The Struggles of Applying to College

Although senior year is widely romanticized for being our final year of high school, during which it is basically a requirement to do every senior activity and go to every event to “make it count,” senior year can also be considered the hardest year of high school, as we have to do one of the most difficult things in our lives so far: apply to college.
A typical application to a four year university is basically made up of your high school transcript; a list of extracurricular activities; a letter of recommendation from a teacher or counselor; test scores for the SAT or ACT; and, by far, the most dreaded, personal statements. Even though it doesn’t seem like a lot when given the basic outline of the whole process, it leaves students feeling stressed and drained when the year has just begun.
Aside from trying to cram every experience from graduation, catching up with the hardest classes we’ve taken so far, and keeping up with extracurricular activities, sixteen to eighteen year olds are highly encouraged (at times so much that it’s scary) to apply to college and make a life changing decision when they are still considered “too young” to do most other things.
“I honestly feel like pressures of having to apply to college at this age isn’t fair when we are still not allowed to drink or vote yet,” says stressed senior, Alexa Ramirez.
Another pressure given to seniors as a side effect of applying to college is not necessarily knowing what you want to do or major in yet. If you fill out your application for one of the nine UCs or 23 CSUs, one of the first few personal questions sections asks you what you want to major in.
Despite being taught a variety of subjects and being required to take electives throughout high school, many people are unsure of what they want to study in college. After all, what you study in college has a very big impact on your future. Universities have retaliated this problem by letting students to select “undeclared” as an option when applying, allowing students to have more time to figure out what they want to study.
In 2016, the writing portion of college applications was changed. Before, applications required students only to answer two of four free response prompts in a combined total of 1000 words, with the minimum of 200 words per prompt.
Now, college applications require applicants to answer four of eight provided questions with each question containing the maximum of 350 words, a total of 1,400. Considering that this article already surpasses the word limit of a personal statement, I don’t think that it gives you enough room to properly explain your answers in much detail. However, this newer version of personal statements allows you to give a wider range of information about yourself and a better opportunity to explain why they should accept you into their school.
Although applying to college sounds like, and is, a very hard and time consuming process, Pacifica tries to offer as much help as possible. From the teachers who stay after school to the people in the Career Center, you don’t have to go through this alone.