Science

College On Our Minds: The Admissions Process and Psychology

By Christina Davis ’18, News Editor & Psych Club Chair

The long and grueling process of applying to colleges is one which haunts the minds of all high school seniors. From spending countless nights writing Common Application essays to enduring the lengthy wait for college decisions to be announced, high schools seniors are put under immense pressure.

Amid taking rigorous courses and savoring their last moments as high school students, the task of applying to college is one that induces inevitable stress within seniors. Ever-increasing competitiveness among top universities, coupled with large pools of applicants with high academic achievement, tends to evoke a sense of insecurity within all applicants, even those who have impressive academic and non-academic resumes.

In his article discussing declining acceptances rates, Los Angeles Times journalist Larry Gordon recently pointed out how “many elite colleges across the country reported dips in their acceptance rates, fueled by a rise in applications from overseas, particularly Asia, and by a trend among high school seniors to try their luck at more schools.” With such intense competition, one can only wonder of the mental and emotional impact this has on senior students.

In a study conducted by the American Psychological Association discussing stress in America, it was revealed that “44 percent of the children surveyed [reported] that they [worried] about doing well in school, while only approximately a third of the parents saw this as a source of stress in their children.” Even at a young age, students are made aware of the importance of their education and, as a result, tend to stress about it at an earlier age than anticipated. Consequently, when it is time for these children to apply to colleges as seniors, they are extremely overwhelmed and ridden with anxiety.

Moreover, as stated by Lauren Stiller Rikleen, “For the students, [college] responses mark the culmination of years of fears, stress, lack of sleep, too many practices and a forced abandonment of free time.” Simply put, the health and social lives of students are being put in jeopardy due the stress that comes with college applications, as students spend egregious amounts of time involved in academic and extracurricular activities that strengthen their applications.

But how do students of Immaculate Heart feel about the process of applying to colleges?

Generally speaking, a large of number Immaculate Heart’s seniors did experience some sort of stress or mental anguish when applying to colleges. Although one senior said she felt her academic achievements were impressive, she realized “that to colleges [she] is just one of thousands” of applicants applying to her dream schools. Another senior also expressed frustration, noting, “the more [she] got into the process of [applying to college], the more [she] felt unprepared.” Contrastly, another senior stated that the process of applying to college reminded her of the responsibility she has to take on in her future.

Amidst the negative mental and emotional effects applying to college brings about, seniors must focus on the impressive achievements they have accomplished thus far and the unique aspects of themselves that sets them apart from other applicants. Additionally, seniors should consider the innumerable opportunities they will have once accepted into college. As for the seniors of Immaculate Heart High School, their immense passion and integrity will ensure them admission into extraordinary universities and colleges, where they can continue to act as women of great heart and right conscience.

 

 

photo courtesy of Galin Education

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