College applications: the bane of my existence


Photo provided by: Marcela Maya Escalona

College applications aren’t as easy as everyone else says they are. The amount of stress that they induce is unimaginable.

Marcela Maya Escalona, Section Editor

If the idea of senior year is not already stressful enough, imagine having to start college applications right when you get back to school, while having no clue how to do them, and no idea of what’s going to happen next. 

College applications (commonly known as “college apps” amongst seniors) are the most stressful and anxiety-causing things I have ever experienced. Sometimes I think it is because I still don’t understand the American schooling system, which I’m also not used to because I’ve lived outside of the United States for years, but the more I look around, I realize that it’s not just me. 

Some people are well prepared for college apps; they’ve known what college they want to attend since middle school or freshman year and have been preparing for it ever since. Others are swimming in a pool of uncertainty, picking random college names out of a hat and just applying to those. I fall in the latter. 

My first encounter with a college application was with a well-known, prestigious state university that is, apparently, extremely hard to get into. Initially, I thought the application process would be short and sweet. But after embarking on this digital journey, I realized that I was profoundly wrong.. I spent days answering the questions, looking for my legal documents, proving my legal status, picking a race that described me as accurately as possible considering they did not have a “native Latino” option, entering my grades manually, and finally writing an essay. I barely slept because of how much stress I was under, and the process was so long that I completely forgot to apply to other colleges. 

Since I forgot to apply to other colleges, I faced the biggest college application website, Common App. I always overheard classmates talking about Common App and how it was “10 times easier than applying through the college”. It took me a whole week to finish one application. It was absolutely horrendous and I deleted my account for the website.  

After the very stressful process of sending through multiple applications and awaiting responses, I noticed that I had just spent a month answering yes or no questions and telling random people why I was “good enough” to study at their institution. I felt peer pressured to do something that I was not prepared for at all throughout my four years of high school. Had I received more assistance and guidance, I might feel differently about the application process, however, misguided as I was, this process proved to be strenuous.

College applications shouldn’t be as stressful as they are and they shouldn’t require so much work just to get an email on your phone that says, “Thank You for Applying, but…”