Ringing in the New Year doesn’t mean it’s a new start yet for many of the seniors at Old Rochester Regional. In fact, for many, celebrating will have to wait until the end of March when all applicants are guaranteed to have heard back from the colleges and universities to which they applied.
For those who are unfamiliar with newer college application procedures, there are three main types of applications for students who are applying to college.
The first of these is early action, where students apply by November to hear back by mid-December and have an earlier picture of their options for the upcoming fall.
Students can also apply for early decision, which is a binding application (if a student is accepted, they have to attend).
Last, but not least, there’s good old ‘regular decision,’ where students have until around early to mid-January to submit applications to schools and hear back from them by the end of March. All of these choices allow students to accept an offer by May 1, which is known as National College Acceptance Day.
Students at Old Rochester have participated in all three of these options. There are more than a few who were accepted via early decision to their top choices as well.
“I applied to Columbia University, Chapman University, USC, Georgia Tech, and the University of Chicago,” said senior Evan Tilley. “I was accepted into Columbia University’s School of Engineering in early decision, so that’s where I’ll be going. I’m super excited about it!”
“I applied to St. Lawrence University in upstate New York through early decision,” said senior Ayana Hartley. “They were my top school and I was accepted, so I’m really happy about that.”
Some students have heard back early from several schools, although they are still waiting to receive all of their regular decisions.
“I applied early action to UMass Amherst and got in,” said senior Alice Bednarczyk. “I also applied to Emerson, Virginia Tech, Smith, Amherst College, Syracuse University, and RPI, so I’m waiting to hear back from all of them before I make my final decision.”
After having spent much of their time in the past four to five months on college applications, many of the students had advice they were eager to share with those who follow in their footsteps next year.
“Start your college apps early, early, early,” Hartley commented. “I had mine done by the second week of school and was stress-free for the most part afterwards. It pays to do ahead of time instead of procrastinating.”
“The hardest part of the application was definitely the essays. It was hard to write multiple unique essays and each one took a lot of time,” Tilley said. “Start early on your applications; mine took a lot longer than I expected. I was pretty stressed out waiting for the decisions back from colleges.”
Of course, essays aren’t the only part of the tedious application process. Veterans of the process suggested that applicants make a resume on their own before starting any applications so that they can have a better idea of the different extracurricular activities available to write about in specific activity sections and open responses.
For students with artistic talent or applying to some specific majors, certain schools suggest that they submit a portfolio to showcase several pieces of their work.
“If you have to upload a portfolio, be careful because every school has their own requirements and expectations, and sometimes can require more writing with the portfolio,” cautioned Bednarczyk.
There is also the ever-dreaded SAT and ACT tests that many feel can make up a significant part of competitive school applications. Although more and more colleges now include test-optional choices, many of the students suggested taking the SAT or ACT at least once before a student’s senior year so that they could use it as a trial run and get used to the test.
All in all, the majority of the students essentially agreed upon one thing that would’ve helped them in their own application process:
“Start early!” senior Hannah Powers said. “I started during the summer and spread it out and it worked great! But even then I was still cutting it close.”
And finally, “Do your apps way before the deadline,” Bednarczyk agreed. “Also, look at applying early action to as many schools as possible, because it’s seriously worth it in the long run.”
By Jo Caynon