Application Anxiety


Karen Wolanski fills out a transcript request form to be sent out to colleges.

Sydney Asencio, Staff Writer

College application season has arrived, gifting the class of 2018 an immeasurable amount of stress.  Seniors are scrambling to figure out the objective of their next steps while simultaneously requesting transcripts, sending SAT scores, revising personal statements, and seeking teachers for letters of recommendation.  As college application deadlines creep closer, seniors become fully absorbed in their means of coping with the pivotal changes that will soon materialize.

Because of the undisguised significance of the matter, English teachers are asked to surrender an entire class period to the counselors for an informative presentation on the college process.  The presentation was held in early September and acted as a reminder for many students.  To senior Cassie Baker, “The counselor presentation was both overwhelming and helpful. It helped me figure out everything I need to do before college, but also made me realize that college is coming extremely fast and I’m not quite ready for it yet.”  The presentation was intended to merely act as an introduction to the college realm.  Over a month has passed since crowds of seniors filed into the auditorium, and the idea of college is rapidly sprouting into a reality.

Perhaps the most daunting task affiliated with a college application is the essay portion.  Not all colleges require it, but many offer it as an extra component, compelling applicants to undertake the challenge.  “In my opinion, the essays are definitely the most stressful part of the application process. Making sure that you successfully convey who you are as a person and why you should be admitted into wherever you apply in 650 words is stressful to say the least,” said senior Lily Dochat.  Stress, although typically aligning with a negative connotation, can offer some beneficial elements to the recipient.  “Some anxiety can actually be helpful! It can help you to pay attention to details, remember important deadlines, and think through complex decisions. Stress and anxiety become problematic when they interfere with normal life tasks or lead to unmanageable emotional or physiological spikes,” counselor Paul Brigman said.  Although essays may appear to be rather formidable, it’s important to recognize the strong levels of support the counseling department and State High provide.

In addition to the tangible aspects of applying to college, some students must tackle the pressure of other people weighing in on their decisions.  “Everyone has their own idea of what you should do with your life or what you shouldn’t do and [they] don’t really listen to what you want,” Baker said.  Parents or alternative outside sources may have certain opinions that influence how someone approaches university as a whole.  For others, it’s natural to disregard external forces and, therefore, the paramount stressor shifts elsewhere.  “I think I’m my own main cause of stress.  I want to make sure that I’m doing everything correctly and that I’m applying to the right schools for me, not what other people want for me,” said Dochat.  This notion alone delineates how the process is divergent for everyone who experiences it.  

If you happen to spot a senior exiting the counseling office with folders and papers galore, remember to be a bit kinder during this difficult college season.  If you happen to be a senior, Brigman reminds you that, “graduating and applying to college or trade school is one important step in your journey, but it does not dictate the rest of your life.  Continue to live, learn, and explore all that the world has to offer.  This is just the beginning!”