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College Declassified

APPLICATION+SEASON+It+is+college+application+season%2C+and+seniors+are+in+the+midst+of+preparing+to+hit+%E2%80%98submit%E2%80%99%2C+but+the+process+begins+long+before+senior+year.+How+are+students+at+IHS+preparing+for+the+next+big+step%3F
APPLICATION SEASON It is college application season, and seniors are in the midst of preparing to hit ‘submit’, but the process begins long before senior year. How are students at IHS preparing for the next big step?

APPLICATION SEASON It is college application season, and seniors are in the midst of preparing to hit ‘submit’, but the process begins long before senior year. How are students at IHS preparing for the next big step?

Connor Mckee-Sargent

Connor Mckee-Sargent

APPLICATION SEASON It is college application season, and seniors are in the midst of preparing to hit ‘submit’, but the process begins long before senior year. How are students at IHS preparing for the next big step?

Hayley Lynch, Staff Writer

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As the pressure mounts over the course of one’s high school experience, how can a student proactively relieve future stress-induced headaches? The answer seems to be to prepare early, research thoroughly, and keep in mind what is best for one as an individual. When considering colleges, students suggest that the school should have a program in one’s desired major and the location should play a factor in a student’s decision to apply or enroll. Students should also consider the less well-known colleges and not base his or her decision solely on the university’s name or rank. Sophomore Maggie Endres believes that big name schools “[draw] a lot of unnecessary attention because there’s other school you can go to that you can get just as good an education at.”

The size of a school is also an important factor in the college decision process. Junior Jason Liu says, “I think I would want a similar experience to what I’m having in high school so probably a larger-scale school.” On the contrary, freshman Josh Delgadillo points out that “small schools [have] more grant money to go around.”

Finally, students might forget that one does not have to be perfect in every aspect of his or her application. Selective schools like the University of Chicago are now going test optional, limiting the amount of importance placed on standardized testing. Changes like this might help eliminate the anxiety of perfecting all aspects of one’s college resume.

To put it simply, preparing for college is hard. The competition is higher than ever and the pressure to succeed can feel overwhelming as students try to balance their academic, extracurricular, social, and personal lives. At Issaquah High School, many students intend to enroll at a university after graduation. So how is each grade approaching college admissions?

Even freshman, who are just entering the world of high school, are planning for their futures. To prepare for college admissions, Delgadillo says he is planning “to take a lot of AP classes” next year, and he is currently “doing some extracurriculars” to get involved. However, Delgadillo thinks that the best thing freshman could be doing this year to prepare for college is simply to get used to the school the first year. Delgadillo says, “You have three more years to really prepare yourself and it’s not a good idea to overload yourself the first year.”

For freshman, adjusting to the world of  high school classes,activities, and social life can be an time-consuming task, but doing rudimentary planning for college might pay off in the future. Learning from others’ experiences, freshman Charlotte Bagel is trying to plan out her classes and activities now to hopefully relieve some of the stress that comes closer to the daunting season of applications.

Sophomores are a step closer to applying to college and reflect it in their academic and extracurricular endeavors. Endres says she is “keeping up with schoolwork” and thinks that sophomores should focus on their academics and start “looking into different colleges” at this point in their high school careers.

While sophomore year is still a ways off from college admissions, preparing early on might be the best plan of action for those college-bound students. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “69.7 percent of 2016 high school graduates enrolled in college in October 2016,” meaning a majority of high school students attend college.

Junior year is often considered the most important and stressful year for students. It is when many begin their college research, take a rigorous class schedule, and start experiencing the peak levels of stress that often come with college preparation. J. Liu says that he will “start doing some research about different colleges that [he] might be interested into going to.” In regard to juniors could be doing to prepare for college admissions now, Liu says “I think getting in your SAT and…ACT…early because if you don’t do well on it then you’ll have time to prepare and possibly take another one in senior year and if you put it off until it’s too late then you can’t do anything about it.” To junior Laura Epps, if another junior has not begun his or her college planning, now is the times to start. Epps recommends that juniors who have not started “should start contacting the college center if they’re confused or anything.”

Confusion is often a problem for many students of all grades as they traverse the preparation process and the applications themselves. Out of eight people interviewed across all grades, every student was unsure of some aspect of the application process, whether it is financial aid, the application portals, or how to ask for letters of recommendation.

Learning the details of the actual college applications early on could aid students in their senior year as seniors try to balance school, activities, college applications, and their social lives.

To the younger grades, senior Andrew Liu gives this advice: “Just don’t procrastinate on it. As long as you manage everything in a timely fashion you should be fine, don’t force yourself into a time crunch.” The stress compiles over the years until it peaks as seniors actually begin the long-waited application process. In A. Liu’s words, “I would say if you aren’t affected by stress during this time it’s a miracle or you’re just really good at planning.” However, college applications and planning is not all bad. Senior Julia Imler says, “It’s definitely more stress because it’s just like having extra stuff to do on top of homework and on top of studying but it’s also pretty exciting because you get to think…in less than a year you’ll be in a college and it’ll be all worth it in the end.”

At the end of the day, it might seem far off in the future or coming far too quickly, but every grade is preparing for college admissions in their own way, whether they are dipping their toes into the world of college or already hitting the ‘submit’ button.

Hayley Lynch, Staff Writer

First-year journalist, class of 2019, and proud owner of a Shih Tzu. Perpetually catching up on sleep. Loves the holiday season, painting, and baking competition...

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