Higher Education, Higher Stress

Seniors face the stressful and time consuming college process

Holly Rooney, Staff Writer

Despite the liberty of open blocks and leaving for lunch, senior year is not such a walk in the park as one might think. With the pursuit of higher education, a higher stress level comes along with it. Seniors feel a whole new weight on their shoulders that hasn’t been there before.

Students looking to receive a college degree have to jump through hoop after hoop trying to get into their dream school and make ends meet in order to further their education and better themselves. They are held responsible to gather their transcripts, resumes and ask their favorite teacher to add their name to their long list of students who need a letter of recommendation.

“Common stressors are trying to find where to go to school and then waiting to see if they made it into their college of choice as well as how to pay for it,” counselor Amy Reoh said. “My recommendation to seniors is to pay attention to deadlines and give ample time to get paperwork in, especially if you need work from teachers or counselors.”

With in-state tuition and fees at national public colleges rising 237% over the last 20 years, many students and their families struggle with how they will cover the steep prices. The constant increase in rates puts a large strain on all families but especially those currently putting older children through school. Seeking to exhaust all the financial aid possible, families turn towards the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and other scholarships to help cover cost.

“There’s a financial burden on my parents and older brothers who just went through college,” senior Lauren Guenette said. “The price keeps getting more expensive and the debt will keep increasing as I go through college, so I spend a lot of time trying to find and apply to any scholarships I can.”

Each year, an estimated $46 billion is awarded through grants and scholarships by the U.S. Department of Education and the nation’s colleges and universities. Seniors find themselves scrambling to grab their share of that money and, inevitably, the paperwork quickly starts to pile high with various scholarships, applications to colleges and FAFSA.

Many seniors will come down with a case of senioritis, but the college process and the frequent deadlines are relentless and refuse to let up. One of the most frustrating aspects can be choosing a college and their major. Faced with choosing their own path, careful consideration goes into picking where students will be studying for the next two to four years.

“I spend a lot of time looking at and comparing different colleges,” senior Riley Dyson said. “I have been focusing on the amount of undergraduates and the location. I also look for a school that has a wide range of exceptional major programs since I am going in undecided.”

Senior year is often a time to soak up the feeling of seniority and claim the front row at every school event because this is their last chance to show up and show out at the school’s activities and emit their wildcat spirit. However, some were blindsided by the overwhelming and time consuming process. Students find their free time disappearing to writing essays or ACT prep but seek to find a balance to cope with the stress of going to college.