A Look into Factors of College Admission Stress

A Look into Factors of College Admission Stress

Olivia Westfield, Staff Writer

December 15. For most high school underclassmen, this date is just a normal Saturday. For seniors, however, December 15 is a highly-anticipated day in the college application process. This is the date by when many seniors applying Early Decision and Early Action will hear their college admissions decisions, meaning big dreams could be either fulfilled or broken. Evidently, there’s a lot of stress buzzing around Tenafly High School this week, so I decided to take a closer look into the various ways college admissions cause pressure.

Timing and waiting

This seemed to be the factor that caused most seniors stress. All the tasks associated with the college admissions process have preoccupied seniors in previous months. “When we had that assembly in the beginning of the year, I thought I was so behind,” said Evan Hecht (’19). However, Early Action and Early Decision deadlines have passed already, and many students have finished all their applications. For some seniors, losing control after apps are submitted causes stress to skyrocket. Evidently, the final days leading up to admissions decisions cause lots of tension and second-guessing. “This current week that we’re in right now has been very, very stressful,” said Sambhav Jain (’19). “Am I gonna get in? Am I gonna get rejected?” said John Yeh (’19). Some seniors have found it helpful to distract themselves; “I take my mind off it by watching TV shows and stuff like that,” said Yeh.

Tuition costs

Spending thousands of dollars on education is certainly a huge burden on parents and students alike. Fortunately, students are conscious of this burden: “I have a sister and a brother, so I have to think about the entire financial situation,” said Yeh.

Comparison to peers

When there are thousands of other qualified, intelligent students across the country applying to the same schools as you, pressure is high. Some of these competitors may even be walking the hallways with you right now. Some students experienced stress as a result of comparing themselves to other applicants: “All I could think about was 20 people applying to the same school and same major as me and have them get in over me. I always imagine them getting into the school, and me getting rejected.” said Sabrina Sadler (’19). “It still scared me because everyone else who applied, in my head, seemed more qualified than me,” said Hecht. To deal with this stress, Evan has looked at it from a more positive angle, taking advantage of the situation: “Talking about it with other people going through it has helped because we’re all in the same boat.”

Pressure to go to a certain school

“I was always concerned about what counselors were telling me, and what they thought about me, and where I could or couldn’t apply. But in the end, I realized that I actually had to decide for myself and be an independent guy through the whole process,” said Jain. Sambhav isn’t the only one feeling this stress. Parents, teachers, counselors, and even peers can be pressuring to anyone to get into a certain school. And for a town like Tenafly that boasts high academic rankings and a significant number of Ivy Leaguers, pressure attacks seniors from all angles. However, some students find their counselors a source of relief rather than tension: “Talking about it with my college counselors has helped me relax,” said Hecht.

For all stressed-out seniors, decisions will be here before you know it. In the meantime, keep an open perspective about the college admissions process. You will be the same smart, ambitious person no matter what school you attend, so if you’re lucky enough to afford and experience an education, don’t take it for granted! Enjoy the feeling, just like Christine Lee (’19) is after committing to Amherst College: “The amount of work I did for three and a half years finally amounted to the privilege of attending an amazing school. It still feels so foreign to me, but I nevertheless feel immensely lucky.”