Getting older and becoming upperclassmen comes with pros and cons. Some of the pros are feeling more comfortable in the environment and having more freedom, but the cons may outweigh these benefits.
Junior year of high school marks the beginning of stress over college with the ACT and SAT, college tours and applications. Students try to build up their resumes in order to appear more appealing to schools.
Junior Sarah Staab has been getting into the process of looking at colleges.
“I have been working on making a college list to find schools with like locations and programs that match what I want to study, and then I’m also planning on going on college trips like over spring break,” Staab said.
Staab also noted other stressors she’s been thinking about.
“Obviously also we have the ACT and SAT, I’m kind of studying for that and the free one for school is in April coming up, and I was thinking about what teachers I’m going to ask for letters of rec and also preparing final extracurriculars for my summer so looking at college programs on campuses and finding an internship,” Staab said.
Juniors also begin coordinating with their college counselors and researching at this time.
Junior Olivia Riesz said, “Um, currently I have been talking with the college counselors and researching all the schools that I have been looking into using the college board website to research some more schools that I haven’t considered yet.”
Seniors have a different perspective. In the first half of the year, they’re applying, writing essays, looking for scholarships and in some cases still testing. It doesn’t end after students are accepted though.
About what the most stressful factor about college is right now, senior Ellie Nakatani, who’s committed to College of Charleston, said, “Right now, finding a roommate cuz I don’t know, no one ever tells you how stressful it is, um, yeah, and right now that’s probably just the main one.”
Some colleges have options for finding roommates. Some of these schools are Mizzou, Truman and other schools. Students can get a random person they’ve never met, go through a matching process, or students can find people going to the same college to find a roommate and talk to people before making a choice. This is just another stressor that students like Nakatani face.
Another issue after the initial decision in the financials. About what was the most stressful part for him right now, senior James Trueman, who’s committed to Missouri State, said “The money, easily. How much I’m getting, how much it costs, what loans I’ll have to take out. All of that is not fun.”
The stress of first semester seniors however can’t be overlooked.
Trueman said about his experience of the first semester, “The preparatory phase is mostly over. Really all I have to do is keep my grades up, but before I had to do a ton of research into what colleges had my program, I had to look at cost, acceptance rates and stuff like that and really just had to determine what would be right for me.”
Junior year and senior year both bring a lot of stress about college in different ways. There’s often a debate over which is harder when it comes to college preparations.
About which year she believes is harder, Nakatani said, “I’d say junior year. I also took a lot harder classes junior year, and this year I’m taking pretty easy classes, but I think junior year because everything else like ACT and that you really have to start thinking about colleges, and that’s when I took a lot of college visits and things.”
Trueman however had a different take on the issue. “I think definitely senior year because that’s when all those, at least for me, that’s when all the aps were due, scholarships. I didn’t really start my research that early in junior year, and I had no idea what I was doing.”
For sophomores and juniors, Nakatani and Trueman had advice on how to approach the preparations for college.
Nakatani said, “I would say stay honestly looking as soon as you can and just go to as many different colleges as you’re able to to get just a sense of what you like even if you don’t like the college or the area you can still get a feel for the size and just there are going to be things you like and that you don’t like and it’s better just to know what those things are.”
Trueman’s advice was a little different and focused on what not to stress over as an underclassman.
“I’d say just what’s most important in college is location and study, you know how close to home you are and what the program is. The things like the food, and the dorm situation all that will get worked out just worry about what you want to study and where you want to study at,” Trueman said.
This will be Sam Klein’s first year on ECHO Staff, but she also made several contributions while taking journalism class her sophomore year.