Seniors battle college application stress

Aayushi Datta, Podcast Editor

Seniors applying to college is a usually chaotic process. Students spend an entire year of ups and downs where each student experiences both tension and happiness.

Applying to college adds extra pressure on students because students consider it an opportunity towards their desired future.

“It’s been really stressful, and I think that’s just because it’s that pressure of ‘this is your future.’ You only get one shot at it, so you really want to make sure that you put your best foot forward and get the best qualifications as well,” said Esha Saraswat, senior. 

The OHS counseling department gives students tremendous support for the overwhelming process of applying to college. The department  provides students with opportunities to find guidance during this time. 

“It’s a lot of pressure but we do our very best to help the seniors apply and help them get into schools. We have lots of resources in the counseling office for them. They can email us, they can come in; we have presentations that we do for the seniors,” said Tracy Heath, counselor. 

Timing is an important factor for many applicants during the process. Last minute deadlines have proven to be an inconvenience for people involved in the admission process. 

“I think the most difficult thing counselors face during the college application process is when students ask us late for the process of recommendation letters. So we do have a process when students ask us for recommendation letters. Normally, we give them a form, sort of like a brag letter. We want them to fill out this letter and brag all about them[selves],” Heath said. “If the students give us a day, it’s not enough time. We need time.” 

The application process can weigh on a student’s mental health, and their confidence. However, students have been able to get through this phase with a support system by their side. 

“You have a lot of self-doubt. You think, what if I am not good enough for them? What if I get rejected? It just makes you doubt yourself, makes you think maybe your accomplishments weren’t enough,” Saraswat said. “I have been able to get through that kind of thing because of the people who I have with the support system.” 

Although a regular college application process is stressful, applying to the service academies like the Air Force Academy can be even more exhausting. The Air Force Academy is a full-ride scholarship program, making it highly competitive. There is a required nomination process, with authorized nominating entities like the president and members of congress being able to nominate potential candidates.  Other than the nomination and application, cadet-hopefuls need to undergo medical and physical tests as well.

“It’s really extensive. There [are] a lot of interviews that go into it. Interviews with people that are in the military, people that went to the academy, people that work with senators. So it’s a lot of work. It’s the most amount of work I have seen so far in an application process,” said Keaton Rodems, senior. 

Students are able to take beneficial life skills that are useful for their future, just from the application process alone. It also gives them a better understanding of themselves. 

“You get an experience of actually being able to talk with these people. Always taking interviews is going to help you no matter what. During the process, you get to learn more about yourself because you never really talk about yourself as much,” Rodems said. “You get to find what [are the] key details about you. The more interviews you go through, the more you know what to say and what I should be saying, and how to prepare myself specifically for the academy.”

The application process for the academy requires a lot of dedication, and is a good way to learn multitasking and time management abilities. 

“Becoming a good candidate for the process you’ve got to be able to do a lot of things. I am doing a lot of things but then you have timelines and stuff for the actual process. So it’s a lot that goes on,” Rodems said. 

Any application process can be easier with the right timing. Some OHS students have already accomplished this entire procedure. 

“The process itself of seniors applying to college is a smooth one. They just need to know when to start. We have already gotten emails from NAU. Many of our students have already gotten into college,” Heath said  “Lots have received scholarships. So it’s been great.” 

The end of the process seems to be worth it because of the relief and joy it brings to both the students and their families. 

“It’s really good when you get an acceptance letter. You feel really proud of yourself. More than that, just the fact that my family has been really invested in my education, Saraswat said. “Seeing how excited they get for you, I feel like that’s more of a reward.”