by Elvis Lau
The college season has struck again. Every year in the fall, high school seniors from all around the country share the burden of applying for college. I, as a senior, have been feeling the pressure since the spring semester of my junior year.
During this time, my counselors encouraged me to take the SAT and/or ACT to eliminate them off my senior year’s to-do-list. These tests, in conjunction with my AP tests and final exams, made for a stress-infused April and May. For instance, I had to attend after-school sessions for my AP English Class as well as review an SAT Preparation Book. Luckily, I did very well on the SAT and will not have to retake it this year.
As my senior year approached, counselors sent out emails regarding college visits and the college process. I began brainstorming ideas for my UC personal statements–mandatory essays–and filling out appraisal forms–evaluations by teachers and counselors–for potential letters of recommendation, which help admissions officers decide whether or not to accept students. Hoping to secure a less work-intensive school year, I completed the appraisal forms for my teachers over the summer, but the essay writing was more complicated. Without guidance or even a sense of direction other than the prompts provided, it was difficult to create a piece of writing that I was fully satisfied with. Even now, just a few weeks before applications must be submitted, I am still refining my essays.
When the fall semester took off, I was urged to start targeting specific colleges that I wanted to attend and to look for scholarships. Representatives from various colleges visited Galileo multiple times a week to give overviews of their campuses, including school environments, student life, and academic focuses, while answering questions. Although these presentations provided me with enough information to begin seriously thinking about what colleges I wanted to attend, it was a burden to always having to make time during lunch or after-school for them.
Now in October, I am working on essays for the UC and CSU applications, as well as ones for individual private colleges and universities. Since I have already asked two of my teachers from last year for letters of recommendations, I can concentrate on writing personal statements. When applications are submitted at the end of November, I will begin searching for scholarships. Hopefully, the scholarship process will require less time and effort than the college application process.
With all the work that goes into applying for college, I hope that my efforts will pay off. To be able to experience life at a college campus, to be able to learn about the things I’m fascinated at, to be able to meet people of diverse personalities and from diverse backgrounds, that would make my efforts worth it; that would truly be an appreciated reward.