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Fall Semester Stress Fest: An Inside Look into College Applications

Art by Jillian Mae Machacon

What will you do after high school? For the majority of people reading this, the question isn’t very relevant. For the class of 2020, however, this question is all-consuming and of utmost importance. Most seniors are plagued with questions about their post-high school life. Will you go to college? Join the military? Sit at home and be a menace to society, perhaps? One thing’s for certain, after this year, we seniors will all be going our separate ways. For many of us, however, college is our preferred post-high school pathway, and every year seniors relentlessly prepare for the looming college application season.

For many seniors, college is just one milestone in the quest to achieve the American Dream-- that is, prosperity and success. However, even with a college background or degree, the American Dream is becoming harder and harder to achieve, especially with the consistently rising costs of, you know, living the good life and college tuition. With this, many seniors scramble to get into the universities of their choice in order to have better chances of securing a career and future financial stability. By the time you’re all reading this, UC Applications have been open for more than a month. CalState applications are approaching and several other community colleges and universities have opened or are close to opening up their application process across the planet. Overwhelming, isn’t it? At first, it definitely is. The college application process no doubt puts lots of excess pressure on seniors.

With seniors scrambling to figure out their college applications and life choices, The Eagle’s Scream created a survey that was sent out to select seniors, asking them about their personal application process. Here are the results:

According to the survey, most seniors are planning on attending public and private colleges, with 40 percent of survey-takers applying to both. They also mostly plan on getting Bachelor’s and Master's degrees, with a select few being indecisive on that matter. Political Science seems to be a popular major amongst senior survey takers, with 40% of students showing interest in the subject. Some great and informative reasons were provided by seniors choosing this major. One anonymous respondent said: “I love learning about our country and it’s political system. We also are living in a very interesting time in political history. It would be interesting to dive deeper into the political process.”

Other responses include fields of interest such as International Relations and Computer Science. “I want to work in humanitarian aid and help around the world with developing countries,” said one student. “I decided I wanted to study comp-sci because of the AP class I took and it's promising future.” replied another respondent.

Some individuals are choosing other post-high school pathways, with a couple choosing to join the armed forces. One respondent expressed a desire to go to prison after high school, but I’ll let you take that as you will. Many seniors, however, are still figuring out what to do after high school, with 20% choosing “indecisive” as their response to every question. For them, and all seniors enrolling in college right now, college counselor Chris Oswald has this word of advice for you: “You need to get your applications done early, come into the college office for assistance. Create your own timeline for getting your applications done in advance, that’s the biggest thing.”

For students who get accepted to multiple schools in the future, Mr. Oswald has this advice for selecting the best one for you in the long run: “The rule of thumb, statistically, if you qualify for a four-year university, you should go. Regarding your financial aid, in the long run, you’re better off going to a four-year university. Community college is great, it’s necessary, however, I’m very much cognizant of some of the trappings there.”

Various opportunities are available for seniors applying to colleges. A CSU ambassador will be present every Tuesday in the College Office to help with CSU and FAFSA applications. Workshops and scholarship opportunities will also be posted regularly on Schoology by Mr. Oswald. When asked for a final word of advice, Mr. Oswald had this to say. “College is for everybody, not just a few; it's for everyone.”

College application season has arrived, and while it can prove to be stressful, it is extremely important that you stay focused when it comes to staying on top of things. Getting accepted to any school has become extremely competitive, especially for four-year universities. With this, it is important that you get your applications done early and spend ample time crafting strong Personal Statements, Brag Sheets, and PIQ’s if you’re applying to a UC. Personally, I recommend finding a fine balance that ensures you stay on top of college matters, while still having plenty of fun throughout the final semester. It is senior year, after all, make it the best you possibly can!

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