Where should one apply? How many colleges should one apply to? Should one consider financial aid, scholarships, or a loan? These questions are just a few that seniors may be asking themselves as college application season comes around.
The general attitude of San Lorenzo Valley High School seniors is overwhelmed. With homework and jobs to worry about, finding time for researching colleges can seem impossible. Although there are countless resource guides and blogs to utilize, many students still feel like choosing the right school is a shot-in-the dark-decision. While some may have the luxury of being able to visit each of the campuses they are applying to, other students have to rely on pictures and reviews to decide where to spend the next four to six years of their lives. Because of this, almost every senior interviewed for this article had a similar answer when asked how they felt about their college applications: stressed. Senior Renee Edelman expressed it this way: “The entire thing is just really stressful honestly, it’s not just a single part.”
While financial aid seems like a scary prospect to apply for, it can actually be quite simple and will benefit both high school seniors, along with two thirds of college students who receive money each year. One of the most complicated items that everyone should take the time to fill out is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or the FAFSA. This form is bothersome because students will need to sit down with their parents to navigate through tax information and legal information, but is worth the time and effort because of the end result: money for college. As graduates come out of college with tens of thousands in debt, more and more teachers and parents are pushing their students to apply for all the scholarships and grants that they can manage. It is more important than ever to be aware of how much financial aid a school is willing to give before deciding on which offer to accept.
Another aspect many students get caught up on when applying to colleges is whether the university offers a specific minor or major to fit their goals. While majors are important, most schools have a range of options for every subject, and some even have a ‘build your own major’ system for students who would like to explore different fields. Although applying as an undecided major can look weaker on a college application, it most likely will not affect the chances of getting in.
The last thing that seems to be a major stress aspect for SLV seniors are the dreaded admission essays. While they should take some time and focus, the essay is actually one of the least complicated parts of applying to college. With the Common Application essay being capped at only 650 words, the writing process should take no time away from finding the best school. Focus on colleges that offer an experience and educational program that fits a person’s needs as a student.
By Savannah Zachau