The madness of college application


Senior Carmen Aguirre reads about different ways to get prepared for college, including ACT and SAT books.

Kelly Dwyer, staff writer

Senior Carmen Aguirre was sitting over her desk until 4:45 in the morning on Dec 31, the day before her applications were due, trying to finish her Common App and other applications for three separate schools. Once the clock hit 4:45 she had finally finished applying to all 17 colleges on her list.

With many students applying to so many schools, more schools are becoming increasingly selective. “It is a crazy, horrible, and endless cycle that isn’t going to get any better because students aren’t going to stop applying,” said Mrs. Amanda Andersen.

The Common App is one application that students can fill out and send to 415 member colleges. Now all students need to do to add a school to their list is to upload the Common App and answer a few other questions. “Students find it easy to add a school to their list with Common app and no fee,” said Mrs. Andersen.

Students at BSM who applied to a lot of schools usually started out with a smaller number, but then decided to apply to more. “At first I only applied to three schools and then I got worried I would change my mind on the type of school I wanted later,” said Aguirre.

Other students who applied to a lot of schools were afraid that they wouldn’t get in to the small number they applied too. “I wanted to have options in case I don’t get into each one, because I have two schools that I know I can get into and six schools that are a little bit of a reach,” said senior Ellie Jaskowiak.

BSM suggests students apply to three to six different schools, and this year the 5.3 average was at the top of that range. “Three to six applications is a good number because it is manageable,” said Mrs. Andersen.

When the counselors meet with students during junior year, they don’t recommend applying to any more then six colleges. This is because it is stressful on the students and less schools results in more time available to work on essays. “It’s hard to keep deadlines straight when students apply to many schools, and schools can tell that you don’t know that much about their school since students may not have visited it because they have so many on their list,” said Mrs. Andersen.

However, one student at BSM plans on visiting each one of the 17 schools she applied too. “I want to visit each one individually. I like doing college visits. I really want to evaluate each college and see the feel that I get from the campus,” said Aguirre.

Now that every school is accessible on the Internet, students have access to find any school they want, unlike when students would only apply to schools that they knew about. “The Common App is a major factor and the Internet in general. Kids have so much access to schools all over the nation,” said Mrs. Andersen.

Taking the ACT or SAT and getting a good score puts more stress on students and worries them about college acceptance. “The worry of student’s test scores plus the likeliness of students getting in adds to students applying to more schools,” said Mrs. Andersen.

Even after students apply to their schools the ACT or SAT is still a worry for them. “I’ll probably take the ACT once more if I get wait listed at one of the schools I applied to,” said Aguirre.

There are definite problems that can easily occur when students apply to a lot of schools. “Some things that happen are students will think that they submitted their application and they didn’t, or they forgot to send their test scores to each school. With schools getting more applicants they’re looking for any way to cut applicants and forgetting one of those is an easy way to get their application cut,” said Mrs. Andersen.

The application process usually takes a long time for students, but a long time in terms of hours, not months like one senior. “I’ve probably seriously been working on my applications from September till now and I still have one more school left to apply to,” said senior Megan Collins.