feels the admissions process has become increasingly “difficult, complicated and confusing because [he now has] to wait and schedule calls to get help” making it a lengthier process than before the pandemic when help was readily available.
“Applying for colleges amid the pandemic…has it’s pros and cons,” Senior Giovanny Barragan said. On one part, he feels the lack of teacher support that would normally surround students can have disastrous effects on students. However, he also feels that remote learning gives students more time to work on applications. Being in the comfort of your own home allows you to work on your college applications in the middle of the school day.
“I have felt a bit uncertain…,” said Barragan. “I always ask myself. Am I making the right choice? Should I even apply here? is it worth it?”
In spite of the freedom and flexibility they have from being home, this does not mean students have everything figured out. Like Barragan, many students are constantly questioning their decisions and trying to figure out what the next step is and whether or not they are on the right path.
Despite the increasing uncertainty amid the pandemic, many students have found ways to distract themselves from the stressful college admissions process and how to make the process manageable.
Senior Juan Jackson, advises students to “keep [their] options open to more than college.” Obsessing over attending one college can cause unnecessary stress because you are putting forth all your effort towards one institution. This can also result in overlooking other schools that might be perfect for you and could result in you overlooking the rest of your applications. Jackson also recommends taking “breaks and [doing] physical activity” to get your mind off college admissions and release some of the stress built up.
“Remember that there is time,” Barragan said. Really think it through, do you see yourself there for the next 4 years of your life…regular decisions are usually due until December 1st, that’s almost 1 month and a half away. Not only this, but also a way to de-stress is to just take virtual campus tours, and ask questions around. Having big networking apps people can [learn] a lot about a school through people’s experiences. Whatever it is, just remember to follow wherever your heart presides,”
While the pandemic has impacted the college admissions process, there are still resources available to students. Although you can no longer meet in person with your counselor, many of them are still offering virtual meetings. Take advantage of the resources available and ask for help whenever you need it. Also, schedule meetings and request necessary documents such as transcripts with time. Waiting last minute can reduce your chances of meeting a deadline. Doing things ahead of schedule can make the entire process less stressful. However, those struggling should immediately contact their counselor to get started. Remember that you’re not alone in this process even though it feels that way.