How to Survive Senior Year

By Elizabeth George


College application deadlines are rapidly approaching and New Hyde Park seniors are growing more stressed as they juggle applications with rigorous schoolwork. The college process is complicated, requiring students to present themselves as desirable candidates for often selective programs. This has caused many seniors to feel distressed and exhausted, racing to meet deadlines while feeling as though they have an uphill battle to climb.


While this process is unique to each student, there are many parts of the process in which seniors share their stress and concern. Seniors typically write college essays in their junior-year English class. These essays require them to embody their character and positive attributes through experiences or events that shaped who they have become. The essays usually reflect why students would like to enter the major of their choice or why they would be a good candidate for the college.


“By far, I think the most stressful part of college applications for me has been writing the essays,” senior Saffah Azeem said. “They require a lot more effort from the student since the questions are open-ended and offer little instruction. It’s very overwhelming to represent your identity and vouch for yourself this way, picking the right words, making sure each sentence uses space valuably.”


Source by Ashwathi Chemban

Many seniors feel overwhelmed by the need to balance extracurriculars, school work and college applications.


During the summer and the school year, many seniors strived to fill their resumes with positions of leadership, pre-professional experiences and volunteering opportunities to increase their chances of acceptance and prepare them for their choice of study. Recently, seniors have also received the final copy of their transcripts, GPA and high school rank, causing many to feel disappointed or stressed if they feel inferior to opposing applicants.


“I often hear many of my peers worry about their chances of getting accepted to particular colleges, usually ones that are ‘reach schools,’ due to standardized test scores like the SAT or ACT,” senior Ayesha Rashid said. “While many colleges remain test-optional, more rigorous and competitive programs, such as the highly sought-after dual degree programs, may require you to submit these test scores. This leads to a lot of stress for students, having to either reconsider programs or retake exams.”


Many seniors who are applying to colleges by early action deadlines have advice for their peers who slowly approach this frightening task.


“The best thing you can do to reduce the stress related to college apps is to start early," senior Ruth Solomon said. "Begin acquiring experience for your resume, write your essay during junior year and have multiple people read it while you continually edit it. Also, ask questions when you have them; the guidance counselors and English teachers are always happy to help you.”


“While the college process is stressful, it’s exciting thinking about the future that we’ve been waiting for for so long. This has been our end goal throughout all of our previous school years. It feels like the determining point of our future and the reward for all the work we’ve put in,” senior Harsimar Monacha said.


As seniors continue doing all that is needed for their respective college applications, the guidance office provides much-needed assistance and advice to ease their minds.


“We have utilized Google Classroom to inform seniors of upcoming events, deadlines and scholarship opportunities. The guidance office has also set up onsite admission appointments for many seniors, giving them a promising opportunity to get on-the-spot admission to local colleges,” Chairperson of Pupil Personnel Services Ms. Michele Pesce said. “This summer our school held a Summer Common App Boot Camp for the first time to help seniors begin their applications. We also set up a college essay writing workshop in collaboration with the English department.”


In addition, members of the military make multiple visits throughout the year and explain the enlisting process in the senior high cafeteria. Mr. Dominic Gagnon, who is the military liaison for NHP, provides career and educational experiences for students that are considering entering the military.


“In addition to providing students with information about particular branches of the military, these members of the military also go into classrooms and do presentations in social studies classes,” said Mr. Gagnon. “Last year we had the science, engineering, and architectural career caravan come to the school and set up an exhibit through the army.”


With the help from guidance, teachers, family members and peers, many hope to complete college application season and get into their dream college or field of study.