For Seniors, It’s the Most Stressful Time of the Year


Kassandra Marron, Co-sports editor

The most stressful time of the year is here for high school seniors: time to start applying to college.

A survey of 28 WHHS seniors conducted in October found that students have started the application process, but they still have a lot of work in front of them.

Visiting colleges is one of the most important things for a prospective college student to do. It gives the student the chance to feel what it is like on campus and if they will enjoy attending school and maybe living there for the next four or more years. When asked if they have visited any schools, 75% of the surveyed seniors answered yes, but only 14% of them visited more than four schools. The majority visited one or two schools.

Kayla Manion, a senior at West Haven High and one of the survey respondents, said she went to Florida and visited the University of Tampa and Nova Southeastern University.

“The application process was relatively easy because I did not procrastinate,” Manion said. “If you don’t wait until last minute to get everything done, it is not stressful. Just take the time to sit down and do it so you’re not rushing last minute.”

When asked if they have a list of schools to apply to, 86% of students surveyed answered that they do in fact have a list of schools they plan on applying to.

When it comes to applying to college, most schools use the common application. When asked if they know what the common application is, 86% said they know what it is.

Students have the choice to apply early decision, early action, or regular decision for schools. Some schools may have other choices, but those are the three main choices colleges present.

Applying early action allows colleges to see students applications early and make a decision earlier than if the student applied regular decision. Early decision is different than early action because early decision is a binding application, so if you get in you must go to that school. Applying early action gives you the choice to still choose to go elsewhere.

In this survey, half of students said they will be applying early action and the other half will be applying regular decision.

Manion said she applied early action for one college and will be applying regular decision for her other nine schools.

Recommendation letters are one of the most stressful things for students because they have to rely on their teachers to write them and get them uploaded before the application deadline. Most students have to constantly remind their teachers to write their letter and then send them to their schools.

Only 75% of students in this survey have asked their teachers to write their recommendation letters. Out of the 75%, only a quarter have their recommendation letters done and ready to submit to their colleges.

Some schools have students include a resume in their application. It is not surprising that 36% of the 28 respondents did not know how to create a resume.

Resumes are usually created when applying for a job and most high school students do not have a job, so they do not know how to create a resume. Luckily, Naviance has a section where all students need to do is insert their information and it will create a resume for them.

The essay is one of the most critical things students need for their college application. The essay is what sets one student apart from the next and gives the college a reason to take them over another student. It gives the student a chance to share something about themselves that makes them unique and a perfect candidate.

As of late October, only 52% of the respondents had finished their essay, even though it is one of the first assignments that seniors at West Haven High School do in their English class.

As a senior at West Haven High, Manion was able to do her essay in her English class. When asked if it helped she said it did because her teacher was able to give “constructive criticism and she helped me a lot with peer editing and making sure I was on the right track.”

For students applying to art schools, they may need to create a portfolio to send to the school. Fifty-seven percent of the respondents did not need to create a portfolio. However, out of the 43% that do, only 3.6% have done their portfolio.

Most schools are starting to become SAT/ACT optional but some schools still require it and others only require it for certain majors. Most public schools provide a free SAT for their juniors to take while they are in school. Every time after that they must pay for it on their own if they do not qualify for a fee waiver. Since all the respondents took the SAT in school, they answered if they had taken the ACT and only 14.3% hadn’t taken the test.

Manion said that she did not take the ACT, but she did take the SAT twice, scoring a 1040 the first time and improved for her second time scoring a 1170.

A part of applying to college is also applying for scholarships. It is not a requirement for any school and is mostly up to the student on whether they want scholarships or not. Seventy-one percent of respondents have not applied for any scholarships. It is typical for students not to apply to scholarships most students do not want to put in that work after all they did to apply.

A surprising 61% of survey respondents said they were not ready to apply for college. Manion shared that she is overall ready to apply to college making her part of the minority in this survey.

Perhaps it is because they are not ready to take that step of starting a new chapter, or they are nervous of the results they will receive from the colleges. Either way applying to college is a very stressful process and a big leap into a new world of responsibility and maturity.