College Craze


Senior Zain Bari intently focuses on his Medical Interventions assignment.

College application season is always a special time for seniors. Whether special is good or bad, seniors try to find the balance between college essays, fall sports, and everyday homework. Overachieving seniors, those characterized by their academic efforts, are especially known to focus heavily on this time of year. Society puts a lot of emphasis on college, and rightfully so, but sometimes the pressures and expectations cause students to spend the first few months on edge about college.

Seniors past and present know all too well how applications affect the final year. Stressful “free time,” booked weekends, and financial aid paperwork are all stressors that seniors face due to college applications. 

Senior Zain Bari has found the application process more tedious than anything, spending most of his time writing essays.

“[Applications] were not stressful, but it’s a lot of work. One of my colleges wanted six essays and I had to miss Quiz Bowl because I really had to get it done. I’m sure later on when I’m done applying, it’ll be fine though,” Bari said.

 The one worry for many seniors, including Bari, has been the diversity colleges have started to increasingly care about.

“I feel like I’m not unique enough because I’m super into academics. I’m not really diverse, I don’t do things like band or sports. On paper, I’m the basic nerd,” Bari said, “I’ve accepted it though. It’s senior year so what would I do, join a club for two minutes and then graduate?”

 Senior Charlie Rosser related to Bari with her experience, noting that most of her stress came from financial aid paperwork rather than the application itself. She’s also found the anticipation of results to be daunting as both rejection and acceptance letters are sent out. 

Senior Charlie Rosser smiles at her classmates during Ap Lit. (Kyly Jacobs)

 “It’s just so disheartening to think that I’m putting so much time and effort into something that I might not get anything out of,” Rosser said

Thankfully, she’s found that it hasn’t dampened her senior year and will hopefully get even better after applications are over.

“[Applications] have definitely made this year a little less fun but I’m still enjoying senior year. This has been my favorite of high school by far,” Rosser said.

AP Stats teacher Emily Harris has seen seniors tense up over college as they ask her for college recommendations but says the real falloff will be the second semester when the honeymoon phase has ended.

“I do think right now is when they’re most stressed, but it’s not impacting academic performance. I think once they make a decision that’s when their academic performance slows,” Mrs. Harris said.

Guidance Counselor Kristopher Miller had similar things to say. He’s found that after Covid-19, students are feeling less stressed about the college season. 

“In the age of Covid, schools have become less restrictive. Past students were always trying to improve their score a little bit more, and now that some schools have moved to test-optional that’s made it a little easier,” Miller said.

Covid has also made students a bit more reliant on themselves. After two years of figuring things out individually, students tend to try and figure things out alone rather than “bother” an adult.  

Regardless, individuality has yet to destroy societal expectations as academic driven students are expected to attend ivy league schools. Senior Platinum Liang has had some driving forces behind his choice of schools.

“My parents don’t care what college I choose in the end but they still want me to try applying to a few competitive ones. On top of that, everyone expects me to go to some ivy league school,” Liang said

Sometimes students forget that everyone is still a person whether first or last in their class,  and placing worth based solely on grades is harmful to both ends of the spectrum. High academics don’t equal Ivy League and poor academics don’t equal community college, but people tend to forget that in the rush that is the college craze.

“People just think ‘oh, we’re smart,’ but I feel like something that plays more of an influence is the work we put in. I put so much effort into [school] and I don’t think a lot of people realize that,” Liang said.