As the seniors of 2021 continue on the college journey, many are feeling the pressure build up. Deadlines have passed and others are getting closer. College searches, applications, scholarships, FAFSA, and tours are all going on at the same time, along with navigating distance learning.
Classes are difficult already, but having to take them online and do all of the college prep on your own, students are struggling. Many students are taking their own paths to apply to college and not receiving as much guidance from counselors or teachers due to being online and not being able to talk in person.
“The most difficult part is knowing what college will benefit you the most and get you where you want to be. The application process was easy, but kind of hard to figure out with not much help from a counselor [because of distance learning],” senior Caelyn Weathers said.
Another big concern about choosing a college is the cost. Many colleges offer discounts along with financial aid. Senior Cheyenna Pratt focused her college searches on an affordable college that was also online. This was the most stressful part of the college search for her, which many other students face. Not all students feel comfortable getting loans that lead to student debt or have had the chance to save up enough money to send themselves to college.
“I have finished turning in five college applications and don’t plan on doing more. I would say the most important parts of choosing a college is the location, the degrees they offer, and cost,” senior Andrew Hokanson said.
For students who applied to early action deadlines, most have already heard if they were accepted or rejected. Students also chose to complete applications before the normal deadline, and they still have a few months to get their results. This can cause a lot of stress waiting to hear if you got into your dream college or not.
“It makes me stressed as I am running out of time or am behind as other people have already committed. At the moment I don’t feel like I am running out of time because I have already committed, but before I definitely felt rushed and that I was running out of time,” Weathers said.
Along with these pressures that are deadlines and choosing the right place for you, there are also pressures from family and friends. This can make it even harder on the student.
“I felt the most pressure from my parents while I was finishing applications. They kept nagging me to just get them done with. I don’t feel any pressure seeing other seniors already choosing colleges because I still haven’t gotten my own letters of admission back (I did regular application instead of early action). If I had some colleges already accept me then I might feel some pressure to start choosing,” Hokanson said.
It can also be overwhelming constantly getting college flyers and packets in the mail along with emails everyday of the week from colleges or scholarship websites. It can be a reminder of how far behind you are or the fact that you haven’t heard back from the college.
“The most stressful part is I feel like it all moves so fast and deadlines pile up on you so fast and it can be hard to get motivated to do them and apply for scholarships. It’s like a full time job,” Weathers said.
There is so much pressure that goes with applying and choosing colleges. Of course you have to apply before the deadline and apply for scholarships, but you also have the pressure from other students committing to colleges and any pressure from parents. All of this creates a lot of stress for students while they are trying to get good grades for the last year of high school.