College Is Coming

by Elie D.

If you are a junior this year, you are probably starting to feel the pressure of college. If you aren’t a junior, you are probably watching all the juniors slowly fall apart.

For many juniors, they have successfully put off thinking about college until now, and are probably realizing maybe that was a bad move and they should have started looking a little earlier. Or, if you are like me, you started looking the summer after freshman year and are pretty bored with the idea of looking more and also pretty stressed with the idea of applying.

But whoever you are (that is, if you’re a junior), you are now taking off on the real road to college, and you probably aren’t super thrilled yet.

College meetings started freshman year (though we only had one), and I can’t remember if we had any sophomore year, but they really picked up this year. All through the fall various colleges came to visit the library and juniors and seniors were invited to go listen to those reps talk about the colleges they are from.

For me, most of the colleges blurred together and I can’t remember which I visited and which I liked and where they are all located and what they specialize in. I went to countless college fairs and visited countless more tables and everything I learned has disappeared from my head since.

This summer, I have to go on a trip solely to look at colleges, going from one to the next to the next while each college tries to tell me why theirs is the best. I also have to pick which to apply to. What if I pick the wrong ones? Is it valid to pick the one’s with the easiest essays (like just the Common App) and test scores optional?

But not only do we have meetings with colleges during our free period. We also have to meet with our college counselors about schedules for next year. Our schedules, it turns out, don’t just get to be what we want to take, they have to also look good for whatever colleges you might be applying to.

We also had meetings with Paula and learned what the prompts for the Common App will be. I’m not feeling any of them, but one better all of a sudden jump out because I’m going to have to write a really good essay using it come August. Crap.

In addition to these meetings, it’s testing time as well. AP tests, SAT tests, ACT tests, subject tests. Some students started these earlier on in their high school careers (I did not) and have a head start, but pretty much everyone is doing them again now.

The problem is these really can’t be treated like just another test because getting into college is riding on them, and everyone is desperate for a good score. I’ve recently gotten a SAT tutor who assigns me extra homework and too many practice workbooks which I really don’t want to use.

This weekend I’m taking my subject tests so have additional practice books for those that I’ve been doing some light reading of each night. And if I don’t get good scores I know I’ll just have to take them all again. No pressure.

We also had Case Studies at Catlin last weekend, where we read applications generated for this program and discussed the pros and cons of each one. We basically pretended we were admissions officers to a made up university and got into heated debates about who we wanted to accept and decline. The whole application thing got very real, very fast.
So in summary, there is a lot going on. Juniors are super stressed. Everyone is having meltdowns. Personally I’ve had like three this week. There is just way too much to do.

Abe Asher tells me “I’m not convinced that college is the right thing to do. I think we should bring back vocational schools. I might go into the culinary business.”

Mikaelah M., pictured above, demonstrates the juniors desperate need for sleep. Emelyn R. just wants to “get out of here as fast as I can. I’m focused on finding applying and getting in, I’m ready to be done.” Zach L. is lucky because he’s a little ahead of us (so jealous…). He tells me “I got into PCC, so I’m all good I guess… but seriously, so lost and dying a little.” Alex G. adds the telling quote, “Nervous.”

An anonymous junior states that “fantastic, best experience I’ve ever gone through.” Not sure how to respond to that one, honestly. Hoping it was sarcastic. And Alex W. captures how I’m feeling in regard to tests pretty well.

Minus the preparing part. “I keep thinking I have enough time to prepare for the SATs, but then I realize that time seems to keep moving without regard to my needs.” This is a really exciting time of year. And by exciting I mean it sucks. So underclassmen, just brace yourselves.

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