Senior Sailor Stress Series: Tracking the College Application Process

SHS seniors share their experiences and advice


Grace McNamara

College visit information is available at the SHS guidance office

Grace McNamara and Sarah Spires

The college search can be daunting. In fact, for many students, it consumes the fall semester of their senior year. Nevertheless, this exhausting rite of passage also comes with great rewards: Students learn a lot about themselves as they make important plans for their future. Currently, members of the Class of 2023 are deeply engaged in the college process–every free moment of time is diligently dedicated to finalizing college applications while working on Common App and supplemental essays.

Unsurprisingly, as application deadlines loom–some as early as October 15th–the level of stress among SHS seniors is increasing. Seniors Tristan Rothwell and Charlotte Wiggs both report they are a “7” on a 1-10 stress-level scale: 1 being relaxed and 10 being extremely stressed. Wiggs advises underclassmen to begin the college process at the beginning of the summer, stating, “The process is manageable; however, there are a lot of tedious details. I wish I began and finished the Common App earlier this summer and started looking at potential colleges to apply to.”

Although stress is normal during this arduous process, students are also extremely excited for the college experience. Rothwell stated she is most excited to “live on her own and be independent.” Following Rothwell’s lead, SHS freshman Tori Kroeger and sophomore Lyla Devine agreed it would be extremely beneficial to attend guidance counselor college workshops. Recently, all SHS seniors had the opportunity to attend workshops where counselors reviewed the Common App, evaluated their college lists, and helped students work through their personal statements and supplemental essays. 

During September, October, and November, several college admission officers visit SHS and meet with students in the library during H-Block. This month’s schedule includes visits from a variety of colleges extending from the Northeast to Southern states: the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Boston College, and Texas Christian University. In addition, representatives from the United States Marine Corps and the National Guard will be available to answer students’ questions. Students are encouraged to sign up via Naviance to be guaranteed a spot, as drop-ins are limited. 

To follow this positive note, the SHS guidance department is also helping seniors narrow down their finalized college lists and organize deadlines. Seniors should complete a “purple sheet,” which can be picked up in the guidance office. Submitting this form prompts your guidance counselor to submit your high school transcript before your first application deadline. Students must hand their “purple sheet” at least three weeks prior to their first deadline.

SHS guidance counselors strive to make the college process as stress-free as possible for their students. According to SHS counselor Zoe Ryan, “Starting certain parts of the college process junior year is super helpful, but sometimes it is easy to dive in too fast, and it can become overwhelming.” Ryan added, “Exploring where you want to be and specific programs of study is definitely helpful to think about,” advising, “keep your options open.” 

SHS seniors are currently working harder than ever, as they are determined to pursue their academic, athletic, and career goals. Check out our upcoming stories–especially after the November 1st early decision deadline–as we track the college process, potential workshops, and guidance personalized for you!