Seniors Share Tips on College Applications

Senior year is generally a busy time for students, with challenging classes, graduation looming, and events like Prom and field trips designed to celebrate seniors’ time at the school. However, perhaps nothing is more time-consuming than college applications. Although most deadlines for colleges occur between November 1 and February 15, they still affect a large chunk of students’ school year. To discover more about the college applications process, three seniors shared their experiences about prioritizing their time during this busy period.

Michael Kassabian tried to narrow down his choices to schools where he could see himself doing well, and he recommended it as a good strategy for those applying in the future. He applied to five schools, including Notre Dame, Holy Cross, and Harvard.

“It’s just chipping away and getting my school work done first,” said Kassabian on balancing school work and college work. “I started in the late summer, brainstorming stuff, so I could come into the school year with a base.”

Kassabian offered advice for students in the throes of application season. “Don’t let it (the applications process) get the best of you. Buckle down, and don’t procrastinate.”

Asked to sum up the applications process in one word, Emma Purtell decided on “stressful.” She applied to seven schools from all across the country, including St. Bonaventure, the University of Arizona, and the University of New Hampshire.

Describing her strategy to work effectively, she said, “I get my homework done, that’s my first priority. Any free time I have, or over the weekend, that’s when I work on college applications.”

She noted a difference of schools that accept the Common App and those that require a unique application.

“The common app schools had applications that were easier to bang out,” said Purtell, “but I worked from September to December on applications for schools that don’t have the Common App.”

Similar to Michael, she advised getting a head start on college applications as a way to not get overwhelmed. In addition, Emma said that speaking to your guidance counselors was a good idea.

Stephen Gouin agreed with Emma, picking “stressful” as his word to describe his time applying to colleges. He applied to three Massachusetts schools – Dean College, Nichols College, and LaSell College. When questioned about when he tackled his college-related work, Stephen responded, “I usually would dedicate some time on the weekends to do it.”

He encouraged students from next year’s class and beyond to “really think about your future and what schools are the best for you.”

All students who plan on going to an institute of higher learning have to devote some of their time to researching and applying to colleges. With the other burdens senior year can provide, the college applications process can be a challenging time for students, but as these students have proven, time management and focus can lead to success.

By Patrick Briand


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