Seniors express things they’ve learned about themselves through the college application process

Elise Kaylor

Staff Writer

     Applying for college can be stressful. High school seniors already have the difficult decision of having to choose where they want to go and what profession they want to pursue in life, but the application process itself is exhausting. In addition, how do you make yourself stand out among thousands of other applicants? Seniors have to dig deep and find out what is something that makes them unique, which takes a great amount of thought and self-reflection.

     Many seniors found the application process difficult.  

     Senior Anush Patel mentions how “every aspect of college applications is stressful. But in particular, the process of selecting the colleges to apply to is most difficult for me because you are making decisions that can affect you for the rest of your life.”

     For Anisha Patel (12), COVID-19 was the main obstacle for her, as it was a sudden and an unexpected change that affected her plans that she set out.

     She explains, “Finishing college applications have been especially difficult for me due to the pandemic. It is a long process and it is harder to find time to do it and have them reviewed, especially since I was planning to have my teachers review them. Now, it is very difficult to communicate with them.”

Here, Anisha Patel (12) is finalizing her college application essay, “I am nervous to send out my application but I know I will feel relieved in the end.”

     There are several things to consider when deciding where to apply. In selecting colleges, students must weigh many factors when choosing places to apply such as whether they prefer a larger campus or a smaller college or choosing between one in a suburban versus urban area. 

     Anush discovers, “[While looking at different college locations] I learned things like I’d prefer to stay local in the state of California rather than attend a college out of state. As someone who was born and raised in California, I think it will be harder for me to adapt to a lifestyle in another state.” 

     In the essay portion of the University of California applications, seniors needed to deeply reflect on who they are, what they stand for, and what is important. This led to many personal realizations.

     Anush Patel (12), while reflecting on his past, had a revelation that pointed him in a direction for shaping his future.

     “I noticed sometimes the small things in life can make a big impact.  I realized the things that influenced me. Like, in middle school,  I started my own little business selling candy and soda to people. Now, I want to get a business major,” Anush realizes. 

     On the other hand, Anisha Patel experienced a different method of learning more about herself.  She learned from her mistakes, leading her exploring new paths.

     “I have actually learned a couple of things about myself. Like first off, I learned that there are many things about me that I didn’t deem as important in my life as I would’ve before. I started to think deeper about my passions and my characteristics to help me seem more well rounded in my essays. I also realized that I would want my future to revolve around my passions. I would rather go into a college or career that I feel good about. I also learned that making myself seem more interesting with curriculums and experiences is not as important as my own personal situations,” Anisha mentions.

     In another position, Dylan Perlas (12) explains how as he was thinking about significant events in his life, he realized that all of his aspirations came from wanting to give back.

     “Through the whole college application process, I learned that I’m a diligent worker and I will never give up on anything. I realized that when I set my mind on something, I always get it done to the best of my abilities and soon become great at it. I think this roots from the fact that I want to work hard in order to give back to my mom who deserves the best,” Dylan says.

     For some, the process of knowing what you want to do with your life may come naturally. However, not all students find this to be true. 

     Anisha states, “The whole college application process really did not come naturally for me from the beginning. I tried to start pretty early, like during the summer, but I was very confused on which route I wanted to take. At first, I tried to find the most leadership roles and random good things I’ve done for my community. I wanted to make myself seem outstanding, but I came to the realization that my essays didn’t seem that personal enough. I ended up scrapping all of my essays in order to really find the path I wanted to take. I wanted to be able to let my voice shine through my essays rather than my actions.”

     All seniors take different paths through this challenging time. It is very interesting to note the different dynamics with each individual. Nobody’s course of action is the same. Nor should it be.

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