Editorial: College Application Crisis

Seniors grapple with the stress of applying for college


Graphic by Lily Loyd

Essay after essay, form after form. The hours seem to drift away as you sit, glued to your chair, while the only thing keeping you awake is the hollow sound of keys clicking. Before you know it, you look up and it’s 2 a.m. You’ve been working all night and barely made a dent. You hop in bed, trying your best to ignore the fact pressing against your mind: tomorrow night will be more of the exact same thing.

If you’re a senior, you may be familiar with the sleepless nights spent filling out college applications. As attending college after high school is increasingly becoming the norm, more and more seniors feel pressured to apply for admission into multiple universities along with scholarships and financial aid packages. Having to complete these unnecessarily difficult college and scholarship applications adds stress to an already overwhelming time in our lives. De-simplifying the college application process is a necessary step to ensure the mental well-being and stability of current and future students.

There’s a reason “senior-itis,” a term which describes a pattern of uninterest by high school seniors in academics and extracurricular activities, is one step away from being in the Oxford Dictionary. You can practically smell it when you walk into a classroom full of seniors on any given day. Something in the anatomy of a seventeen or eighteen year old individual drives them to want to leave the nest in search of independence and adventure. Unfortunately, this final year in high school is made even more challenging by college applications, and the majority of public high schools seem to ignore that truth. 

Teachers continue to give students mounds of homework, even on days leading up to deadlines. I’m speaking from experience here; I had countless assignments the weekend before Nov. 1, the standard date for early action applications for most colleges.

It feels like minimal effort is put forward and minimal time given by schools to guide students in the application process. Life goes on while countless students pull their hair out because of overbearing stress that comes from these deadlines.

This can easily be fixed. First, more free services need to be provided through schools regarding assistance with applications. Having a helping hand to guide students through their admission processes would go a long way in ensuring less stress and better applications. Students need to get time off without having to make up school assignments, to work on their applications.

A lack of time isn’t the only problem plaguing the college admissions process, however. As mentioned before, filling out modern applications for school admission and for financial aid often feels like filing taxes: needlessly confusing and repetitive. From page to page, you can go from not having a clue on what to do to filling out information that you have filled out several times before. Even the Common Application, which is meant to streamline the process and make applying to multiple institutions easier, feels like a slog to navigate through and complete. Colleges and Universities could declutter certain aspects of their admissions processes such as the applications themselves and financial aid systems, which continue to perplexes parents as much as it does students applying.

Though trying to get a good deal at a college of your choice feels daunting in the modern day, it doesn’t need to. Administrators on both the high school and higher education side of the process could easily implement changes that would allow students a more relaxed and stress-free admissions process.