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Chaotic College Apps

By Rayva Gupta and Michelle Mathew

Source by Nasheed Choudhury

With so many tasks to complete and applications to fill out, the college process can be overwhelming for many high school seniors.

The most dreaded time for seniors is here – college application season! With the endless uncertainties of this time, this process has only gotten more complicated and hectic. From SAT cancellations to letters of recommendation, the Class of 2021 has a lot on their plate.

The infamous standardized test required for almost all college applications has taken a complete turn. SAT cancellations for even the most recent exam dates have caused a huge confusion for seniors. But luckily, amid this mess, many colleges have gone test-optional or test-blind. Test-optional allows students who have SAT scores to submit them while students who do not have scores will not be penalized in the holistic application review. Test-blind completely suspends the SAT requirement as colleges will not consider scores even if given. All SUNY and some Ivy League schools have suspended the SAT requirements for this year's application period. The University of California (UC) school system has also announced that it will no longer require SAT scores in the future as well.

“The cancellation of the SAT has its positives and negatives. I’m happy that most schools have gone test-optional, but I still want to take the SAT so I have another score that admissions can look at and have a sense of where I stand among the other kids,” said senior Parneet Sekhon.

Source by Anna Detke

Senior Ava Denaro works on her Common App and prepares to send out applications.

Arguably, the scariest part of this whole process for many students is the Common App personal statement and supplemental essays. These pieces of the application are all meant to help admissions officers learn about the applicant on a personal level. The essays pose a struggle to students because many of them worry about what the college admissions officers want to read rather than what they truly want to write. A piece of advice for these students is to just relax and try to focus on individual passions and experiences. Sometimes, trying to write something so that colleges are impressed only ends up in the loss of personality in the essay.

Another issue for students is that they often find it hard to describe their life story in only 650 words. Some either know what they want in life and know what to write while others are completely clueless and find it difficult to focus on a specific topic to write about. However, the Common App gives six different prompts to choose from, and for flexibility, the last option provides an opportunity for any topic to be written.

Sometimes, trying to write something so that colleges are impressed only ends up making you lose your personality in your essays...

"With support from most of my teachers, I was able to finish my Common App essay in time for early action,” said senior Rebecca Panicker.

Another huge part of the college application process is obtaining letters of recommendation. These letters come from teachers that have grown close to students or teachers whose classes people have deeply enjoyed. At times, schools may require letters of recommendation from teachers of a specific subject area. It is not too late to ask a teacher for a letter of recommendation, but seniors should notify them now. Especially with the pandemic, students are more stressed with constant due dates, which is why seniors need to try to stay organized and take some time for themselves so the stress doesn’t get to them.


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