Applying to college proves stressful for some students


Senior Varun Gullapalli opens opens his Common App.

As fall comes around, many senior students are getting ready to send out applications for colleges where they see themselves spending their next four years. These applications could include seniors writing a personal essay, supplemental essays, teacher recommendations, and also their GPA and test scores. This, along with working on their assignments for school, can potentially put a lot of stress on students. It’s important for students to understand the college process and know that other students are going through the same thing.

“What we expect from seniors is that coming into senior year that they already have their list of colleges that they want to apply to. As we begin senior year, that’s when we’re expecting students to apply. Students apply online either via the Common App or through the college’s website. The first step was us counselors going into the senior Knights Blocks to teach students about the college application process. We have the college and career center where a lot of seniors are coming down, talking with Miss Applehans and doing in person college visits,” said counselor Megan

For many seniors, in their English classes their first assignments of the year were to write their personal essay. This made the pressure of college applications easier on the students because they had their teachers to help them through the writing process and gave them the opportunity to finish the essay earlier than some would have.

“It definitely made it easier because I had planned on working on it in class so I didn’t have anything premade for school. I don’t think I would have really understood what I needed to write if my teacher hadn’t guided me through it,” said senior Lili Schultz.

Getting their essays done earlier is important if students want to apply early decision or early action. These different deadlines are important for students to know if they are set on attending a certainschool.

“So early action is just kind of like a priority deadline. So when a college’s website says early action, it’s just a priority deadline to get your stuff looked at quicker. Early decision is a different deadline, and that decision means it’s a binding agreement, which means if a student applies early and gets accepted, they have to go to that college no matter what,” Stenberg said.

Seniors deciding on where to apply and which deadline to choose is down to what they want out of a school. There are many different factors that go into making college list like tuition, big or small school, or if it’s good for a certain major. A majority of past North students have chosen schools close to Illinois or in Illinois itself.

“Most of the schools that I’m looking to apply to are in Illinois. I want to stay in the vicinity like just close. I think the only school that I looked at that’s out of Illinois is Madison,” said senior Joshua Gille.

“Since I have a more specific major, marine biology, not every school has it, so it needs to be based off of the program that they have. Location is a big part of it too. Like the coasts
are better for it,” Schultz said.

The college process has changed these past few years due to some schools being test optional. This means that tests like the SAT and ACT that students take their junior and senior year are
not required for some schools like they were in the past. This lets more students who are not that happy with their test scores to not have that impact on their application for some schools.

“I am sending in my test scores, but I like that it’s test optional. I think mine are going to help me, but it’s nice knowing that I didn’t have to send them,” Schultz said.

“I think it depends on the school because there’s certain schools that are definitely higher on the list, and like you need a good test score. But I have not been submitting my scores, and it’s not like
my scores are bad, I just feel like it will put me at a disadvantage,” Gille said.

As students juggle their school work and college applications, they might be experiencing stress. There are certain ways to manage this stress and be able to do both work without problem.

“I guess I’ve just been taking it like step by step like little by little. Most of the time during the week I really don’t do a lot of college stuff. It’s really on the weekend where I really like get into it. But I mean, it does make it hard when you have other assignments to due on the weekend, but I think just taking your time and going as you can is good,” Gillie said.