By Fiona Rosenthal and Claire Magnanini
For the majority of WHS seniors, all thoughts of prom, graduation and senioritis have been pushed aside by one daunting task: completing college applications.
Whether anxiously waiting for acceptances (or worse - rejections), or still tackling the excessive requirements of their applications, most seniors seem to share the stress caused by the college application process.
But the real work is just getting started.
“It puts more stress on the students, obviously, but along with our normal school duties and everything else, it becomes a lot to handle for some students,” said senior Eric Varakian.
In an online survey of 162 WHS students in a seniors college Facebook group, 16.7 percent said that they have applied to 12 or more colleges, while 46.3 percent said they have applied to 8-11 schools. According to The New York Times, applying to more colleges has become a nationwide trend. “Faced with an increasingly competitive landscape, [students] have begun applying to more colleges than anyone would previously have thought possible,” wrote Times reporter Ariel Kaminer. Applying to more and more colleges forces many students to feel lost in a process that is supposed to be all about them.
While many students feel themselves a victim of the process, most do not know how to change it. Senior Max Landau said, “It is necessary to get into college and I don’t know any other way it could be done.”
In fact, the college application process takes over more than just a student’s senior year. According to Hi’s Eye’s online survey, many students began their applications before this school year even began, with 48.1 percent starting in August and 9.9 percent starting as early June, or even before. At WHS, several workshops during the summer, as well as in the start of the school year, were offered to help students get started on the applications or their essays.
Applications as personal branding
In addition to the work that applications require, students have little opportunity to reveal themselves in a series of questions and 500-word personal statements. “I wish more colleges required an interview process because I feel like I would be able to reveal my personality better in person, rather than on paper,” said senior Rachel Geskin.
Many seniors agreed that the process takes away some of the authenticity of who they really are. “For most of the application we just have to put what colleges want to hear,” said senior Ava Wadman.
Added Landau: “It is a lot of exaggeration and making yourself look better for the colleges.” In spite of this, many seniors struggle to avoid misrepresenting themselves through their college applications.
Added senior Austin Kreusser: “Everyone kind of has to abide by [colleges’] rules and you can’t really call them out or question them on the process because they don't want to ruin their chances for the future.”