College Crunch

College Crunch

As deadlines approach, the seniors are trying their best to complete applications, apply for scholarships, and write essays. Although many seniors have already been accepted into a college, the pressure is still on.

But why? Most people would think a college acceptance would relieve the stress to get into school, however, many seniors are applying to at least one reach school. Therefore, the burden of perfecting each application and essay for those schools is evident. In addition, many students still experience anxiety as they wait for the much anticipated acceptance, or rejection letter.

According to the Princeton Review, a reach school is one where the student’s grades and scores are below the average of what the college or university normally accepts. These schools are exactly what they are called, a reach, but they are still possible.

The college counselors encourage all students to apply to at least one reach school. “We want students to aim high and apply to those schools that may be reaches but also choose some that are more likely so that they have options in the spring of their senior year when it is time to make that big decision,” said Ms. Ivey Harrison, Associate Director of the College Counseling Office.

Finding those schools, though, may prove to be a little more difficult than students think when beginning the college process. Ms. Harrison said, “It is easy to build a list of dream schools out of the most selective in the country, but it takes more soul searching and thought to consider those colleges and universities that aren’t on the cover of US News and World Report.” There is a plethora of schools across the nation, so it takes time to sort out which ones are the best fit for each student.

Several seniors have excessive numbers of schools on their lists. One such senior is Jim Yarbrough, who is applying to thirteen schools. “It’s a lot more work,” he said, but that isn’t stopping him from striving to perfect each application. “Six of the schools on my list are reach schools, three are likely, and the others are in the middle.”
More pressure arrives when a reach school is the student’s favorite because the possibility of a rejection letter adds more stress to the application process. “My reach is my number one school,” said Harper Foster, “this is the worst time of the year because so much is going on. It is so inconvenient and stressful.”

However, not all seniors are allowing college pressure to affect them. Isaiah Hogue, referring to his application process, said, “I like a challenge. If I don’t get in, it’s not the end of the world.” His reach school is toward the top of his list, but he is not too worried. “I like to stay stress free.”

Speaking of stress, the college counseling office has noted that the seniors have been handling the amount of work quite well. “I’ve read countless essays, held hands while hitting the submit button, and wiped a few tears,” said Ms. Harrison. “What really matters for seniors, and future classes, to know is that we’re all in it together and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”