A letter to future seniors


Photo Provided by Caroline McConnico

Class of 2023 on the first day of school.

Kennedy Clary, Staff Writer

    Dear future seniors, 

    College applications are among the most stressful parts of high school. We, seniors, have had to figure out many specifics: where we want to go, what we will write our college essays about, whether we’re applying early decision, early action, or regular decision, and the list goes on and on.

    There are many different career paths students can choose from, but here is some advice for college. During this stressful period, there are many ways to balance your life to make it more manageable. 

    Luckily, there are several ways to get admitted to college. It’s not all about grades! You could be really involved with a sport, or you can be a skilled artist. Colleges provide programs for all paths students may choose, and the admissions process differs for each. 

    The most traditional route is to take challenging classes, earn good grades, and bolster a high GPA to be competitive. It’s a lot of work, but it is ultimately worth it. The most helpful resource for applying to college this traditional way is the Common Application. The Common App is a consolidated platform where you can pick all the colleges you want to apply to and then organize your applications in one place. 

    Another route a student could take is getting into college by being excellent at their sport. Scouts come to games, and if they think you will be a good addition to their team, they will contact you to try to persuade you to apply to their college by offering you admission. This can sometimes make the college application process more confusing. 

    “Being an athlete trying to pick a college definitely complicates the process,” senior men’s basketball player Wyatt Mowery said. “It just adds another huge factor that varies between schools. It also meant that schools I applied to had to want me before I could want them, so the decision wasn’t entirely in my hands.” 

    While it can make the process a little more complicated, it still is a way many students get into college, even if that’s not what they want to do for a career. 

    One other popular way students get into college is by applying for arts programs. I met with two students who have been accepted into an arts program at their respective universities. Getting into a program is a very complicated process because of the many steps.

    “When it comes to performance arts, first you do a prescreen, where you film yourself doing things that the school expects you to do,” senior and future Elon student Kyle Brady said. “Like I had to do singing, dancing, and acting and then a little wild card thing, and then I sent that to a bunch of different colleges; if you pass prescreens, then for most performance arts, you have to go in person and audition, and you do that for every single school, and then you hear back from them whether you got in or not.” 

    Getting into these programs is a lot of work, but it is worth all the experience and knowledge you will get from the professionals teaching you. Brady’s friend and fellow arts student, senior Paul Gunter, had to send a portfolio full of his musical arrangements for his application for music production programs. Instead of focusing on the amount of work he had to do, he focused on his art and the idea of doing something he loves for the rest of his life. 

    “It’s more valuable if you’re able to enjoy the creative process still so you can do the things that represent what you’re gonna do in that field later on,” Gunter said. 

    One of the most important parts of the application process is to find what you will use to get applications together. Common App is the most well-known organizational tool for college applications, but while talking to Brady, I learned that there is another program specifically for art applications called Accepted. 

    “That’s what I used for a lot of my prescreens before I went and auditioned in person,” Brady said. 

    We all agree that as long as you start your application process early and are organized, there will be significantly less stress with your college applications. 

    “You just have to know your priorities,” Gunter said. “Applications were always a priority for me, and then I did homework when I could, and it all worked out.” 

    While it is a lot for seniors to handle, everyone figures it out in their own time. My advice is don’t stress about every little thing, make time for the priorities, and believe that it will work itself out. 

    One thing that is a very limiting factor about college applications is the overwhelming fees. 

    “It’s a lot of money, no matter who you are, and it can make it kind of limiting of what your options are because it’s not realistic to apply to every single school that you have the requirements met,” Gunter said.   

    They make a considerable difference for many students in their application process, and I believe it is an unfair process. While you can get a waiver to help you pay for all the app fees, a lot of papers must be submitted to get those waivers verified. Many people don’t know how or when to submit the documents needed to get these waivers, so many who need them don’t. Even though many students only see the stressful aspects of this process, you have to keep one thing in mind, college is exhilarating! You get to focus on what really matters to you. 

    “I’m so incredibly excited to go to college,” Brady said. “I simply cannot wait to study in a conservatory-like program on a passion that I have had since I was very young.”

    College is complicated, but even with all these decisions to be made and so many deadlines happening all at once. Although college doesn’t have to be for everyone, it can be one of the most life-altering experiences in a young persons person’s life; you discover yourself without anyone else influencing your opinions.