Commentary: College stress on high school students


Lauryn Olivarez

A rack of college brochures available to high school students.

Lauryn Olivarez, Editor-in-Chief

For many teenagers, college stress hits once they reach their junior year of high school. SATs, ACTs, narrowing down colleges, and the reality that there is only one year left until college. For others, that pressure may even begin their freshman year: everything from here on out matters. Arguably, however, the most stress-inducing year is Senior Year.

Many are still taking college entrance exams, and college applications are in full swing. As a current high school senior, I have a lot of experience with the college process. At the same time, however, I feel as if I know nothing at all.

Applying to schools is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever had to do, especially as an individual trying to get applications done early. There was a lot of information that was asked of me, that I had no way of knowing or getting. Applying also made me realize how much more I could have done and showed me that no matter how prepared I thought I was, I still could have done better.

Even once applications are submitted, the process is far from over. Scholarships still need to be applied for, FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) has to get done, and the waiting game is in full swing. In regards to scholarships, students can never apply for enough. All money is needed, no matter the amount. Some are also easier to complete than others: One may require you to sign up on a website, while another asks for a 500-word essay.

I thought most of my stress would be alleviated after I had applied to my schools, however, that was far from the truth. My part of the process is done, but now I’m waiting on a decision that could impact my entire future (at least for the foreseeable future). While some colleges let you know within a few weeks of their decision, many have a specific date when letters are sent out. It’s really hard knowing that others around me already know where they’re going, while I still don’t have a clue.

On top of all this, high school still isn’t over. Essays still have to be written, math tests have to be taken, and grades have to be kept up. While many say junior year is the hardest year of high school, I would have to argue that senior year takes the cake.

The combination of the uncertainty of the future, while also worrying about the present, makes for a difficult last two semesters and I cannot wait for it to be over.