The Hidden Hardships of College Application

Common Application is a very regularly used college application website. It allows the user to apply to various colleges through one website. Another commonly used college application website is Coalition Applications. (Photo courtesy of Olivia Fontaine.)

How would I describe applying to college in one word? Stressful.

With college applications stacking up and a taunting timeline staring back at me, I couldn’t imagine this process being completely stress free.

I am sure that the creators and designers of college application strived to create an easy application process; however, applications are no simple task. Anxious sweating and frequent breaks for crying were common occurrences during my college application experience. As sad as this is, I would argue that most high school seniors will experience a similar amount of stress while applying to colleges.

Stress is not the only emotion that comes with applying for schools. Fear, excitement, and wonder can also be experienced during the process. Fear of denial or rejection from the school of your dreams, excitement for your next steps into adulthood, wonder and curiosity in what your future school has in store for you. As I clicked through each application, these emotions and feelings swallowed me.

Intense feelings of anxiety and stress are not made up or exaggerated effects of college preparation. Numerous conducted studies have exposed the negative effects that college application can have on students’ minds and bodies. The College Board conducted a study, stating that, “70 percent of graduating high school seniors said they were either always or often stressed about college applications.” Headaches, acne, mood swings, and frequent sickness are all common outcomes of stress. It is in every student’s best interest to avoid these undesirable changes.

Headaches and anxiety were no stranger to me during my applications. To prevent these stress symptoms from affecting my work, I decided to search for some stress relievers. Deep breathing, frequent work breaks and a strictly planned schedule helped me to calm down and collect myself. Keeping yourself happy and healthy during these stressful times should be one of every student’s biggest concerns. Taking care of yourself is very important, but can get easily overshadowed by other responsibilities.

Actually sending your applications to each college is only part of the process. Some of the heaviest emotions are experienced during the waiting process. So far, I’ve been waiting one month to hear back from my five colleges. It’s kind of hard to watch as my peers post their acceptance letters throughout my Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter feeds. It’s difficult to avoid getting upset when every time I check my mailbox or refresh my email, and I don’t see my acceptance letter.

In order to receive my answer on a sooner date, I applied as early decision to each college. By applying early, I have the opportunity to receive a decision months before regular decision. I believe that every student should strive to apply for early decision, under one condition. If you need your senior year grades entered in order to increase the total GPA, you might need to wait for regular decision. In any other case, I highly recommend applying early. Early application has given me the time to work on any school work or other college preparation outside of school.

One piece of advice I would give to any student applying to college is to not let a denial letter define or defeat you. Just because one school might not accept you, doesn’t mean dozens of other colleges aren’t dying for you to attend there. As long as you continue working and pushing forward, you will find success in whatever you do.

Senior year is arguably one of the most stressful years in high school, but no one has to endure it alone. Leesville has surrounded me with extremely helpful friends and teachers, as they have all made the application process a little easier. Yes, applying for college is scary, stressful and nerve wracking, but it is the entrance to the next major part of your life. College life is just around the corner, just keep pushing.


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