FAFSA, letters of recommendation, test scores, college essays and application fees; as the college application process progresses, Bonita Vista High seniors have to make an important choice, regarding their life after high school and academic future.
Senior Maria Rendon plans to attend community college after graduating. However, other BVH seniors have pursued the university application process. Senior Ana Ramirez-Diaz illustrates that her last year of high school has been quite busy, even in the first few weeks. Her application experience has been surrounded by college application essays and SAT results.
“[This year] is really chaotic with college applications, [and] SAT’s which [have been] really stressful, [even in the first few weeks],” Ramirez-Diaz said.
In order to apply to college, many universities have created different requirements for applicants to follow in order to be admitted. For example, the University of California (UC) school system requires completed A-G courses, a 3.0 GPA for California residents, ACT or SAT exam scores and short 350 word admission essays. Although Rendon is on track to fulfill her A-G requirements for community college, senior Munich Villanueva comments on her plan to get admitted to college with a focus on her test scores.
“Right now, [I want to get] my SAT scores up and then from there, [I want to] get a list of the colleges I want to apply [to] and start my [essays]. Then, I’d choose the [college] I want to go to and visit the campus,” Villanueva said.
For some students, the application process has not hit them as quickly as others. Due to this, some students prefer to take the process slow and wait until their strict deadlines for better, more developed results. This group includes Rendon.
“As of right now, [the college application process] is not as stressful for me because I haven’t done anything [for it], but I know towards the end it will get more chaotic. I [know] I still have to apply to colleges, get teacher recommendations and [complete my other requirements],” Rendon said.
Although colleges have given requirements to apply, Ilana Kowarski from US News finds that students who want to stand out in the college process tend to participate in different extracurricular activities, hoping to boost their chances of getting admitted to colleges.
“[Extracurriculars show] how involved you are in school and it’s not completely about the grades and classes, it’s more about what you do outside of school and your involvement [in the community],” Ramirez-Diaz said.
While taking the SAT or other standardized tests, many students prepare – and even retake tests – just to optimize their score for a competitive advantage. For Ramirez-Diaz, she initially received a 1040 on her first time taking SAT but a 1020 on her retake.
“[Taking the SAT] is good [for my applications] but stressful because I [went] down 20 points from my initial test and [wondering what colleges will think of this score] makes me nervous,” Ramirez-Diaz said.
Similarly to Ramirez-Diaz expressing her concerns about the results from her recent SAT, Villanueva reminisces about the stress she felt throughout the first few weeks of her senior year.
“[At the beginning of the school year] I started to think about getting my applications on time and if I didn’t get accepted into my dream school, or if my ACT or SAT scores aren’t as good as I thought they would be, which stressed me out even more about my future,” Villanueva said.
With all the pressure, seniors find it important to be able to wind down and enjoy themselves. Ramirez-Diaz expresses that self-meditation is important to her during this time of stress.
“I try not to think about [certain things or] stress about school sometimes. Even though I should worry about it, I like to play some music and take some time for myself sometimes,” Ramirez-Diaz said.
Spending time with friends, taking a walk or run or just relaxing is also important to Villanueva. She enjoys how it makes her momentarily forget the stressful times of the application season and relax.
“[I] like running, it might make me tired, but it gets my mind off of things [during these first few months of college applications],” Villanueva said.
Finally, after all the stress and panic seems to have washed away, the realization of leaving high school and entering college is another emotional factor in students’ senior year. However, Villanueva expresses that she isn’t quite sure if she is ready to leave her close friends just yet.
“I feel like I am [ready to leave], but what hits me the most is that I will not be able to see my friends as often because I want to go to a college that is out of state,” Villanueva said.
With each passing minute the application deadline approaches, Ramirez-Diaz concludes that students should enjoy themselves in school during this time before college and the rest of their life to follow. She expresses that school should not only be serious and beneficial but enjoyable, with others especially.
“Have fun all your four years of [high] school and [in] college, because it is not all about the grades and the classes, you need to have fun. Like what’s the point of high school [if you’re] not having fun with your friends and making memories along the way?” Ramirez-Diaz said.