Senior Szn - Laetitia Haddad

College Is Coming...

          The seasons are changing. Amid falling foliage and crisp autumn weather, a time of great transition approaches: the college process. Though the senior class has been thinking of college for a while, application deadlines blow in like a sudden cold front, brisk and uneasy. Early Action or Regular Decision, ACT or SAT, breakdown in tears or push through with lots of caffeine: these choices unravel before us as the days grow darker, earlier. 

          Amid this time of angst, try not to worry too much: you are not alone. Applying to college is a completely human process. And so, this article is dedicated to the very real stories of seniors conquering the college process in their own unique ways. Below, three seniors - Tori Carr, Max Vallerand-Parisi, and Joe Jafari - shed light on their experiences. 

          Stress is a common theme, recurring like a nightmare. Tori remarks that she is, “a little bit stressed out because I have so many deadlines at the same time.” Max agrees, but says that his anxiety stems from the fact that he “hasn’t started yet.” On the contrary, Joe is a bit more of an optimist. He states that he is “more stressed about results, and less about actually applying.” 

          Balancing homework and applications is a tough task, and as the first semester of senior year is punctuated by college deadlines, pressure is always lurking. Tori notes that her earliest deadline was on “October 15th. Technically, it wasn’t due until later because the Common App crashed and they extended it.”           The Common Application, quite literally a “common application” for a variety of colleges and universities, was created in 1975. It consolidates background, family, and testing questions into one profile and lets students easily access the abundant supplemental essays they must complete alongside their main personal statement. Max enlightens us with a pro-tip about applying to college: “don’t procrastinate doing your applications!” Tori recommends writing the common application essay over the summer to deter procrastination from taking on a snowball effect: building up, gaining speed, and destroying everything in its path. 

          “Standardized testing” is a phrase that, when announced in a room of teenagers, has the same effect as screaming “fire” in a crowd: there is widespread emotional chaos. Despite this, a strange affiliation is aquired for whichever test a student has taken over and over again, either the SAT, or the ACT - one of these tests becomes the lesser of two evils. Of the three seniors interviewed, all of them took and preferred the SAT. This follows the nationwide norm, as over 7.8 million students took the SAT during the 2017-2018 school year. To contrast, only about 2.08 million students sat for the ACT in that timeframe. Though both are standardized tests, the SAT and ACT differ slightly with regards to the knowledge they examine. For example, the SAT has Math, English, and Reading sections, and the ACT has an added Science section. 

          Seniors have a sense of solidarity with one another, as there is a lot to complain about when applying to college. Tori tries to talk to her parents, but “they applied to college a long time ago… so they don’t really understand. I rant to my friends because they do understand.” Max finds himself in the same boat, and says that, “when I vent about applications, my parents yell at me..  my friends are like, same.” To cope with stress, Joe remarks that seniors should “talk about it… don’t keep it in.” On top of vocalizing his stress to his friends and family members, Max notes that he finds solace in “playing ping pong in the senior lounge.” Tori faces her work head on like a realist. She states that she likes to do her “homework first… I like to focus on the imminent problems I have. I’ll do all my homework assignments first and save all of my college stuff for last.”

          Hopefully, being accepted into a first choice college is what will make this frenzy of applications worthwhile. Both Max and Tori say that they are most excited about getting into college and taking the next steps in their academic careers. The notion of starting fresh and being “self-dependent”, as Joe states, is a good part of this big, somewhat chaotic change. For Tori, “the idea of being able to plan my life and make my future life decisions is super fun”, and she is happy to seek out new experiences and explore different places. At the end of the long, bitter stretch of fall and winter blooms the promise of something invigorating, fresh, and new: a college acceptance.